February 23 Energy News

February 23, 2017

World:

¶ For the first time ever, a study by climate research institute Climate Analytics calculated what a cost-effective fossil fuel exit strategy would look like. The study focused on keeping global warming at 1.5° C until the end of this century. All coal-fired power plants in the EU need to be shut down by 2030, but that is just a start. [Deutsche Welle]

The cheapest way to reduce fossil fuel emissions  is to phase out coal and replace it with renewables.

The cheapest way to reduce fossil fuel emissions
is to phase out coal and replace it with renewables.

¶ The German city of Stuttgart will have occasional selective bans of diesel cars during periods of high pollution beginning in 2018, state officials in Baden-Württemberg say. The intent of the selective-bans is to limit diesel pollution within the state’s capital city during periods when air pollution levels are already quite high. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A ComRes survey has found 85% of British adults are in favor of price support for renewables including onshore wind and solar. The survey for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit showed less than 30% think gas power should be subsidised, the same proportion as for nuclear, with 19% wanting support for coal. [reNews]

Goole Fields (Image: Innogy UK Renewables)

Goole Fields (Image: Innogy UK Renewables)

¶ Countries in the EU, including the UK, are throwing away money by subsidizing the burning of wood for energy, according to an independent report. While burning some forms of wood waste can indeed reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in practice the growing use of wood energy in the EU is actually increasing emissions. [New Scientist]

¶ In a direct challenge to the Australian Coalition’s coal-based political campaign, Labor would put fossil fuels in a secondary place. It is calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to join a major promotion of wind and solar investment. The objective is to get a slice of the worldwide investment in renewables over the next 20 years. [NEWS.com.au]

Toora Wind Farm in South Gippsland, Victoria

Toora Wind Farm in South Gippsland, Victoria

¶ The Indian government has approved a plan to double the capacity of solar parks and ultra-mega solar power projects to 40,000 MW from 20,000 MW. The power minister told news reporters a roadmap would be finalized shortly to set up at least 50 solar parks, each with a capacity of 500 MW except in hilly areas. [Times of India]

¶ In Nepal, some communities are looking to harness the energy water produces with micro-hydropower systems. According to the Nepal Micro Hydropower Development Association, over 3,300 micro hydro plants are providing energy to villages around the country. In many places, impact has been significant for villagers. [CNBC]

River in Nepal (Anil Simkhada, Wikimedia Commons)

River in Nepal (Anil Simkhada, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Pakistan’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has opposed a proposed ban on setting up new power plants using natural gas, which is being considered as part of a plan of capping consumption of different fuel sources for power generation. It supports restrictions on the installation of power plants using imported coal or oil. [The Express Tribune]

¶ The Indian government approved a 900-MW hydro power project to be set up in Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal at a cost of ₹5,723.72 crore ($860 million). The decision to approve the Arun-III project was taken in New Delhi at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. [News Nation]

Hydro dam (Image: PTI)

Hydro dam (Image: PTI)

US:

¶ Over 7,500 pages of emails from the Oklahoma attorney general’s office shed light on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s relationship with Devon Energy, including allowing its top lobbyists to draft and edit letters sent to top federal officials on his behalf. They were obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy through an open records request. [CNN]

¶ The future of ethanol, which critics deride as a boondoggle and backers laud as crucial to the nation’s energy mix, was thought to be in jeopardy, given some of the Trump administration appointments. But the new president sent a message to the ethanol industry that delighted its members. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Pumping ethanol into a truck (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Pumping ethanol into a truck (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

¶ In the years from 2005 to 2014, there were at least 6,648 spills at hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells in just four of the states where fracking is done, according to analysis published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The states that were in the study were New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The historic St Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan has activated a geothermal heating plant, part of a series of environmentally friendly upgrades. The Archdiocese of New York said that the geothermal plant is comprised of ten wells, up to 2,200 feet deep, that were drilled along the north and south sides of the cathedral. [PennEnergy]

Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan (Jean-Christophe BENOIST, Wikimedia Commons)

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan
(Jean-Christophe BENOIST, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Madison Gas and Electric announced plans to build and operate a 66-MW wind farm near Saratoga, Iowa. The project would consist of 33 turbines at a site in Howard County and serve MGE customers in Wisconsin. Construction would be complete by the end 2018, the company said. The project would cost about $107 million. [reNews]

¶ FirstEnergy, based in Akron, Ohio, made it clear that it is leaving the competitive power plant business, closing or selling all of its plants, including its nuclear plants, by the middle of next year. Closing the plants, which would probably take several years, would also have little impact on customer bills or power supplies. [cleveland.com]

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February 22 Energy News

February 22, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “How South Australia can function reliably while moving to 100% renewable power” • Despite the criticism leveled at South Australia over its renewable energy ambitions, the state is aiming to be carbon neutral by mid-century, which will mean moving to 100% renewable electricity over the next 15-20 years. It can do that. [The Conversation AU]

Australian wind farm

Australian wind farm

World:

¶ Almost every railway station in India will soon be fed with solar power if the plans in India’s new union budget are implemented. The Indian Finance Minister announced that the 7,000 railway stations across the country will be fed with solar power as per the Indian Railways mission to implement 1,000 MW of solar power capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Energy company RWE has cancelled its dividend for the second successive year, after writedowns of €4.3 billion ($4.5 billion) on its power plants and a surprise net loss of €5.7 billion euros ($6 billion) during 2016. RWE faces competition from renewables at the very time that Germany is moving away from nuclear power. [BBC]

RWE's Niederaussem power plant in Bergheim, Germany (EPA)

RWE’s Niederaussem power plant in Bergheim, Germany (EPA)

¶ Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to enact a national carbon tax by 2018. After meeting with US president Donald Trump, he said that Canada would aggressively pursue its climate change goals. But according to a study by four leading environmental groups, Canadian fossil fuel subsidies totaled $3.3 billion last year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Iberdrola announced it has completed the installation of the first of 70 5-MW Adwen wind turbines at the 350-MW Wikinger offshore wind farm off the coast of Germany. The turbines are being installed by Fred Olsen’s Brave Tern, one of two self-elevating, self-propelled jack-up vessels dedicated to installing offshore wind turbines. [CleanTechnica]

Brave Tern

Brave Tern

¶ As the world’s number one exporter of crude oil, renewable energy may be the last thing that comes to mind when thinking of Saudi Arabia. But it is now turning to solar and wind power in a SGD 71 billion ($50 billion) bid to cut dependency on oil amid growing energy demands domestically, according to the Saudi energy minister. [VR-Zone]

¶ A new report on Australia’s rising power prices over the past decade, from the Australian National University, has undermined claims that South Australia’s high electricity prices have been driven by the state’s uptake wind and solar. It shows that its rises have been less in SA than in the states that are dependent on coal. [RenewEconomy]

Wattle Point wind farm near Edithburgh (Wikimedia Commons)

Wattle Point wind farm near Edithburgh (Wikimedia Commons)

¶ China’s Plans to green-light eight nuclear reactors this year, in the world’s fastest-growing nuclear market, could depend on whether it’s able to complete some of the world’s most-advanced facilities, including Westinghouse Electric Co’s AP1000 and Areva SA’s EPR, neither of which has an operational track record. [BloombergQuint]

¶ Faced with the choice of replacing the ageing undersea electricity cable that powers South Australia’s Kangaroo Island or building a renewable grid on the island itself, mayor Peter Clements wants both. And he’s backing a radical “community ownership” model from Denmark’s Samsø Island to help pay for it. [InDaily]

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

US:

¶ In a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra, a former conservative Republican congressman said President Trump would be forced to change his mind on climate change. Bob Inglis changed his position on global warming after extensive briefings with scientists. He founded a conservative movement lobbying for action. [Perth Now]

¶ Caterpillar announced that Cat dealer Altorfer commissioned a 1000-kW solar PV system in Rantoul, Illinois. The system fulfills a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency. It was built on an 8.5-acre site near Heritage Lake Park and the University of Illinois Transportation Lab. [Decentralized Energy]

Caterpillar Tucson Regional Offices

Caterpillar Tucson Regional Offices

¶ Iberdrola Renewables announced a 15-year contract to supply Southern California Edison with renewable energy from the planned Tule Wind Power Project in eastern San Diego County. SCE will purchase the entire output of the 132-MW wind farm. The project is expected to be completed and operational in late 2017. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ A new study says Pacific Northwest utility ratepayers could save hundreds of millions of dollars if the region’s only commercial nuclear power plant is closed and its output replaced with renewable energy. The Portland-based McCullough Research consulting firm estimated savings from $261.2 million to $530.7 million over 10 years. [The Columbian]

Columbia Generating Station

Columbia Generating Station

¶ New York Governor Andrew M Cuomo announced state-supported solar power in New York increased nearly 800% in five years, leveraging nearly $1.5 billion in private investment. Solar growth is critical to the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard that 50% of New York’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030. [Eagle News Online]

¶ Injecting large amounts of offshore wind power into the grid is manageable, will cut costs, and will reduce pollution compared to current fossil fuel sources, according to researchers from the University of Delaware and Princeton University who completed a first-of-its-kind simulation with the electric power industry. [Science Daily]

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February 21 Energy News

February 21, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists have built a better flow battery. Using a predictive model of molecules and their properties, University of Utah and University of Michigan chemists developed a charge-storing molecule around 1,000 times more stable than current compounds. Their results are reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. [Phys.Org]

Flow battery in operation

Flow battery in operation – color represents charge

¶ Research from the Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz found a strong association between the diagnosis of acute lymphocytic leukemia among children and levels of nearby oil and natural gas development. Children living near oil and gas wells are far more likely to develop the leukemia than those that aren’t. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Researchers from the University of California Irvine studied data collected from 1991 to 2015 on glaciers found in the Queen Elizabeth Islands in the Arctic. They found that, from 2005 to 2015, surface melt off of these glaciers rose by 900% – something they say is attributable to warming air temperatures in the region. [CBC.ca]

Petermann Glacier (NASA / NOAA / Aqua - MODIS)

Petermann Glacier in Greenland (NASA / NOAA / Aqua – MODIS)

World:

¶ The 497-MW EnBW Hohe See offshore wind farm off the coast of Germany is set to proceed, as Canadian energy infrastructure company Enbridge has decided to invest in the project, and German engineering company Siemens is committing for the first time to provide complete the project’s construction work. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Tocardo Tidal Power is preparing to deploy the InToTidal project at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. The company said the Universal Foundation System is the start of Tocardo’s planned 20-year commercial demonstration project at the site. The semi-submersible platform features five 300-kW devices. [reNews]

Tocardo turbines (Tocardo image)

Tocardo turbines (Tocardo image)

¶ South African utility Eskom is defying an “injunction” of president Jacob Zuma by attempting to negotiate tariffs with preferred bidders instead of signing existing PPAs, according to the South African Renewable Energy Council. The council says Eskom will “drag its feet wherever possible to resist signing … with renewable producers.” [PV-Tech]

¶ Wind energy developer Gamesa has reinforced its position in India with seven new orders totalling 278 MW. Gamesa has been ranked as the leading original equipment manufacturer in India for the last three years. The projects are scheduled for commissioning between March and October 2017. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Gamesa wind turbines (Gamesa image)

Gamesa wind turbines (Gamesa image)

¶ A survey by Essential on energy policy found that Australia’s Turnbull government is failing to persuade people of either its performance or its arguments on energy security. More than seven in ten (71%) said the government was not doing enough to ensure “affordable, reliable and clean energy” for households and businesses. [The Conversation AU]

¶ The additional costs intermittent renewables impose on the electricity system are “modest” according to a report published by the UK Energy Research Council. The UKERC said studies which found significantly higher costs are usually related to particularly inflexible systems, or where very little system re-optimisation was assumed. [reNews]

Kirkby Moor wind farm in Cumbria (Innogy UK Renewables)

Kirkby Moor wind farm in Cumbria (Innogy UK Renewables)

¶ Saudi Arabia has launched the first stage of its ambitious renewables tenders, including 400 MW of wind projects and 300 MW of solar. The kingdom plans to have 3.45 GW of renewables by 2020 and 9.5 GW by 2023. The projects will be backed by power purchase agreements of 25 years for solar and 20 years for wind. [Power Engineering International]

¶ In Gujarat, subdued demand and surplus electricity availability reduced additions of new capacity for generating power from conventional power sources such as coal and gas. The installed generating capacity of non-renewable energy sources grew by just 0.7% in 2015-16, compared with 6.2% in 2013-14 and 5.2% in 2013-14. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar and wind power

Solar and wind power

¶ The prolonged closure of a major French atomic reactor after an explosion this month probably costs EDF at least £1 million a day, according to experts. The nuclear plant operator, which will spend £18 billion building the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation, shut unit 1 at its Flamanville plant after a fire in the turbine hall. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Wind energy has become the largest renewable power sector in the United States, but its adoption has lagged in the Southeast. One of the reasons is that wind currents in the area are relatively weak. Wind turbines are becoming more efficient, however, and this may help bring new wind energy projects to the Southeast. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

Wind turbines at sunset

Wind turbines at sunset

¶ The president of the University of Iowa announced that the UI will be coal-free by 2025. The university has already taken steps to reduce its dependence on coal; in 2008, it established seven “sustainability targets” to be achieved by 2020. Since the 2020 vision’s inception, the UI has managed to reduce its use of coal by 60%. [The Daily Iowan]

¶ Kevin de León has promised to lead the resistance to President Trump, and a new bill could make good on that promise. The California Senate leader has introduced legislation that would have the Golden State get 100% of its electricity from climate-friendly energy sources by 2045. The current renewable energy mandate is 50% by 2030. [KHOU.com]

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February 20 Energy News

February 20, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Easy as Two Plus Two: How to Regain our Democracy” • We can get our democracy back, and improve our lives as we do. If those who disapprove of the Washington establishment we have turn down residential thermostats by 2° F and drive two miles fewer per day, it will cost those who bought this government $10 billion per year. [Green Energy Times]

¶ “Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world” • Like many extreme events, the Oroville emergency is a combination of natural weather likely intensified by climate change. California regularly sees “atmospheric rivers” that deluge the state with rainfall, but a hotter world will make them worse, scientists say. [The Guardian]

¶ “Jobs and Prosperity Are in Clean Energy, Not Destroying the Planet” • The Republican Party is almost entirely united in their claims that defunding, crushing, and abolishing the EPA as well as other regulatory measures will benefit the American people and the prosperity of the country overall. This could not be further from the truth. [Paste Magazine]

Destroying the planet

Destroying the planet

World:

¶ Africa will see a “solar revolution” comparable in scale to the rapid surge in mobile phone use there two decades ago, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency predicts. Fast-dropping costs, plenty of sun, and a huge need for electricity where many are still without it, means solar has huge potential in Africa. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Local Aboriginal tribes – the Ngadjuri and Nukunu – have both recognized and celebrated the abundance of South Australian wind and solar power resources. They added huge artworks to the base of two of the 105 massive wind turbines that will form the Hornsdale wind project outside Jamestown, near Port Pirie. [Aboriginal Art Directory News]

Celebrating wind power

Celebrating wind power

¶ The number of applications for large-scale solar power projects to be connected to the Irish grid before 2020 has doubled over the last five months, as market confidence that the government is poised to subsidize the industry continues to grow. The projects range in size between 25 MW and 95 MW and now total almost 1.2 GW in capacity. [ICIS]

¶ One of the Australia’s biggest and most recent wind farms will conduct a major trail in South Australia in June to try to dispel one of the biggest myths about wind energy – that wind farms are unable to add to energy security. The intention is to show that wind farms can provide frequency control and ancillary services. [RenewEconomy]

Hornsdale wind farm

Hornsdale wind farm

¶ Three PV power plants with a combined capacity of 320 MW have begun construction in the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. A joint venture between Overland Sun Farming and the UK’s Island Green Power is behind the A$500 million ($384 million) project, which is going ahead despite the its not having yet signed PPAs. [pv magazine]

US:

¶ Hundreds of scientists, some in lab coats, held a rally in Boston Sunday to draw attention to their concerns about the Trump administration’s policies. Speakers and signs criticized those in the administration who deny that climate change is real, who question the collection and distribution of data on science, and other policies. [Inside Higher Ed]

Scientists Protest

Scientists Protest

¶ The Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group of the country’s governors, currently representing twenty states, sent an open letter to President Donald Trump, calling on him to support development of wind and solar energy. The letter was written by the governors of Rhode Island and Kansas, on behalf of the Coalition. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Conservation advocates are celebrating Presidents Day at rallies in Las Vegas and in Carson City. They’re calling on the Nevada Legislature to pass Assembly Bill 206. The bill would raise the renewable portfolio standard to require utilities to generate 50% of their power from renewables by the year 2030, and 80% by 2040. [Public News Service]

Nevada wind and solar (adamkaz / iStockphoto)

Nevada wind and solar (adamkaz / iStockphoto)

¶ Nebraska’s Net Metering laws are currently very restrictive. As they stand, the laws only allow for the development of 25 kW of solar and place a cap on each respective utility at 1% for the amount of renewables that can be developed. Senator Carol Blood hopes to address this issue with LB 87 and raise the net metering limit. [1011now]

¶ Business is booming for solar companies in Maryland, as sun-sourced energy becomes more affordable and accessible. The state added 1,160 solar jobs in 2016. This is a 27% jump from the previous year, bringing the industry’s employment to more than 5,400, according to an annual solar jobs census by the Solar Foundation. [Baltimore Sun]

Installing solar panels (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Installing solar panels (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

¶ Nevada lawmakers will debate a number of energy-related issues soon, including the state’s renewable portfolio standards and efficiency programs. NV Energy, a major utility in the area, is asking regulators to boost incentives for rooftop solar customers, arguing that it would make solar economically advantageous for customers. [Las Vegas Sun]

¶ Toshiba had been contracted to build the third and fourth reactors for US utility NRG Energy’s South Texas Project, taking the Japanese manufacturer’s advanced boiling water reactors abroad for the first time. Toshiba looks to pull out of the project, and will decide later what to do with its developing stake in the joint venture. [Nikkei Asian Review]

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February 19 Energy News

February 19, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists revealed that the extent of the Antarctic sea ice has shrunk and is getting increasingly erratic. According to the British Antarctic Survey, this year’s minimum sea ice level in the region is the smallest so far. Meanwhile, another report disclosed that the latest recorded sea ice extent had been the lowest in the last 38 years. [Telegiz News]

Record minimum Antarctic sea ice (Robert Woods, US Navy)

Record minimum Antarctic sea ice (Robert Woods, US Navy)

World:

¶ A competitive auction for the 750-MW solar power park in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, has yielded the lowest-ever tariff for a solar power project in India. The three units of the solar power park have been awarded at tariffs of ₹2.970 to ₹2.979 per kWh (4.4¢/kWh). The lowest bid was placed by ACME Cleantech Solutions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside government offices in Bangkok since Friday to demonstrate against a decision to green-light a 800-MW coal plant on the coast of Krabi, a region known for its beaches and natural beauty. The three protest leaders were detained by police on and handed over to the military. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Loading coal

Loading coal

¶ As coal’s future in Australia continues to dominate the national political debate, returns lodged by “third party campaigners” to the Australian Electoral Commission show a little-known group called ACA Low Emissions Technologies Limited, which is a promoter of coal mining interests, was one of the top spenders. [Bombala Times]

¶ An Australian company says it will build solar and battery facilities in South Australia this year with enough storage capacity to meet the power shortfall that caused blackouts in the state 10 days ago. A partner of Lyon Group said he was “very confident” his firm would install two 50-MW battery storage facilities this year. [The Australian Financial Review]

Solar PV panels in China's Fujian province (AP)

Solar PV panels in China’s Fujian province (AP)

¶ Australia is considering altering legislation to enable funds for clean energy developments to be used to bankroll construction of new low emission, coal-fired power plants. This comes after a major power outage during a heat wave in South Australia state worsened a row with the national government over energy security and renewable power. [AsiaOne]

¶ The air Indians breathe is turning more toxic by the day and an average of two deaths happen each minute due to air pollution, says a new study based on 2010 data. According to medical journal The Lancet, over a million Indians die every year due to air pollution and some of the worst polluted cities of the world are in India. [thenortheasttoday.com]

Air pollution (Internet sources)

Air pollution in India (Internet sources)

¶ Before a robot investigating the state of a reactor at Fukushima Daiichi became stuck in deposits and other debris that are believed to have interfered with its drive system, it took radiation measurements that indicate TEPCO, operator of the plant, was too optimistic about the state and location of the melted fuel within the reactor. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ Strong winds and stormy seas have helped the Shetland Islands produce more power than it knows what to do with. The tidal power underwater turbines that were completed last month are only the latest green energy project. Even homeowners are acting, putting in small wind turbines in their gardens and solar panels on their roofs. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind turbine, Fair Isle (Dave Wheeler, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind turbine, Fair Isle (Dave Wheeler, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ The threat of a catastrophe at California’s Oroville Dam may be over. California’s Department of Water Resources lifted the evacuation order. But the dam’s troubles have also temporarily brought down one of the state’s major renewable energy assets, likely replacing 819-MW of hydro capacity with natural gas for a time. [POWER magazine]

¶ An energy trade association that includes Apple supports a proposal that would make it easier to participate in wholesale markets for energy storage and distributed energy resources. Advanced Energy Economy hopes that the removal of barriers on energy storage at the regulatory level will make it easier and cheaper to store energy. [9 to 5 Mac]

Apple facility in Mesa, Arizona

Apple facility in Mesa, Arizona

¶ The Iowa Lakes Regional Water board of directors hopes renewable energy will a great fit for a water and wastewater treatment plant. The district is trying to offset rising electrical costs. They hope teaming with Trusted Energy will lead to status as a net producer of clean energy, putting excess production on the power grid. [Dickinson County News]

¶ A 3.9-MW solar array is being installed by GenPro Energy Solutions in Lexington, Nebraska on a site owned by the city. Once operational, the power generated by the system of nearly 12,600 panels will meet about 3% of the city’s annual needs. The city also purchases power from Nebraska Public Power District. [Lexington Clipper Herald]

Lexington's solar array (C-H photo, Malena Ward)

Lexington’s solar array (C-H photo, Malena Ward)

¶ Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources accepted 30 new cities and towns into the state’s Green Communities program, an initiative that provides grants to municipalities that adopt a series of energy efficiency policies and set a goal of reducing their energy consumption by 20% within five years. [SouthCoastToday.com]

¶ Nevada lost over 2,500 rooftop solar installation jobs in 2016 after less generous net metering rates were approved by the state Public Utilities Commission. Both the Assembly and the Senate have created special subcommittees on energy to focus on ways to make rooftop solar financially attractive for homeowners again. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

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February 18 Energy News

February 18, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Americans rally to support wind power” • Hundreds of Americans from across the country traveled to Washington, DC to show their support for wind energy. AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan penned an op-ed in The Hill looking at why they decided to make the trek. Here are a few highlights and a link to the original article. [Into the Wind – The AWEA Blog]

Wind power

Wind power

¶ “Australian Conservatives Attack Chief Scientist For Failing To Toe Fossil Fuel Party Line” • Australia’s conservative media commentators have found a new target for their anti-renewables angst, this week launching what was regarded as an almost inevitable attack, on Alan Finkel – Australia’s chief scientist. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Is peak oil demand coming faster than expected?” • The expansion of electric vehicles and solar power could curtail growth in the world’s demand for fossil fuels by 2020, putting the future of the some of the world’s leading energy companies into jeopardy, according to a study released by a British climate change research center. [Houston Chronicle]

Charging stations (Photo: Paul Chinn, Staff)

Charging stations (Photo: Paul Chinn, Staff)

¶ “Edsels of energy? Duke Energy may find new AP1000 nuclear plants are already outdated” • Duke Energy won long-pursued federal operating licenses for cutting edge nuclear power plants at sites in Florida and South Carolina. Duke has no current plans to proceed on either project. But the AP1000 is starting to look outmoded. [TBO.com]

World:

¶ The first phase of a solar array on the Caribbean island of St Eustatius, which has been operational since April 2016, already generates 23% of the island’s electricity, and this increases to even 90% at peak moments during clear, sunny days. The second phase of the solar panel field in St. Eustatius should be ready by this September. [The Daily Herald]

Saint Eustatius solar array

Saint Eustatius solar array

¶ Coal and gas dependent Queensland (it has just one large scale solar plant and no big wind farms) recorded over 40 more high-priced events than renewables-rich South Australia so far this year. Electricity from rooftop solar systems helped reduce grid stress and keep power prices down, but their owners were paid a pittance. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Hibiki consortium, led by utility Kyuden Mirai, has won a tender to develop an offshore wind farm in southern Japan for about ¥175 billion ($1.5 billion). The group will build and operate the Hibikinada wind farm near the Port of Kitakyushu City in Kyushu island. The scheme is expected to have up to 44 turbines. [reNews]

Offshore wind turbines (reNews image)

Offshore wind turbines (reNews image)

¶ New South Wales is one of the most coal-dependent states in Australia, with renewable energy contributing less than 10% to its electricity mix on average. Over the weekend, however, wind and solar may just have helped keep the lights on. Solar power systems contributed more than 1 GW to the grid during much of the day. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Victoria Labor government is calling for expressions of interest to build a 20-MW battery storage array, in what would likely be Australia’s first grid scale battery storage facility. The facility is earmarked for western Victoria, where the Australian Energy Market Operator has identified opportunities to improve grid stability. [RenewEconomy]

Battery storage array

Battery storage array

¶ Institutions in Hamburg are proposing to build a large underground thermal heat storage system that could supply roughly a quarter of the city’s heating needs with waste heat from industrial and power plants. If successful, it could make Vattenfall’s plans to realise a CO2-neutral district heating network superfluous. [CleanTechnica]

¶ For the first time, the total installed capacity of wind energy in Europe now exceeds that of electric power plants fueled with coal. That imbalance is likely to grow as more wind generation comes online over the next decade, both on land and offshore. The statistics, collated by WindEurope, were posted by Navigant Research. [Green Car Reports]

Wind farm

Wind farm

¶ EU member states have approved a €90 million grant for a compressed air energy storage project in Larne in Northern Ireland. The Larne project converts excess energy from renewable generation into compressed air to be stored in geological caverns within salt layers underground for later release to generate electricity. [reNews]

US:

¶ A coalition of dozens of local lawmakers, environmental groups, and businesses is urging the New York state Public Service Commission to maintain fair rates for power sold from so-called “community solar” projects. Larger than the typical rooftop system, such systems can have many owners, rather than just one. [Albany Times Union]

Solar panels in Halfmoon, NY (Skip Dickstein/Times Union)

Solar panels in Halfmoon, NY (Skip Dickstein/Times Union)

¶ The GM plant in Arlington, Texas makes more than 1,000 SUVs a day. While these vehicles tend to burn more gas, the plant where they’re made will be entirely powered by wind energy by the end of 2018. The Arlington facility already gets about half of its power from wind, and reaching 100% sets GM on its path to the larger goal. [Yale Climate Connections]

¶ EPB has started construction on Solar Share, Chattanooga’s first community solar installation through a partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority. By summer, Solar Share is expected to begin generating 1.35 MW of solar power, which is enough to meet the needs of about 200 average households in the area. [WDEF News 12]

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February 17 Energy News

February 17, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The future is expected to hold more deadly heat waves, the fast spread of certain infectious diseases and catastrophic food shortages. These causes of premature deaths are all related to climate change, according to a panel of experts who gathered at the Carter Center in Atlanta on Thursday for the Climate & Health Meeting. [CNN]

Climate change is driving drought.

Climate change is driving drought.

World:

¶ First Solar, Inc announced that Photosol, a French PV company, has selected its thin-film modules to power 14 utility-scale solar power plants with a total capacity of 106.5 MW DC. The projects, developed and owned by Photosol, are part of the third procurement round initiated by France’s Commission de Régulation de l’Energie. [Your Industry News]

¶ In scoring the sustainable energy policies of 111 countries, the World Bank finds Mexico, China, India and Brazil are emerging as leaders in the field, delivering robust policies to support energy access. However, there is vast room for improvement, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where 600 million people have no electricity. [pv magazine]

Many developing nations have proactive energy policies.

Many developing nations have proactive energy policies.

¶ The first phase of Gannawarra, which has been approved for 300 MW and is being co-developed by Solar Choice and Edify Energy, is set for construction in north-western Victoria. The solar farm’s first phase is slated for completion in early 2018. Its capacity will be about 60 MW, enough to power more than 25,000 Victorian homes. [RenewEconomy]

¶ It sounds like renewable energy might be going from a pipe dream to an investment theme. A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that renewables, primarily solar and wind, could jump from 4% of global power generation to as much as 36% by 2035, reshaping global electricity markets in the process. [Barron’s]

Wind farm (Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

Wind farm (Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

¶ Federal and state energy ministers will today be told by the South Australia’s Weatherill Labor government that it will “retake control” of the state’s fragile power network so blackouts “do not happen again.” The Energy Minister said, “We are going to use every inch of our authority, everything we can, to retake our sovereignty.” [The Australian]

¶ The latest robot attempting to find the 600 tons of nuclear fuel and debris that melted down six years ago in the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant met its end in less than a day. Scientists still don’t have all the information they need for a cleanup that the government estimates will take four decades and cost ¥8 trillion. [The Japan Times]

Robot developed by Toshiba Corp and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (Image: AFP-JIJI)

Robot developed by Toshiba Corp and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (Image: AFP-JIJI)

¶ Australia’s financial regulator has warned that climate change poses a material risk to the entire financial system, and has urged companies to start adapting. Geoff Summerhayes, from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, says it is unsafe for companies to ignore the potential physical risks of climate change. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to accept a Comprehensive Renewable Energy Plan unanimously. The plan will give industries and communities an idea of where renewable energy projects would be best suited, reduce costs and alleviate some of the conflicts between property owners and developers. [Patch.com]

Hummingbird in San Diego County  (Scott Cameron, Wikimedia Commons)

Hummingbird in San Diego County
(Scott Cameron, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Minnesota Legislature sidestepped utility regulators and approved a new Xcel Energy power plant in central Minnesota. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission had sidelined Xcel’s proposal, but the Legislature passed bills saying the plant can move forward without researching renewable energy options. [Bristol Herald Courier]

¶ Consolidated Edison Development is continuing a fight to force a South Dakota utility to buy the output from three wind projects. Under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act, a federal program designed to stimulate markets for small alternative energy generators, Northwestern Energy is required to buy the output at “avoided cost” rates. [reNews]

Wind farm (Morgue File)

Wind farm (Morgue File)

¶ Nearly 800 former EPA officials urged the US Senate to reject President Donald Trump’s nominee, Scott Pruitt, to run the agency, as the chamber moved closer to approving his pick. The 773 former officials signed a letter that said Pruitt’s record and public statements suggest he does not agree with underlying principles of environmental laws. [AOL News]

¶ The state that gave us Scott Pruitt and James Inhofe just saw temperatures near 100° in the dead of winter. Climate change is loading the dice for record-breaking heat in Oklahoma. Here, the human fingerprint is clear. Carbon pollution traps heat, warming the planet. This, in turn, shifts the entire distribution of temperatures. [CleanTechnica]

Parched Oklahoma land (Al Jazeera English, Wikimedia Commons)

Parched Oklahoma (Al Jazeera English, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ TransCanada Corp has rebooted its effort to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline across Nebraska, where it had met with opposition before it withdrew its application when the Obama administration denied the company a federal permit in late 2015. TransCanada’s latest move had been expected since Donald Trump was elected. [MarketWatch]

¶ President Donald Trump’s pick to head the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, will be forced to hand over more than 3,000 emails to the Center for Media and Democracy, a watchdog group, after a district judge ordered their release. The state’s Attorney General’s Office has until Tuesday, February 21 to turn over the emails. [DeSmog]

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February 16 Energy News

February 16, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Solar vs Nuclear: Is this the Last Chapter?” • Last year’s solar deployment numbers just came in, and they are, in a word, phenomenal. Utilities bought more new solar capacity than they did natural gas capacity. At the same time, there is grim news about delays in construction and associated cost over-runs for US nuclear plant projects. [The Equation]

Neighbors with solar (Courtesy of Grid Alternatives)

Neighbors with solar (Courtesy of Grid Alternatives)

Science and Technology:

¶ A study published this week in the science journal Nature found that the ocean’s worldwide oxygen content declined by more than 2% between 1960 and 2010. Scientists have long warned about the potentially deadly consequences of the ocean’s declining oxygen levels on marine life, and its resulting impact on humans. [CNN]

¶ Delivery vans get between 5 and 8 miles per gallon. Vans powered by Workhorse’s hybrid electric E-GEN powertrain have now completed 250,000 miles of service and have achieved an astounding 30 MPGe rating in daily, real life, stop and go operation. Workhorse calculates each van will save the owner $165,000 during its lifetime. [CleanTechnica]

Workhorse E-GEN powertrain (Workhorse image)

Workhorse E-GEN powertrain (Workhorse image)

World:

¶ The Indian government announced plans to double the energy output of its solar power parks. Their goal is to reach 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022. India believes it is more economical and effective to use solar parks to gather energy rather than rooftop solar panels. Comparatively speaking, the response to rooftop solar has been weak. [Sputnik International]

¶ A research paper examined the future of UK wind power. A simulation of changing wind resources by 2100 found that the UK’s capacity for generating wind power will become more changeable, with some regions benefiting and others losing out. The year-on-year variation of wind power capacity will increase, the authors say. [eco-business.com]

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

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

¶ China plans to develop floating nuclear power plants to ensure a stable power supply for its offshore projects and boost ocean gas exploration, according to a high-rank government official. The development of the floating power facility is an important part of China’s five-year economic development plan, running through 2020. [Chinatopix]

US:

¶ The latest US Solar Market Insight report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association showed that 2016 almost doubled the installations of 2015, itself a record-breaking year. Solar installations grew 95%, for a total of 14,625 MW. With 39% of new capacity across all fields, with wind placing second at 25%. [CleanTechnica]

Growth in solar installations

Growth in solar installations

¶ Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins said she will vote against President Donald Trump’s pick for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. Collins is the first Republican to break ranks over Pruitt. “The fact is, Mr. Pruitt and I have fundamentally different views of the role and mission of the EPA,” Collins said in a statement. [CNN]

¶ In 2015, Kansas City Power & Light decided to pony up $20 million to install 1,000 EV charging stations in and around the city. They are being installed in places people often visit in their daily lives. That program is now nearly complete and it has turned Kansas City into one of the fastest growing EV markets in America. [CleanTechnica]

KCPL Clean Charge (Image: Kansas Public Radio)

KCPL Clean Charge (Image: Kansas Public Radio)

¶ All electric service providers in Michigan met their renewable energy targets, with wind providing most, a public commission found. Michigan’s governor had been criticized last year for suspending state efforts for the Clean Power Plan. The state standard had each utility get 10% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2015. [UPI.com]

¶ Avangrid Renewables has agreed a power purchase agreement with Dairyland Power Cooperative for electricity from the 160-MW Barton wind farm in Iowa. Under the terms of the deal, Dairyland, which provides wholesale electricity to 24 members and 17 municipal utilities, will buy 80 MW of power from the project. [reNews]

Wind turbine (credit: SXC)

Wind turbine (credit: SXC)

¶ The city council of Pueblo, Colorado committed the city to 100% renewable energy by 2035. Pueblo is now the third city in Colorado and the 22nd in the nation to make the promise. The city doesn’t yet have a route for its destination, partly because it doesn’t have ownership of its electricity provider. It is looking at its options. [The Coloradoan]

¶ Moab, Utah officials say they have taken a major step toward creating a more sustainable city. The Moab City Council passed a resolution, committing to using 100% renewable electricity by 2032. The mayor said the move is driven by the community’s passion for Moab’s natural environment and a sustainable future. [RadioWest]

Moab, Utah (Saro17 via istockphoto.com)

Moab, Utah (Saro17 via istockphoto.com)

¶ UPS will invest around $18 million in new onsite solar PV projects in the US, expected to be completed by the end of the year. The 26,000 solar panels will increase the company’s total onsite solar capacity almost five-fold. Altogether, the new projects will generate 10 MW, enough to power around 1,200 homes. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ Competitors of Chicago-based Exelon Corp filed a federal lawsuit opposing legislation that provides billions of dollars in subsidies to the power giant. The legislation approved in December provides as much as $235 million per year to Exelon to keep unprofitable nuclear plants running in Clinton and the Quad Cities. [PennEnergy]

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February 15 Energy News

February 15, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “An Oroville message: As climate shifts, so will water strategies” Even when everything is going right, managing a large dam is a juggling act. What the flooding this week at California’s Oroville Dam may be demonstrating is how that juggling act is growing even more complicated due to climate change. [Christian Science Monitor]

Oroville dam (Randy Pench / The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Oroville dam (Randy Pench / The Sacramento Bee via AP)

¶ “Local energy groups do a power of good” • Remember the outcry against wind farms? These days commercial wind harvesters are a lot more strategic when planning wind farms. They involve nearby communities from the get-go, opening up limited shareholdings to some rural communities in Australian wind farm companies. [Weekly Times Now]

Science and Technology:

¶ A study conducted by the University of Queensland found that climate change has greater impact on lives of animals than reported. The team led by Associate Professor James Watson has found concerning evidence showing that nearly 700 birds and mammals have responded to the climatic changes in a negative way. [Tech Times]

Mountain gorillas are among the most  affected (Brent Stirton / Getty images)

Mountain gorillas are among the most
affected (Brent Stirton / Getty images)

World:

¶ Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 GW of renewable energy by 2023, starting with wind and solar plants in its vast northwestern desert. The effort could replace the equivalent of 80,000 barrels of oil a day now burned for power. With growth in industry, Saudi peak demand increased 10% last year. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ Carbridge, the onsite provider of airport ground transportation services for the Sydney Airport, announced that it has placed orders for 40 more pure electric buses from BYD. The contract was finalized at the end of January – just 3 months after the first BYD Electric Blu bus was first put to use at the Sydney Airport. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric bus at Sydney harbor

BYD electric bus at Sydney harbor

¶ In a move that further illustrates the company’s commitment to being a socially responsible corporation, French multinational electric utility Engie announced that it will join Watts of Love in a critical initiative to bring sustainable solar lighting to remote villages in Guatemala without any access to electric power. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The construction value of UK offshore wind farms reached a record £4.1 billion in 2016, up from £2.45 billion the previous year, according to construction industry analysts Barbour ABI. The trend is likely to continue for offshore wind developments, with £23.2 billion worth of construction contract value now in planning. [reNews]

London Array (Credit: reNews)

London Array (Credit: reNews)

¶ Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced plans to use renewable power sources to provide 20% of the nation’s energy by 2025. The government intends to phase out all nuclear power plants by 2025 and announced last October plans to shut down Nuclear Power Plant No 1 in New Taipei City by 2019. [Taiwan News]

¶ Genex Power Limited achieved financial close for the Kidston Phase One Solar Project in Queensland, Australia, on land next to the proposed Kidston pumped storage project. First Solar will supply 63 MW of advanced thin-film PV modules. The project will produce about 145,000 MWh of electricity in its first year of operation. [Electric Light & Power]

Australian solar array

Australian solar array

¶ In the UK, MPs have urged the Secretary of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to open price support negotiations for Tidal Lagoon Power’s 320-MW Swansea Bay project. 107 MPs have signed a letter to Clark following the publication last month of the Hendry Review commissioned last year by the then DECC. [reNews]

US:

¶ Coal power is no longer the best energy bargain. And on Monday, the four private utility owners of the Navajo Generating Station, led by the Salt River Project, voted to shut down the plant at the end of 2019, some 25 years ahead of schedule. The closure will deeply hurt the employees, 90% of whom are Native American. [Grist]

Navajo Generating Station (Shutterstock image)

Navajo Generating Station (Shutterstock image)

¶ While the Trump administration appears to have affection for the fossil fuels industry, some states are moving in a different direction, especially on plug-in electric vehicles (PEV). From Massachusetts and New York to California, they and are setting, and achieving, goals to put PEVs on the road, replacing those that burn fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dominion Energy is ahead of schedule with its plans to build 400 MW of solar power in Virginia by 2020. The company is investing more than $800 million in solar in the state, and said additional projects are now in the planning stages. The additions of solar power would have little effects on power rates, according to a spokesman. [reNews]

17-MW Powhattan solar array (credit: Dominion)

17-MW Powhattan solar array (credit: Dominion)

¶ Democratic lawmakers proposed legislation to move Nevada away from fossil fuels more quickly than planned. Democratic Assemblyman Chris Brooks of Las Vegas introduced a bill this week that would double the amount of renewable energy Nevada will mandate by 2025, raising the goal to 50%. [U.S. News & World Report]

¶ Cost overruns at Georgia’s Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant are threatening a financial tsunami at Toshiba Corp. The company projected a $6.3 billion write-down, postponed its earnings report because of allegations of impropriety, and announced that its chairman was resigning – all on the same day, the Wall Street Journal reported. [Atlanta Business Chronicle]

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February 14 Climate News

February 14, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “How Did the Oroville Dam Crisis Get So Dire?” • On Sunday, authorities ordered 188,000 people near the Oroville dam in California to evacuate. Extreme weather, which scientists say was exacerbated by human-caused climate change, moved from drought to saturated in just months, filling a reservoir to levels that proved dangerous. [The Atlantic]

Spillway at the Oroville dam (California Department of Water Resources via Reuters)

Spillway at the Oroville dam (California
Department of Water Resources via Reuters)

Science and Technology:

¶ A report in Ward’s Auto dated February 7th says EV battery prices are falling faster than expected and could be lower than the magic $100 per kWh mark by 2020. A US Department of Energy goal of achieving a price of $125 by that year is turning out to be much too conservative. Some experts are expecting $80 per kWh. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Enel Green Power reported that it added a record-breaking 2,018 MW of renewable energy capacity last year, a 124% increase from around 900 MW capacity added in 2015. Understandably, a good majority of the new capacity was added in developing markets, including Brazil, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, and others. [CleanTechnica]

Enel wind turbine in Costa Rica (Richie Diesterheft, Wikimedia Commons)

Enel turbine in Tilaran, Costa Rica
(Richie Diesterheft, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ China installed a total of 23 GW of wind energy in 2016, nearly half the total 54 GW that was brought online around the world. China continues to expand its lead over its nearest competitors, the United States and Germany. The worldwide total of 54 GW installed brings the global cumulative total up to nearly 487 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Farmers across Australia are choosing to invest in on-farm renewable energy sources to cut costs and reduce reliance on electricity providers. While farm lobby groups have stepped up their campaign to reduce electricity costs, some irrigators are taking things into their own hands and have adopted solar panels to help cut expenses. [ABC Online]

Solar powers irrigation (ABC Rural / Bridget Fitzgerald)

Solar panels for irrigation (ABC Rural / Bridget Fitzgerald)

¶ One of Australia’s largest operators of coal-fired power plants has weighed into the national energy debate, calling for a non-partisan push to clean energy and reminding policy makers that the shift to renewables is “a reality” that must be addressed. The managing director said the way the country generated energy “had to change.” [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ ABB is to provide an innovative microgrid, combining battery and flywheel based storage technologies, to around 300,000 people in Anchorage, Alaska. The small scale project aims to identify technologies that enable integration of renewables, such as wind power from a 17-MW wind farm on a nearby island. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Anchorage

Anchorage

¶ NV Energy announced that the 50-MW Boulder Solar II power plant, which was developed, designed, and built by SunPower, achieved its commercial operation status and is now serving NV Energy customers in Nevada. Boulder Solar II is one of 43 diverse renewable energy projects providing power to NV Energy. [solarserver.com]

¶ An innovative project developed at the University of Vermont has received a $1.8 million award from the US DOE’s SunShot Initiative. It is for research aimed at improving the electric grid’s ability to accommodate power generated from renewable energy sources. The award is one of only 13 to be awarded nationally. [Vermont Biz]

The 4.7-MW solar project in Williston, Vermont (groSolar photo)

The 4.7-MW solar project in Williston, Vermont (groSolar photo)

¶ The entire supply chain of the solar and wind industries, including those who manufacture, install and run turbines and panels, now employs 476,000 workers. Meanwhile fossil fuel companies employ 187,117 people. Solar energy, which provides a small percentage of American energy needs, creates twice as many jobs as the coal industry. [OilPrice.com]

¶ Massachusetts would need to get all of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2050 under legislation filed last month. That legislation is now backed by more than a quarter of state lawmakers. The bill would make Massachusetts the first state to commit to 100% renewable energy throughout its economy. [wwlp.com]

Solar array in Massachusetts

Solar array in Massachusetts

¶ A group of governors from both ends of the political spectrum is urging President Donald Trump to support renewable energy, saying it provides crucial economic engines for impoverished rural regions. The Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition is seeking to modernize local power grids and boost clean-energy research. [NorthJersey.com]

¶ Xcel Energy will spend $4 million on a test project in Colorado. The utility is installing special batteries around Stapleton, which has one of Denver’s highest concentrations of rooftop solar panels. Currently, power from those panels returns straight to Xcel’s larger electricity grid. Now the batteries will store power until it is most needed. [Denverite]

A photo simulation showing green cabinets at locations where the batteries in Stapleton will be (Courtesy Xcel)

A photo simulation showing green cabinets at locations
where the batteries in Stapleton will be (Courtesy Xcel)

¶ Southwest Power Pool set a wind-penetration record of 52.1% at 4:30 a.m., Feb. 12, becoming the first regional transmission organization in North America to serve more than 50% of its load at a given time with wind energy. The milestone beats a previous North American RTO record of 49.2% that SPP set April 24, 2016. [Satellite PR News]

¶ A bill before the Connecticut Senate would presumably give Dominion Energy the ability to compete for long-term energy contracts. Dominion owns the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford. A similar bill was introduced at the last-minute and passed by the state Senate last year without a public hearing process. [CT News Junkie]

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February 13 Energy News

February 13, 2017

World:

¶ Officials told Malcolm Turnbull a major gas plant shut down during the freak storm that sent South Australia into blackout last September. Documents obtained by the progressive think-tank the Australia Institute suggest a failure of gas power played a significant role in both the blackout and efforts to restart after the storm event. [The Guardian]

Torrens Island plant (Photo released to the public domain by the author, Wikimedia Commons)

Torrens Island plant (Photo released to the
public domain by the author; Wikimedia Commons)

¶ An Australian company boasting what it claims to be cutting-edge technology is raising $12 million from wealthy investors to develop a series of 1-MW generators that convert wave energy into electric power. Australian Maritime College claims the technology is 60% more efficient than previous ocean-wave/air-turbine generators. [The Australian]

¶ India has an opportunity to shift completely to green energy, a study by The Energy and Resource Institute said. If the country can halve storage technology prices in 10 years, it can do without the need for new coal based plants. The report said capacity that is installed or under construction would be able to meet demand till about 2026. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Azure Power array in India

Azure Power array in India

¶ Opposition politicians in Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria promised to axe state renewable energy targets after Prime Minister Turnbull called for a unified national approach. This comes despite revelations that he ignored confidential public service advice that renewables were not responsible for power blackouts in South Australia. [The Fifth Estate]

¶ With the end of load shedding, the South African government is now more committed to the Independent Power Producers Program, President Jacob Zuma said in his State of the Nation Address to the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces in Parliament. He said work is continuing to ensure energy security. [Bizcommunity.com]

South African wind turbines (© Sandor-Jackal / za.fotolia.com)

South African wind turbines (© Sandor-Jackal / za.fotolia.com)

¶ A coal price spike last year, driven by a Chinese regulation that capped local mining operations, has shown how easily markets can swing from oversupply to shortfall. While many analysts and investors see the long-term outlook for coal as bleak, the shorter-term outlook for the industry has seen a reversal of fortunes. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

US:

¶ A Hawaiian utility co-op is aiming to produce 70% of its energy from renewables by 2030. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative had already set a target of 50% renewables by 2023 but is set to hit that goal 2018, five years earlier than expected. As recently as 2011 KIUC had a 92% dependency on fossil fuels for generation. [Co-operative News]

A hydro generator run by KIUC

A hydro generator run by KIUC

¶ Maui Electric Co is marching toward 100% renewable energy for Maui County, Hawaii, and without an undersea interisland cable, the utility’s president said. Maui County residents have told MECO plainly that they don’t support an undersea cable to transmit electricity among islands, but she said MECO can reach 100% without it. [Maui News]

¶ A Montana solar farm would produce 80 MW of electricity, enough for 14,400 homes. It would be built on trust land, so Montana’s public schools would receive money from the lease. It would provide over $1 million taxes. But it might not happen. The Legislature is considering weakening state laws that support renewable energy. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Renewable energy in Montana is mostly wind power. (Photo by David J Laporte, Wikimedia Commons)

Renewable energy in Montana is mostly wind power.
(Photo by David J Laporte, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ New Hampshire is behind most of its neighbors in use of renewable energy, and several groups are using this legislative session make sure it stays behind. Led by the Americans for Prosperity, founded by billionaire Koch brothers, they support a bill that would pull the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. [Foster’s Daily Democrat]

¶ If you want to understand why Toshiba Corp is about to report a multi-billion dollar write-down on its nuclear reactor business, the story begins and ends with a onetime pipe manufacturer in Louisiana. The Shaw Group Inc, based in Baton Rouge, looms large in a story of business acquisitions and lack of experience. [The Japan Times]

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February 12 Green Energy News

February 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Scott Pruitt’s Misleading Senate Testimony: Will ‘Alternative Science’ Replace Real Science at EPA?” • Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s pick to head the US Environmental Protection Agency, is misrepresenting the scientific data clearly showing that the earth’s atmosphere is warming. He said he believes that global warming is in a “hiatus.” [Energy Collective]

Earth as seen from a NOAA weather satellite (Photo: NOAA / NASA)

Earth, from a NOAA weather satellite (Photo: NOAA / NASA)

Science and Technology:

¶ Friday’s temperatures very near the North Pole are about 50° F warmer than normal, according to a temperature analysis by NOAA. The warmth is being funneled toward the North Pole as winds converged winds between a monster storm in the North Atlantic and a giant area of high pressure over northern Europe. [Washington Post] (Thanks to Tad Montgomery)

World:

¶ In the Philippines, the Cebu Provincial Board has urged all electric cooperatives in the province to consider the use of renewable energy as an alternative source of power. The board cited language of an act that encourages exploring the use of renewable energy such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, and ocean energy. [Philippine Star]

"Renewable energy … is is vital to addressing the challenge of climate change, energy security and access to energy.” (Philstar.com / File)

Addressing the challenge of climate change, energy
security and access to energy (Philstar.com / File)

¶ More than 20 Australian large renewable energy projects are already under construction or will start this year, delivering an unprecedented program of works. It will create almost 3000 direct jobs and generate more than $5 billion of investment, according to new analysis from the Clean Energy Council released on Sunday. [Daily Liberal]

¶ Bangladesh is betting on coal to support its quickly growing economy, even as other countries in Asia try to shift away from the dirty fuel amid a pollution crisis. The government hopes coal use will jump from 2% to over 50% of the Bangladesh’s electricity supply by 2022, with 23,000 MW of new coal powered plants in the pipeline. [Scroll.in]

Protesting coal in Bangladesh (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Protesting coal in Bangladesh (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Higashi-Matsushima City was one of the areas worst-hit by the tsunami that killed some 18,000 people on March 11, 2011. It is moving entire neighborhoods to higher ground, maintaining peoples’ ties to each other. It has a 2-km no-build zone along the shoreline. And it is turning to renewable sources for its electric power. [Japan Today]

¶ Sri Lanka has opened its first hybrid power plant in Eluvathivu Island in Jaffna. The plant has a capacity of 60 KW and generates electricity using wind, solar and diesel. It had financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank and the Ceylon Electricity Board for the project, which cost 187 million Sri Lankan rupees ($1.87 million). [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind and solar power

Wind and solar power

¶ The Ceylon Electricity Board secured funding from the Asian Development Bank for a 100-MW wind farm in the north-western district of Mannar. Tenders to build it are expected to be floated within two months. The Mannar location could be able to generate 375 MW of wind power, and private capital could the rest. [The Island.lk]

¶ Europe’s top utilities are planning to invest tens of billions of euros over the next three years to catch up with the green energy revolution. The rise of solar and wind power has increased the need for intelligent IT systems that can balance out demand and supply swings while meeting energy needs and carbon emissions targets. [Gulf Times]

(European utility investments)

US:

¶ Fixing leaks from natural gas lines, capping power-plant emissions, and providing incentives for switching to electric vehicles are among new aims for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts. New regulations target especially the energy and transportation sectors to reduce emissions by 7.2% over the next three years. [Eagle-Tribune]

¶ Recently, one of the largest construction cranes on the planet gently hoisted a 750-ton steam generator into place for a new reactor at the VC Summer Nuclear Station. The heavy lifting isn’t over. It could be just beginning for the $14 billion project, with unanswered questions about Westinghouse, the reactor designer. [Charleston Post Courier]

Huge crane at the VC Summer nuclear plant

Huge crane at the VC Summer nuclear plant

¶ ISO New England agreed to buy only half of the electricity for 12 months of 2020 and 2021 from the proposed 900-MW Burrillville fossil-fuel power plant in Rhode Island. While some say this points to a lack of need for the plant, the developer interpreted the news to mean the power plant will be most needed after 2020. [ecoRI news]

¶ A group of American students, one as young as nine, is suing President Trump over the US government’s climate-change policy that they claim puts their future in jeopardy. His policies have his administration opposed to an overwhelming majority of scientists who say use of fossil fuels is causing destructive climate change. [The Independent]

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February 11 Energy News

February 11, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A new type of battery has the ability to revolutionize all the smart devices that rely on storage electricity. Harvard professors at the Engineering Faculty created a flow battery that stores the energy in primary molecules dissolved in water with a neutral pH. The new battery has a long life, losing 1% of its capacity after 1,000 charge cycles. [Stоck Nеws USА]

Flow battery in laboratory

Flow battery in laboratory

World:

¶ According to media reports, the state government of Andhra Pradesh is considering setting up a floating solar project of 100 MW of capacity. The project could come up at Penna Ahobilam Balancing Reservoir which has a live capacity of 305 million cubic meters. The dam also has an installed capacity of 20 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Enel Green Power will shortly commence construction of the largest solar power installation in South America, at 292 MW. Located in Piauí in the Brazilian state of Nova Olinda, the solar panel farm will cover 1,700 acres and will generate more than 600 GWh of electricity a year, enough to power 300,000 area homes. [CleanTechnica]

Enel solar farm in Brazil (Ciclovio image)

Enel solar farm in Brazil (Ciclovio image)

¶ Encouraged by Chinese and EU commitments to low carbon energy, European utilities will not reduce their renewable energy investments if US President Donald Trump lowers US climate goals, electricity lobby Eurelectric said. Trump said during the campaign he would pull the US out of the Paris agreement of 2015. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The EU will need to shut all of its coal power plants in the next 15 years if it is to meet the Paris agreement’s long-term climate goals, according to a report by Climate Analytics. A stress test for coal in Europe under the Paris Agreement shows that emissions from coal in the EU’s electricity sector will need to be ended by 2031. [The Actuary]

Coal plants will  have to close. (©Shutterstock)

Coal plants will have to close. (©Shutterstock)

¶ Oriental Renewable Solutions has formed a 50:50 equity partnership with GreenWish Partners to co-develop a 50-MW solar PV project in Jigawa State, Nigeria. The Jigawa solar project will have an output of around 96 GWh per year. It will create 300 jobs during construction and 25 permanent jobs during operations. [PV-Tech]

¶ The Global Wind Energy Council released its annual market statistics: the 2016 market decline somewhat from 2015. It was more than 54 GW, bringing total global installed capacity to almost 487 GW. The market was led by China, the US, Germany, and India, and it had surprisingly strong showings from France, Turkey and the Netherlands. [EU Reporter]

Wind farms continue to grow.

Wind farms continue to grow.

¶ Indian solar tariffs hit a new low of ₹2.97 per unit (4.44¢/kWh) at the completion of bidding for three 250 MW units of Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa Solar Power Plant, continuing a steady downward trend in prices. Though low tariffs are good news for consumers, experts believe that their record low levels may spell trouble for the industry. [The Hindu]

¶ Ireland is facing a bill of up to €75 million each year after official predictions that it will fall short of its EU renewable-energy targets. The country is one of only four currently in the European bloc that is expected to miss its legally binding 2020 goals, according to European Commission forecasts released this week. [thejournal.ie]

Dark times on a wind farm

Dark times on a wind farm

¶ A remotely controlled robot sent in to inspect and clean at a damaged reactor at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant had to be pulled early when its onboard camera went dark, the result of excess radiation. The abbreviated mission suggests that radiation levels inside the reactor are even higher than was reported last week. [Gizmodo Australia]

US:

¶ Former President Jimmy Carter leased 10 acres of his land to Atlanta-based SolAmerica to develop a 1.3-MW solar farm in Plains, Georgia. The project is projected to produce more than
55 million kWh of energy in the next 25 years. The project will provide more than half of the power needs for the 683 residents of Plains. [EcoWatch]

The 1.3-MW solar farm in Plains (SolAmerica image)

The 1.3-MW solar farm in Plains (SolAmerica image)

¶ The EPA’s website has begun to transform under Trump’s leadership. Researchers found that Federal climate plans, tribal assistance programs, and references to international cooperation have been stricken. A mention of carbon pollution as a cause of climate change has also been removed and adaptation has been emphasized. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A New Mexico State Senator wants electric companies in New Mexico to go for low cost power sources, and he wants the state to use more renewable energy. He introduced a bill that would require publicly owned electric utilities to choose the least-costly alternative when proposing purchases of new energy sources. [New Mexico Political Report]

A solar array at Nellis Air Force Base (Photo: Wikicommons)

A solar array at Nellis Air Force Base (Photo: Wikicommons)

¶ Oklahoma added almost 1,200 MW of wind capacity in the last three months of 2016, as it passed California to take third place among the states for wind capacity. The American Wind Energy Association released its latest market report amid a policy discussion in Oklahoma over state incentives and taxes relating to wind power. [Public Radio Tulsa]

¶ Amazon Web Services has committed to getting 100% of the energy used for its cloud data centers from renewable energy sources. Amazon said it is on track to exceed its 2016 goal of 40% renewable energy use. AWS said it plans to be powered by 50% renewable energy by the end of 2017. [Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)]

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February 10 Energy News

February 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “An Unlikely Union With The Power To Transform The Energy Economy” • Legacy utility companies are increasingly finding themselves eclipsed by startups that are quick to experiment with new and more effective technologies. Energy leaders who gathered in Dubai are determined to turn those adversaries into allies instead. [Huffington Post]

The sun is rising

The sun is rising

World:

¶ India has reached another major milestone in its renewable energy sector. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has announced that the country’s operational grid-connected clean power capacity surpassed 50 GW. More than half of this capacity comes from wind power, with solar energy coming in second. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶ Greenhouse gas emissions fell 38% in the UK from 1990 to 2015, the National Statistics authority said. The decline of emissions is one of the fastest by any developed country, almost surpassing the European Union target of 40% carbon pollution cuts. Widespread closure of coal power plants was a key for the reduction. [Climate Action Programme]

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

¶ Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation has said it is “very unlikely” it would invest in new coal-fired generators and poured cold water on a federal government push to support “clean coal.” This means the government will have to change the CEFC’s investment rules or directly subsidize new coal plants if it wants to support them. [The Guardian]

¶ Energy efficiency in the Western Balkans, Albania and five countries formerly in Yugoslavia, is to get a €30 million ($31.9 million) boost. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the EU are stepping up joint efforts for the next phase of the Regional Energy Efficiency Program. [Energy Live News – Energy Made Easy]

Town in Albania (Shutterstock image)

Town in Albania (Shutterstock image)

¶ This week as India was crossing the 50-GW threshold for cumulative installed renewable energy capacity (excluding large hydro), the initial bids for its first major solar auction of 2017 were announced, and came in as low as ₹3.59/kWh (5.37¢/kWh). That’s down 16% year on year against the previous record low bid. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The UK’s government was accused of trying to kill off the solar energy industry just as it is about to become one of the cheapest suppliers of electricity. The Government’s own projections say that soon only onshore windfarms would provide less costly power, but the Conservatives pledged in their election manifesto to “halt their spread.” [Belfast Telegraph]

UK solar array

UK solar array

¶ A fire led to a blast in the machine room of a nuclear power plant on France’s northwest coast on Thursday morning but there was no radiation leak or casualties, operator EDF said. The Flamanville plant in Normandy immediately brought the fire under control. The cause of the fire, in a reactor building, was not immediately clear. [CBS News]

US:

¶ The first wind farm in North Carolina is now 100% operational even though the state’s top politicians wanted President Donald Trump to nix the $400 million project because they said it’s a national security threat. Avangrid Renewables today announced the wind farm is now generating power, enough to provide for 61,000 homes. [CIO]

North Carolina wind farm (Avangrid Renewables image)

Tower base in North Carolina (Avangrid Renewables image)

¶ The troops are mobilizing for a second “deployment.” The Veterans Stand group is once again raising funds for protesters who oppose construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The funds will go toward supplies for the North Dakota protest camp and transportation of veterans to and from Standing Rock Indian Reservation and operations. [CNN]

¶ New figures from the American Wind Energy Association show that the United States installed a total of 8,203 MW in 2016. As a result, wind energy has now surpassed hydropower to become the largest source of renewable electric capacity in the United States, and the fourth largest source overall, with a total of 82,183 MW. [CleanTechnica]

US Annual and Cumulative Wind Power Capacity Growth

US Annual and Cumulative Wind Power Capacity Growth

¶ The Climate Reality Project will hold a Climate & Health Meeting on February 16 in Atlanta, Georgia, in partnership with the American Public Health Association and the Harvard Global Health Institute. The event will provide a crucial platform for stakeholders in the public health and climate communities to seek solutions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A pair of proposals from a Nebraska state senator aim to help those who want renewable power but who do not have a good site for it. One would establish guidelines for shared community solar programs, and another would create a process for counties to be designated as “wind-friendly” by state agencies. [Omaha World-Herald]

GE wind turbines in Nebraska (Matt Dixon / The World-Herald)

GE wind turbines in Nebraska (Matt Dixon / The World-Herald)

¶ In an auction, Invenergy failed to sell the second half of the power output of its proposed power plant in Rhode Island. This is a blow to the controversial power plant, which would burn primarily natural gas, and undermines Invenergy’s claim that the region needs the facility of up to 1,000 MW as older generators retire. [The Providence Journal]

¶ Duke Energy Renewables completed its large-scale wind power plant in Oklahoma. The 200-MW Frontier Wind-power Project increases Duke Energy’s US wind capacity to 2,300 MW. Vestas supplied 61 turbines, each of 3.3 MW. Wanzek Construction was the contractor, and Amshore US Wind provided development support. [Windpower Engineering]

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February 9 Energy News

February 9, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “All The King’s Men Cannot Put King Coal Together Again” Even before the new administration took over, it had been widely argued that coal plants would continue shutting down irrespective of whether the Clean Power Plan was implemented. Old coal plants are retiring, and new ones are not being installed. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

Declining capacities of new coal plants

Declining capacities of new coal plants were
going to zero before the Clean Power Plan

¶ “‘America First’ Energy Plan Challenges Free Market Realities” During President Barack Obama’s term in office, much of the focus was on addressing climate change and renewable energy. Trump is focused on coal, oil, and gas and putting the people who extract them to work. But experts say coal is simply too costly to be competitive. [KUNC]

World:

¶ Renewable energy made up nearly nine-tenths of new power added to Europe’s electricity grids last year, in a sign of the continent’s rapid shift away from fossil fuels, Euractiv’s media partner The Guardian reports. Of the 24.5 GW of new capacity built across the EU in 2016, 21.1 GW (86%) was from wind, solar, biomass and hydro. [EurActiv]

Wind farms accounted for over half of the capacity installed. (Shutterstock)

Wind farms accounted for over half
of the capacity installed. (Shutterstock)

¶ Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service has approved Mainstream Renewable Power’s 245-MW Escondido Solar PV facility, making it one of the largest approved projects in the Atacama region. It will involve an investment of $290 million to construct and is split into two solar parks located separately. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Many renewable power generation technologies are now cost competitive with fossil fuels, according to a report by Lloyd’s Register. The report examines the outlook for renewables, grid and infrastructure, nuclear, and energy storage. It found that 70% of renewables respondents felt the sector is reaching cost parity with fossil fuels. [reNews]

Onshore wind farm (credit: MorgueFile)

Onshore wind farm (credit: MorgueFile)

¶ Australian energy provider AGL Energy is looking to invest in large-scale battery storage installations as a potential alternative to new gas peaking plants, suggesting that storage will play a critical role in the changing nature of the electricity grid. AGL had an overwhelming response to market testing for large-scale battery storage. [RenewEconomy]

¶ European wind power grew 8%, to 153.7 GW, now making up 16.7% of installed capacity and overtaking coal as the continent’s second-biggest potential source of energy, according to figures published by the WindEurope trade group. Gas-fired generation retained the largest share of installed capacity, though it is not growing. [Bloomberg]

Wind and coal are moving in opposite directions.

Wind and coal are moving in opposite directions.

¶ Just north of Provost, Alberta, you can see 17 wind turbines, each 80 meters tall, poking their heads above the aspen tree line. They are powering the future of Alberta’s children. In a unique agreement, the Bull Creek Wind Farm, with a 29-MW capacity, provides 500 schools around Alberta with 100% of their energy needs. [Huffington Post Canada]

¶ Vattenfall’s 54.4-MW Ray wind farm in Northumberland has generated power for the first time 18 months after construction began. The wind farm near Kirkwhelpington features 16 Senvion turbines each rated at 3.4-MW. Ray will produce enough power every year to meet the equivalent electricity needs of around 30,000 UK households. [reNews]

Ray wind farm (Vattenfall image)

Ray wind farm (Vattenfall image)

¶ Flood-prevention measures are lacking at ten Japanese nuclear power plants, utilities’ inspections have revealed. The Nuclear Regulation Authority told nuclear power companies to inspect reactor buildings and certain other important equipment after 6.5 tons of rainwater entered a reactor building in September of 2016. [The Japan Times]

¶ The first turbine at the 402-MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm off the Norfolk coast has started supplying electricity to the UK grid. A2Sea jack-up Sea Challenger completed the installation of the first 6-MW Siemens turbine a month ago and the remaining 66 machines are expected to be installed by the fourth quarter of this year. [reNews]

Offshore wind installation (Statoil image)

Offshore wind installation (Statoil image)

US:

¶ On February 7th, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to stop doing business with Wells Fargo Bank. This is because Wells Fargo has investments in the companies behind the Dakota Access pipeline project. Seattle currently does about $3 billion a year in business with Wells Fargo. The pipeline has 17 investors. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US Army Corps of Engineers has granted an easement in North Dakota for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, allowing the project to move toward completion despite the protests of Native Americans and environmentalists. Long against the project, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe promised a legal fight. [CNN]

Activist at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

Activist at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

¶ The city of San Diego issued permits for over 2,200 solar energy systems last year, compared to just over 1,200 the year before, according to the mayor’s office. City officials credited lower costs, technological innovations and streamlined solar permit processing services for the increase in the numbers of permits. [Times of San Diego]
Solar panels in Southern California (Courtesy LA Solar Group)

¶ The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs finalized a contract to build a solar panel farm that will provide Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, with clean renewable solar energy for the next 20 years. This will reduce the facility’s power demand costs and is expected to provide annual power needs for 525 homes. [Proud Green Building]

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February 8 Energy News

February 8, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s Despotically Dispensed ‘Truth’ Doomed by Reality” EPA staff and scientists are being muzzled, federal funds frozen, and ludicrous extractive industry speaking points are now official government policy. But ultimately, Trump’s triumphant hubris will be answerable, like that of all would-be despots before him, to reality. [TheTyee.ca]

One era ends - another begins.  (Photo: Peter Thoeny, Creative Commons)

One era ends – another begins.
(Photo: Peter Thoeny, Creative Commons)

World:

¶ Rooftop and large-scale solar contributed to an estimated 1% reduction in Australian power consumption in 2016, prompting 1.3% fall in greenhouse gas emissions. Analysis by Green Energy Markets has highlighted the growing impact solar power is having on the nation’s electricity consumption rates and patterns. [pv magazine]

¶ Australian Federal government agencies are investing $71.4 million in seven solar farms and a wind farm in Queensland. They are set to deliver a total of 2,218 jobs, analysis by 350.org shows. Australia’s largest coal mine got conditional approval for
a $1 billion federal infrastructure loan, which is predicted to deliver 1,464 jobs. [The Guardian]

Solar panels (Photo: Lukas Coch / AAP)

Solar panels (Photo: Lukas Coch / AAP)

¶ China has become the world’s largest producer of solar energy, according to a report from the country’s energy administration. The most populous nation on Earth nearly doubled their solar power capacity in 2016. Now China intends to add 110 GW of solar capacity by 2020, bringing the total capacity to 190 GW. [AZERTAC News]

¶ In a country where much of the rural population lives off the grid, villages on the Indonesian island of Flores boast their own renewable energy sources, all built by local communities. Faced with unreliable and costly diesel power, they have started to set up their own generating plants, based on renewable resources. [Mongabay.com]

The Mbakuhau micro-hydro plant supplies 30 kW  to power 334 homes. (Photo by Eko Rusdianto)

The Mbakuhau micro-hydro plant supplies 30 kW
to power 334 homes. (Photo by Eko Rusdianto)

¶ For Korea, Renewable energy is imperative in the long term. The Seoul Administrative Court has ordered the nuclear safety regulator to cancel its decision to extend the operation of the Wolseong-1 reactor, about 400 km southeast of Seoul. The ruling is the first court decision to halt the extension of a reactor’s operating life. [Korea Times]

¶ The Swedish city of Malmö is one of the greenest in Europe. The Västra Hamnen district uses 100% renewable energy, for power and heat. It is climate neutral, with absolutely no carbon emissions. The area has extensive bike trails, and a public bus system that runs entirely on biogas, a methane-based alternative to gasoline. [Beloit College Round Table]

Rooftop solar takes on a new meaning.

Lots of rooftop solar in Sweden

US:

¶ The US Army Corps of Engineers will grant an easement
in North Dakota for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, allowing the project to move toward completion despite the protests. President Donald Trump had signed executive actions to advance approval of this pipeline and others almost as soon
as he took office. [CNN]

¶ With former Secretary of State Jim Baker leading, a group
of Republican senior statesmen are pushing for a carbon tax
to combat the effects of climate change. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, they argued, “there is mounting evidence of problems with the atmosphere that are growing too compelling to ignore.” [Voice of America]

Flaring gas at an oil refinery in Washington

Flaring gas at an oil refinery in Washington

¶ Greenfield, Massachusetts has been honored by American City & County magazine as a 2016 Crown Community for pioneering the purchase of locally generated renewable energy certificates into the Greenfield Light and Power Program. Keeping energy dollars local is one goal in Greenfield’s Sustainable Master Plan. [The Recorder]

¶ DTE Energy Co, which provides electricity to 2.2 million customers in southeastern Michigan, is launching a new pilot program to financially support clean energy sources by offering customers to help fund DTE-owned wind and solar farms. Now, Customers will be able to buy up to 100% of their power from renewable sources. [Crain’s Detroit Business]

Solar power in Michigan

Solar power in Michigan

¶ New York’s Cuomo Administration wants to create a $15 million program offering up to $6,000 in rebates for people wishing to install geothermal heat pumps. The geothermal industry earlier sought tax breaks worth about $5,000. In addition to the energy efficiency of such systems, installing
them creates jobs. [Albany Times Union]

¶ Last year was very good for GE Renewable Energy. They had
a record 7 GW of onshore wind orders, representing an increase of 19% from 2015. The company previously announced that its onshore wind business booked over $3 billion of orders in the fourth quarter alone; this was due in part to a strong market in the US. [North American Windpower]

GE wind turbines

GE wind turbines

¶ Vermont Electric Cooperative announced its 2017 Energy Transformation Program. The 2017 opportunities include financial incentives for members who install cold-climate heat pumps, purchase or lease electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or transition away from generators to power their homes or businesses. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Ohio’s solar industry added more than 1,000 jobs last year,
an industry trade group report says. The Solar Foundation, a promoter of the energy source, tallied up jobs in every state
and found employment in the sector increased 25% nationwide. Ohio’s solar industry rose to 5,831 jobs from 4,811 in 2015, a 21% increase. [Columbus Business First]

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February 7 Energy News

February 7, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “6 reasons the clean energy revolution doesn’t need Trump’s blessing” • As much as Trump and his oil-soaked administration want to make fossil fuels great again, the global clean energy revolution is getting to the point of being unstoppable. Here are a few reasons the renewables revolution will continue without Trump’s blessing. [Inhabitat]

Solar powered house in Germany

Solar powered houses in Germany

¶ “Data busts the myth of cheap fossil fuels” • Carbon Tracker Initiative has released a global study that might surprise the general public, “End of the Load for Coal and Gas?” It found renewable energy is now more cost-effective than fossil fuels, conflicting with conventional wisdom that coal and gas are the cheapest fuels available. [GreenBiz]

¶ “Even Trump can’t dismiss the success of renewables” • What impact will the climate-sceptic, coal enthusiast President Trump have on the prospects for renewable energy? How will Brexit affect the UK’s renewable sector? And what’s driving the growth of clean energy in Asia? These were key questions at a Guardian roundtable. [The Guardian]

The answer is blowing in the wind  (Photo: Billy Hustace / Getty Images)

The answer is blowing in the wind
(Photo: Billy Hustace / Getty Images)

World:

¶ Vestas received a firm and unconditional order to supply 29 V126 3.45-MW turbines for the 100-MW Corti wind park from Greenwind SA, a subsidiary of Pampa Energia. Turbine delivery is planned for the third quarter of this year, and commissioning is expected less than a year later, in the second quarter of 2018. [North American Windpower]

¶ Finnish retailer of food and goods Kesko has announced that it will source 100% sustainably produced, renewable electricity for all of its operations, from January 2017 onwards. The company will source “green” electricity, which is certified by the northern European “renewable energy guarantee of origin.” [ESM – The European Supermarket Magazine]

Finland's Kesko to use 100% renewable electricity

Finland’s Kesko to use 100% renewable electricity

¶ DP Energy has submitted a marine licence application to Northern Ireland authorities for its 100-MW Fair Head tidal array. The Irish developer is seeking permission from Belfast’s Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs to install tidal turbines on the seabed and associated infrastructure to bring the power ashore. [reNews]

¶ Enel Green Power has brought online two new utility-scale PV plants in South Africa, at 82.5 MW each. Together the plants are capable of generating more than 300 GWh per year. The Adams and Pulida solar PV plants, located respectively in the Northern Cape and Free State provinces, are supported by a 20-year PPA with Eskom. [PV-Tech]

Enel Green Power project in South Africa (Source: Enel)

Enel Green Power project in South Africa (Source: Enel)

¶ Eskom, the public electric utility in South Africa, will not oppose court action challenging the legality of government decisions around the procurement process for a fleet of new nuclear reactors. The utility said in papers filed in the Western Cape High Court that it would abide by the court’s decision in this matter. [Daily Maverick]

US:

¶ According to Greentech Media, SunShot has shattered its 2020 goal of reaching $1.00 per watt for utility-scale solar utility costs 3 years earlier. Founded back in 2011 when Stephen Chu was the US DOE Secretary, the SunShot goal was to get utility-scale costs down to $1.00/watt. In 2011, the costs stood at about $4.00/watt. [CleanTechnica]

Solar power plant (photo via lbl.gov)

Solar power plant (photo via lbl.gov)

¶ Southern California Gas Co, Los Angeles, along with CR&R Environmental, a waste management company in Stanton, California, announced they have begun construction of an eight-inch pipeline that will bring carbon-neutral renewable natural gas into the SoCalGas distribution system for the first time. [Waste Today Magazine]

¶ Rough terrain, isolated homes and vast distances add to the costs of extending grid lines to more homes of Navajo people. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority uses off-grid solar systems as a more cost-effective way to bring power to homes. They cost less than half of the $35,000 to $50,000 it could cost to extend grid lines by one mile. [Cronkite News]

Navajo solar system (Photo: Katrin Mehler / Cronkite News)

Navajo solar system (Photo: Katrin Mehler / Cronkite News)

¶ The plunging cost of solar power is leading US electric companies to capture more of the sun just when President Donald Trump is moving to boost coal and other fossil fuels. Solar power represents just about 1% [actually 2% – ghh] of the utility power today, but that will grow as major utilities take up smaller solar projects. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ Power producers are set to announce their opposition to legislation that would guarantee markets for the Millstone nuclear plant. Calpine Corp, Dynegy, NRG Energy, and the Electric Power Supply Association all say state assistance to the nuclear plant could drive up energy costs for businesses and residents. [Hartford Courant]

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February 6 Energy News

February 6, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The clean energy juggernaut can’t be stopped now” • Investors have always held concerns about policy risk in renewable energy, but the basic direction of travel now seems set. As costs continue to fall and economic fundamentals now compete with other forms of power generation, the importance of subsidies is falling away. [The Fifth Estate]

Wind turbines in Iowa (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind turbines in Iowa (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ South Australian company 1414 Degrees developed technology to store electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon, at a tenth of the cost for lithium-ion batteries. Silicon is the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust, and one tonne can store enough energy to power
28 houses for a day. [Electronics News]

World:

¶ Spanish wind turbine-maker Gamesa will facilitate around ₹17,500 crore ($2.63 billion) of investment in wind, solar and wind-solar hybrid power projects in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, a top official said. He said Gamesa intends to facilitate investors setting up wind, solar and wind-solar hybrid power projects. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Suzlon wind turbine

Suzlon wind turbine

¶ Being rich in fossil energy resources the Islamic Republic of Iran has opted to turn its attention to renewable energy. The country plans to establish renewable energy power plants with
a total capacity of 5,000 MW. The Energy Minister said that foreigners will invest some $3 billion in Iranian solar power plants in the near future. [AzerNews]

¶ Gamesa has opened a new wind turbine blade factory in the Nellore region, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Construction of the new factory, which will be one of the company’s largest in India, has been supported by the company’s growth plans, which predict a capital expenditure of more than €100 million through 2017. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Blade making

Blade making

¶ China’s smog-hit capital Beijing plans to cut coal consumption by a further 30% in 2017 as part of its efforts to combat its air pollution, the official Xinhua news agency said. Beijing promised to implement “extraordinary” measures this year in a bid to tackle choking smog from traffic congestion and the heavy use of coal. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The Australian Energy Market Operator says it is confident that adjustments made to wind farm software will prevent the South Australia blackout from being repeated. He said the blackout in South Australia in September, which has set off a huge political debate about renewable energy across the country, would not be repeated. [RenewEconomy]

Australian wind turbines

Australian wind turbines

¶ Another robot has been developed for the elusive goals of locating the melted fuel and surveying the interior of the No 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. TEPCO, operator of the plant, plans to deploy the robot into the No 1 reactor before the end of March to find melted nuclear fuel and assess its condition. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ In America’s breadbasket, the economic realities of climate change are a critical business issue, but frank discussion is often complicated by politics and social pressure, so they get disguised as something else. Perhaps no one is as aware of the climate and its impact on the earth than a farmer, and the New York Times recently featured one from Kansas. [HPPR]

Soy beans (Credit: US Department of Agriculture)

Soy beans in a no-till field (Credit: US Department of Agriculture)

¶ Altus Power America, Inc announced the completion of a
1,672-kW rooftop-mounted solar energy system in Framingham, Massachusetts. The solar system is sited on the rooftops of the Shoppers World complex, a large retail shopping center owned by DDR Corp. The system is expected produce 2,133,000 kWh
in its first year. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Three scientific advocacy groups have filed a legal brief in support of federal climate scientists who are being sued by the conservative organization Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch has sought to force the NOAA to release 8,000 pages of researchers’ communications regarding a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Science. [InsideClimate News]

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February 5 Energy News

February 5, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The West’s Largest Coal Plant Could Soon Go Dark” • It’s big. It’s coal-fired. And it’s about to go bye-bye. The West’s largest coal-fired power plant, the Navajo Generating Station, is facing closure because burning coal is no longer a cost-effective method of generating energy. A changing administration could mean it gets saved. [Care2.com]

Navajo Generating Station (Photo: Bill Morrow)

Navajo Generating Station (Photo: Bill Morrow)

¶ “The Wind Blows, the Sun Shines, and Coal Struggles” • We may not want to admit it, but the problem of energy has always come down to one thing: money. Renewable energy used to be an exorbitant cost for companies and virtually impossible for residential use. But over the last 10 years things have flipped upside down. [Energy and Capital]

Science and Technology:

¶ An article in the Mail on Sunday stunningly claims, “World leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data.” It accuses the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of manipulating data. However, a fact check by independent researchers validates the data that NOAA published. [Carbon Brief]

Clouds over the Atlantic Ocean (Credit: Tiago Fioreze, Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Clouds over the Atlantic Ocean
(Credit: Tiago Fioreze, Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)

World:

¶ The Saudi Arabian minister of energy, industry, and mineral resources announced that the country will invite international and domestic firms to bid for renewable energy projects this April. He said contracts for the projects, including two new solar and wind power plants with a 700-MW capacity, would likely be awarded in September. [Al-Bawaba]

¶ Australia’s resources minister said the federal government
is considering providing public funds for building “clean coal” power stations in the country’s north, according to a report in The Australian. He said some of the A$5 billion ($3.84 billion) Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund could be used to help build them. [Jakarta Globe]

Coal is Clean. War is peace. Freedom is slavery…

Coal is Clean. War is peace. Freedom is slavery…

¶ The Australian Labor Party will oppose the Coalition’s embrace of so-called clean coal for power generation, calling the policy shift a cynical exercise designed to keep Tony Abbott at bay. Shadow environment minister Mark Butler said the Opposition would not allow itself to be wedged over the politics of coal. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ Urgent action is needed to prevent salt intrusion causing severe damage to rice production and loss of drinking water in Vietnam and Bangladesh, according to reports by the World Bank and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research. The reports say sea level rise threatens large areas of land that is currently highly productive. [The Daily Star]

Ninh Binh Province (Dinkum, Wikimedia Commons)

Paddy fields, Ninh Binh Province (Dinkum, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ US electric car sales continue to climb to new heights in 2017. Growing 59% year over year, about 12,000 electric cars were sold across the country in January, accounting for roughly 1% of US auto sales. Models from Tesla and GM’s Chevy Bolt are pulling the market forward. Toyota’s Prius Prime shows impressive sales growth. [CleanTechnica]

¶ While Republican President Donald Trump has said his focus will be on reviving the long-struggling coal industry by stripping federal environmental regulations, many states have their sights set elsewhere. Energy analysts say they expect states to continue to advance initiatives that reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels. [SouthCoastToday.com]

Wyoming's Black Thunder mine (AP photo / Matthew Brown / File)

Wyoming’s Black Thunder mine (AP / Matthew Brown / File)

¶ The town of Montague, Massachusetts has approved plans for
a 23-acre solar power farm. The project with more than 18,000 solar panels is scheduled to be built on land already owned by electric utility Eversource. It will be constructed 200 feet from the road with trees creating a visual barrier a between the road and the panels. [wwlp.com]

¶ A group of Republican lawmakers is touting an advancing
clean energy legislative package that will, though critics say
only modestly, crack open the door for more renewable energy options in Virginia. Solar industry groups and big corporations have called for easier access to increased options for renewable energy. [Roanoke Times]

Solar power in Virginia (Richmond Times-Dispatch | File 2016)

Solar power in Virginia (Richmond Times-Dispatch | File 2016)

¶ The Trump administration’s strict restrictions on immigration, declarations about climate change, reported overtures to an anti-vaccine activist, and pledge to repeal of the Affordable Care Act have turned some in the science community into militants. They will march in Washington, and perhaps in other cities, on April 22, Earth Day. [NBCNews.com]

¶ A bill considered crucial to the future of the Millstone Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut, and one that is among the most noteworthy of the state Legislature’s current session, will be taken up in what is expected to be the first of two Energy and Technology Committee public hearings on it. A sponsor says it would not subsidize the plant. [theday.com]

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February 4 Energy News

February 4, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The government is right to fund energy storage: a 100% renewable grid is within reach” • Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a speech that the key needs for his country’s electricity system are affordability, reliability, and ability to help meet emissions-reduction targets. With storage, the sun and wind are ready. [EconoTimes]

The grid could go fully renewable at the same cost and reliability as fossil fuels. (Pixabay/Wikimedia Commons)

The grid could go fully renewable at the same cost and
reliability as fossil fuels. (Pixabay/Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “France’s Next President May Face $3 Billion Nuclear Hangover” • Whoever succeeds Francois Hollande as France’s president may find one of their first tasks in office will be selling off some of the nation’s prized assets to prop up the state’s nuclear industry, fixing the financial problems of Areva SA and Electricite de France SA. [Bloomberg]

World:

¶ The Scottish government has granted planning consent for an extension of the Falck Renewables’ 35-MW Millennium South wind farm in the Highlands. The wind power project, located near Fort Augustus, will consist of 10 turbines. It is an extension to the 65-MW Millennium wind farm, which was completed by Falck in 2011. [reNews]

Millennium wind farm (Image: Falck Renewables)

Millennium wind farm (Image: Falck Renewables)

¶ The much-discussed report “Expect the Unexpected…The Disruptive Power of Low Carbon Technology,” paints the future of coal and oil production as a picture that is not pretty. The researchers also basically accuse fossil energy companies of using alternative facts to project relatively slow growth in the clean energy sector. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Global solar power developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures reached financial closure for its 100-MW solar farm project at Clare in Queensland, Australia. It is the first utility-scale solar generation project in Australia to secure financing entirely on
the basis of a power purchasing agreement, without government funding. [Power Technology]

Solar power in Queensland (Image: courtesy of FRV)

Solar power in Queensland (Image: courtesy of FRV)

¶ The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board has decided to utilize solar power in order to save on power bills. The Water Board is seeking ₹50 crore ($7.5 million) in the state budget that will be presented during the assembly session later this month. Currently, the Water Board is paying nearly ₹55 crore. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Endesa, a power company owned by Enel, has taken the first steps to add battery storage to one of the largest coal-fired generation plants in Spain. The innovation will help make the plant more efficient and flexible, reducing emissions and the need for maintenance in order to prolong the plant’s useful life, the company says. [Greentech Media]

Carbon Emissions (Image: Shutterstock)

Carbon Emissions (Image: Shutterstock)

¶ China will launch green certificates trading for solar and wind power on July 1, according to the National Development and Reform Commission. Under a pilot program, solar and wind producers would be issued certificates, which could be traded, proving that electricity has been generated through renewable energy sources. [The News International]

¶ Denmark’s DONG Energy, already a leader in green energy technologies, has announced that they will become 100% coal-free by 2023. DONG Energy had ditched oil and gas last year. The company has created a portfolio of renewables, based on leading technologies in offshore wind, bioenergy, and energy solutions. [Digital Journal]

A wind farm in Copenhagen (Kim Hansen)

A wind farm in Copenhagen (Kim Hansen)

US:

¶ A group of US Senators from western states with windpower resources has re-introduced the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, S. 282. This bipartisan legislation works toward an “all of the above” energy strategy by simplifying the permitting process for wind, solar, and geothermal projects on public lands. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The President of Audi of America commented at a conference that the brand’s auto dealers need to promote plug-in electric vehicles more actively. A lack of dealership knowledge and an unwillingness to stock and sell these cars remain a major hurdles to higher plug-in electric vehicle sales for most manufacturers in the US. [CleanTechnica]

Audi e-tron concept car

Audi e-tron concept car

¶ NRG Energy and subsidiary Reliant are to provide renewable electricity to power the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston. The game will take place at NRG Stadium on 5 February between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons. The deal with the NFL also includes the provision of clean power to the George R Brown Convention Center. [reNews]

¶ Two Democratics in the New Mexico Senate have proposed a dramatic expansion of the state’s renewable portfolio standards to 80% by 2040, from its current goal of 20% by 2020. The state would then be among the most aggressive on carbon emissions. Hawaii is targeting 100% renewables by 2045, and California wants to reach 50% by 2030. [Utility Dive]

Solar power in New Mexico (credit: Depositphotos)

Solar power in New Mexico (credit: Depositphotos)

¶ In California, Redwood Coast Energy Authority announced that the Community Choice Energy Program will go forward as planned and begin in May of this year. A senior energy specialist at RCEA said the prices for renewable energy are often more competitive and most consumers can expect a 2.7% cut in the monthly bill. [KRCRTV.COM]

¶ A new electric plant is providing for part of power supply for South Sioux City, Nebraska. Now, solar panels are helping meet the city’s energy needs. A solar array of 2.3 MW was set up on 21 acres of land, paid for by SolarCity, a national solar company. The array will produce enough power to covers about 6% of the city’s power needs. [KTIV]

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February 3 Energy News

February 3, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Not just Toshiba – the global nuclear industry is in crisis everywhere” • The collapse of Toshiba, the direct result of its failing nuclear ventures, is indicative of a crisis faced by nuclear contractors and utilities worldwide. Another sign of the poor outlook for the industry: no major commodity had a worse 2016 than uranium. [The Ecologist]

The Moorside nuclear complex (Image: Nugen)

Moorside nuclear complex (Image: Nugen)

Science and Technology:

¶ As the global climate heats up, so do Alaskan ocean waters, meaning big changes for marine ecosystems and bad news for some species. Scientists gathered in Anchorage last week for the Alaska Marine Science Symposium to review new research probing those changes and what may be ongoing shifts in the marine ecosystem. [Homer Tribune]

World:

¶ A new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit has concluded that Europe’s coal consumption has been in long-term decline, and the region’s reliance on it is not as uniformly high as many assume. Much of the decline in coal for Europe
has been centered in the UK, which has been closing coal power plants regularly. [CleanTechnica]

Decline in UK coal use

Decline in UK coal use

¶ India’s Ministry of Shipping decided to use renewable energy sources to power 12 of the country’s major ports. The directive was initiated under the government’s Green Port Initiative, and will see 91.5 MW of solar systems installed at the 12 locations. Plans also include 45 MW of wind energy capacity at two major ports. [Ship Technology]

¶ Energy firm Simple Power has installed more wind turbines
in rural Northern Ireland, with projects being completed in counties Down, Antrim, Tyrone, and Londonderry since last year’s closure of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation subsidy for wind. The company is still furthering its projects where eligible. [Belfast Telegraph]

Simple Power turbine

Simple Power turbine

¶ Royal Dutch Shell has revealed it is considering opportunities in Australia to combine gas and renewable energy to support what chief executive Ben van Beurden says is an “unstoppable” transition to a cleaner economy. He pointed to many areas where the combination of gas and renewables made “a lot of sense.” [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ Solar energy is set to advance in New South Wales after the Clean Energy Finance Corporation announced $150 million of investments in three upcoming solar projects. The three solar farms in Dubbo, Parkes, and Griffith are all being developed by independent power producer, Neoen. They will power about 41,500 homes. [OmniChannel Media]

Australian solar array

Australian solar array

¶ TEPCO announced that a radiation level of 530 sieverts per hour has been measured in the containment vessel of Fukushima Daiichi’s reactor 2. Also, based on its analysis of images taken by a remote-controlled camera, there is a 2-meter hole in the metal grating under the pressure vessel in the primary containment vessel for the reactor. [The Japan Times]

¶ Faced with blackouts, Pakistan’s largest public park has gone solar. City authorities in Islamabad installed 3,400 solar panels on a 2.5-hectare parcel of the 300-hectare (750-acre) park, at a cost of $4.8 million. The park also uses batteries to store solar energy to meet lighting and other electricity needs 24 hours a day. [Arab News]

Fatima Jinnah Park uses solar power.

Fatima Jinnah Park uses solar power.

US:

¶ Republicans in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee suspended committee rules in order to advance Scott Pruitt’s nomination as head of the EPA amid a Democrat boycott. The committee’s unanimous approval, with an 11-0 vote, now pushes his nomination to the full Senate floor for a final vote on approval. [UPI.com]

¶ Ohio regulators are reviewing an application for the Icebreaker freshwater offshore wind project in Lake Erie, about 13 km (8.1 miles) off the coast of Cleveland. Icebreaker Windpower plans to install six MHI Vestas V126 3.45-MW turbines, for a combined capacity of 20.7-MW. The Lake Erie Energy Development Co (Leedco) initiated the project. [reNews]

Icebreaker wind project (Leedco image)

Icebreaker wind project (Leedco image)

¶ The breakneck pace of solar energy Utah adopted over the past decade needs to continue on an accelerated course, advocates say. At a media event at the state Capitol, the Wasatch Solar Team, led by the advocacy organization Utah Clean Energy and Salt Lake City, unveiled a plan that recommends the removal of existing roadblocks. [KSL.com]

¶ State lawmakers and officials from Utah’s solar industry have reached an agreement for phasing out tax credits for residents installing rooftop arrays, partly by increasing those incentives while they are still available. Many said they have mixed feelings, however, about the compromise to eliminate the tax breaks by 2021. [Salt Lake Tribune]

Rooftop solar in Utah (Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Rooftop solar in Utah (Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune)

¶ A fund meant to spur Vermont’s small-scale renewable energy developments will expire by 2018 unless legislators find another source of revenue, according to a legislative report published this month. The state’s Clean Energy Development Fund holds more than $5 million, but the payments that generated that amount have ceased. [vtdigger.org]

¶ In Hawaii, the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative is aiming to reach 70% renewables by 2030 as part of a new long-term plan adopted this week by the utility’s board of directors. The goal builds on previous renewable goals as KIUC had targeted 50% renewables by 2023. But the co-op is ahead of schedule by five years. [Utility Dive]

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February 2 Energy News

February 2, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Surge in electric cars may blindside big oil” • Oil companies are underestimating the global market for electric vehicles and could be caught unaware by weakened demand for petrol within a decade, according to a report, jointly issued by financial think tank Carbon Tracker and the Grantham Institute, both based in London. [Guardian]

Faraday Future’s FF 91 prototype (Photo: AFP / Reuters)

Faraday Future’s FF 91 prototype (Photo: AFP / Reuters)

¶ “Moving Backward On Fuel Economy Standards Is A Bad Deal For America” • Automaker CEOs apparently lobbied President Trump to weaken strong fuel economy standards during a White House summit. Moving backward on fuel economy standards, however, would threaten our health, energy security, jobs, and investments. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “New coal plants wouldn’t be clean, and would cost billions in taxpayer subsidies” • Major Australian energy companies have ruled out building coal plants. The Australian Energy Council sees them as “uninvestable.” Banks and investment funds avoid them. But the Turnbull government wants new coal-burning plants. [The Conversation AU]

Coal plant (image: www.shutterstock.com)

Coal plant (image: http://www.shutterstock.com)

¶ “The dream of cheap, clean nuclear power is over” • The biggest problem with nuclear isn’t safety; it’s cost. And the main risk is rapid advances in competing technologies, including solar power and storage. The economics of nuclear are almost certain to keep it a marginal part of the energy mix, especially in the US. [Tulsa World]

World:

¶ At the end of last year, the Ukraine had 568 MW of operational solar capacity, with 107 MW of fresh addition in 2016. According to a recent report, 54 solar projects are set to be commissioned this year, with a cumulative capacity of 460 MW, thus taking the total operational capacity in the country to more than 1,000 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Solar array in the Ukraine  (Photo: Lujkin8, Wikimedia Commons)

Solar array in the Ukraine
(Photo: Lujkin8, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Iraqi government is warning that a pair of pending deals with GE could be at risk from President Donald Trump’s travel ban, according to internal State Department documents. GE has sizable interests in Iraq, including power contracts worth more than a billion dollars and hundreds of employees in the country. [POLITICO.eu]

¶ Asian developer Equis Energy has expanded into the Australian PV market with two large-scale projects, each of 100 MW. One will be at Collinsville, Queensland. The other is the Tailem Bend project in South Australia, which is expected to be one of the lowest cost solar projects on the continent, at around 40% less than current market prices. [PV-Tech]

Australian desert sunset (Source: Flickr / FreeAussieStock)

Australian desert sunset (Source: Flickr / FreeAussieStock)

¶ Deutsche Bank, one of the world’s leading financial services providers, has finished January by announcing plans to halt investment of all new coal financing, and to scale back existing exposure to the thermal coal mining sector. Not including this, global divestment reported by 350.org stands at about $5.44 trillion. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Today, Mexico ranks number 4 for geothermal resources, according to a US State Department report, “Overseas Business Insights.” The reports says Mexican resources are behind the US, the Philippines and Indonesia. The country is the sixth largest geothermal operator, with an installed geothermal capacity of 926 MW. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Geothermal power plant in Mexico  (source: ThinkGeoEnergy, creative commons)

Geothermal power plant in Mexico
(source: ThinkGeoEnergy, creative commons)

¶ A study that examines seven World Bank policy operations from 2007 to 2016 totaling $5 billion in four countries, Egypt, Indonesia, Mozambique, and Peru, reveals that funds intended to boost low-carbon growth are instead supporting investment incentives for projects that put the climate, forests and people at risk. [Huffington Post]

¶ Enel Green Power installed a record 2018 MW of renewable capacity in 2016, more than doubling installations of the year previous. The Italian company, which installed about 900 MW
in 2015, completed large-scale projects in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, and the US last year. This year, it will focus on Brazil and the US. [reNews]

Enel wind energy (Enel image)

Enel wind energy (Enel image)

US:

¶ 8minutenergy Renewables announced it has received approval on a Power Purchase Agreement to develop the over 90 MW-ac Springbok 3 Solar Farm, in Kern County, California. The project is the third installation in the Springbok cluster, joining two other 8minutenergy projects, 105 MW-ac Springbok 1, and 155 MW-ac Springbok 2. [SYS-CON Media]

¶ Swiss-based ABB is providing microgrid technology to help find ways to integrate more renewables in Alaska, including the 17-MW Fire Island wind farm, 4 km off the coast at Anchorage. ABB said the microgrid project combines battery and flywheel-based energy storage. It was initiated by the Chugach Electric Association. [reNews]

Alaskan landscape (ABB image)

Alaskan landscape (ABB image)

¶ Latest issue of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update,” tells us that newly installed capacity from renewable sources totaled 16,124 MW, or 61.5% of the total, surpassing combined installations for natural gas (8,689 MW), nuclear power (1,270 MW), oil (58 MW), and coal (45 MW). [Sun & Wind Energy]

¶ Invenergy has signed a power purchase agreement with the city of Denton in Texas for its 300-MW Santa Rita wind farm. The Chicago utility is developing the wind project in Reagan and Irion Counties in Texas using GE turbines. It will start delivering power to local supplier Denton Municipal Electric by 1 January 2019, Invenergy said. [reNews]

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February 1 Energy News

February 1, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ LM Wind and Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands designed new blade tips for offshore wind turbines that they claim can increase production by up to 6%. A blade featuring a tip with a zigzag shape was tested on a 2.5-MW turbine at ECN’s test centre at Wieringermeer and improved power generation
by 2% to 6%. [reNews]

Wind turbine blades (Image: LM Wind)

Wind turbine blades (Image: LM Wind)

World:

¶ Increasing business efficiency and cutting costs will be key once again in 2017, as the UK farming industry readies itself for falling incomes and the potential loss of income support in post-Brexit Britain. While some investors are cautious, experts believe there is still a good business case to make for introducing new on-farm technologies. [FG Insight]

¶ In an unpublished report viewed by the Nikkei Asian Review, Coal India says the industry faces a major domestic challenge as renewable energy makes more inroads into coal’s dominance. Representatives of Coal India’s workers say the report is a ploy to counter their demands for better pay and working conditions. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Coal India open-cast mine (Photo: 101Reporters.com)

Coal India open-cast mine (Photo: 101Reporters.com)

¶ The world’s largest oil company, Saudi Aramco, appears to be mulling over investments of as much as $5 billion in renewable energy, as part of plans to diversify from crude oil production, according to people with knowledge on the matter. Saudi Arabia as a whole is aiming to produce 10 GW of renewable power by 2023. [CleanTechnica]

¶ South Australia’s largest solar farm will be built at Tailem Bend this year, at a cost of more than $200 million. It will also have battery storage back up capacity. The solar farm would generate up to 100 MW of electric power, and its battery storage will also be up to 100 MW, enhancing energy security for the state. [The Advertiser]

Broken Hill solar plant, in South Australia (Jeremy Buckingham, Wikimedia Commons)

Broken Hill solar plant, in South Australia
(Jeremy Buckingham, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The EU’s renewable energy goals have long been criticized for being unambitious, but even a pan-union goal to reach 20% of renewable penetration by 2020 looks increasingly beyond the UK, as it begins to lose focus. This is according to the European Commission, in a pre-release report on EU member states’ clean energy progress. [pv magazine]

¶ France has unveiled plans to launch tenders for 3 GW of onshore wind over the next three years as part of new rules for the technology. The tenders will offer support to wind power projects with more than six turbines over 20 years, the energy ministry said. France aims to have 21.8 GW to 26 GW of onshore wind capacity by 2023. [reNews]

Clashindarroch wind farm in Scotland (Credit: reNews)

Clashindarroch wind farm in Scotland (Credit: reNews)

¶ Russian nuclear officials say they’ve fixed a generator glitch that more than two months ago shut down its prized, first of a kind AES-2006 reactor under a cloud of embarrassment and initial secrecy. The November 10 generator failure at the reactor, which began operating last year, was kept under wraps by the nuclear utility Rosenergoatom. [Bellona]

US:

¶ In Southern California, 396 refrigerator-size stacks of Tesla batteries have been hastily erected to supply power for peak demand periods. The installation, capable of powering roughly 15,000 homes over four hours, is part of an emergency response to projected energy shortages stemming from a huge leak at a natural gas storage facility. [Las Vegas Sun]

Tesla battery packs at the Mira Loma substation (Tesla image)

Tesla battery packs at the Mira Loma substation (Tesla image)

¶ The largest solar project in New Hampshire may be headed for Hinsdale. Selectmen approved a payment in lieu of taxes for the $50 million project. It is tentatively scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019. The firm proposing it claims the project would offset more than 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 20 years. [The Keene Sentinel]

¶ The Army Corps of Engineers has been directed to allow the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to North Dakota Senator John Hoeven. He said he was told the Acting Secretary of the Army “directed the Army Corps of Engineers
to proceed with the easement needed to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline.” [CNN]

Dakota Access Pipeline section in Iowa (Carl Wycoff, Wikimedia Commons)

Dakota Access Pipeline section in Iowa
(Carl Wycoff, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Home Depot made its first major investment in a renewable energy project powered by the wind. The home improvement chain has signed a 20-year power-purchase agreement with the Los Mirasoles Wind Farm, which is owned and operated by EDP Renewables North America. Home Depot is buying 50-MW of the wind farm’s output. [Investopedia]

¶ Eos Energy Storage and Northern Power Systems Corp announced a strategic partnership to develop integrated energy storage systems and offer them to commercial or industrial customers and utilities. The integrated solutions provide 4 hours of usable energy using modular 250-kW battery building blocks. [Electric Light & Power]

Eos storage system

Eos storage system

¶ In a six-year settlement, in conjunction with nine intervening parties, Dayton Power and Light, a subsidiary of The AES Corp, filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio a settlement to its electric security plan that would end its ownership in 2,093-MW of coal-fired generation and bring more renewable energy to Ohio. [Solar Industry]

¶ The Maryland House has overridden Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016, which would boost the state’s renewable portfolio standard from 20% by 2022 to 25% by 2020. The Senate is expected to take up the override vote in the coming days, according to the Maryland Climate Coalition. [North American Windpower]

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January 31 Energy News

January 31, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Industry roundtable: The forecast is for strong wind” • Wind energy is an abundant resource in Australia but expansion in projects has been limited over recent years. As costs fall and the air is slowly cleared on policy, the wind sector is set for strong growth. EcoGeneration asked four industry experts for their projections. [EcoGeneration]

Wind farm (Shutterstock image)

Wind farm (Shutterstock image)

¶ “Mountains Beyond Mountains: How Green Mountain Power Became More Than An Electric Utility” • Green Mountain Power does some cool things. They once helped expand net metering in the state. They retrofit homes with solar and energy efficiency products through on-bill financing, saving customers money. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ Expansion of renewable energy cannot stave off catastrophic climate change by itself, scientists warned. Even if solar and wind capacity continues to grow at breakneck speed, it will not be fast enough to cap global warming under 2° C (3.6° F), the target set in the 2015 Paris climate treaty, said their report in the journal Nature Climate Change. [Phys.Org]

Renewables are not growing fast enough.

Renewables are not growing fast enough.

World:

¶ Dubai Electricity & Water Authority announced a fresh 200-MW tender for the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park just days after Dubai announced its long-term renewable energy targets. The 200-MW project is set to be commissioned by April 2021. The solar park has over 1 GW of solar PV capacity under development. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Energy Technologies Institute will fund development of flettner rotor systems for cargo vessels, arguing that wind power represents the only credible way to cut the CO2 emissions of shipping. A flettner rotor system uses a spinning cylinder to convert wind force into thrust that helps propel a ship, and this can reduce emissions. [The Loadstar]

Ship with two rotor sails

Ship with two rotor sails

¶ The German Solar Association estimates the current global installed solar power capacity to be about 300 GW. It says that around 70 GW was installed world-wide last year, an increase of around 30% on 2015. The new capacity could supply 25 million additional households, assuming an average annual electricity consumption of 3,500 kWh. [Energy Matters]

¶ Honduran state power company ENEE reported that 10.2% of the generation in the country’s electrical system was produced by solar PVs in 2016. This places Honduras as the first non-island nation in the world to reach a 10% share of solar energy in its electricity mix. Honduras had 433 MW of solar capacity at the end of 2016. [pv magazine]

Solar power in Honduras (Photo: Grupo Ortiz)

Solar power in Honduras (Photo: Grupo Ortiz)

¶ Toshiba Corp will cease taking orders related to building nuclear power stations, sources said, in a move that would effectively mark its withdrawal from the business of nuclear plant construction. The company said it will review its nuclear operations as it expects an expected asset impairment of up to ¥700 billion ($6.08 billion). [The Japan Times]

¶ Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator increased pressure on ERM Power, Alinta Energy, and other electricity retailers to fulfill their renewable energy obligations and help meet the 2020 target. ERM elected to pay $123 million in fines to meet most of its 2016 obligation, rather than buy Large-scale Generation Certificates. [The Australian Financial Review]

Australian Renewable Energy (Tom Messer)

Australian Renewable Energy (Tom Messer)

US:

¶ Wisconsin’s largest solar project may be built adjacent to the Point Beach nuclear plant in Two Rivers, the nuclear plant’s operator announced Monday. The Point Beach Solar Energy Center would open in 2021. It would generate 100 MW of solar power, and it would create between 150 and 200 jobs during its construction. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

¶ The effects of climate change are being felt in Alaska, and isn’t an arbitrary threat but one that already has a huge price tag. But there is another, more immediate reason to turn to renewable energy soon. Its cost is quickly becoming lower than traditional energy-producing methods, and in a number of places in Alaska, it already is. [Alaska Dispatch News]

Wind turbines in Kodiak (James Brooks photo)

Kodiak (AP Photo / Kodiak Daily Mirror, James Brooks)

¶ The US solar industry employed nearly 374,000 people in 2015 to 2016, a report from the DOE says. This is double the number of jobs in oil, coal and gas combined. There are about 769,000 renewable energy jobs, growing at an annual rate of nearly 6% since 2012. Jobs in fossil fuel extraction and support services saw annual declines. [The Climate Group]

¶ As rising sea levels continue to pose a threat to coastal regions of the US, low-lying but densely populated regions like New York City are rethinking their approach to the built environment. Since it was devastated by superstorm Sandy, the city has been weighing ambitious plans for defending itself against assaults from the sea. [Business Insider UK]

New York City (Reuters / Lucas Jackson)

New York City (Reuters / Lucas Jackson)

¶ Stem Inc, a provider of commercial-scale energy storage services, finished testing a customer-sited storage fleet installed for Hawaiian Electric Co. The testing confirmed the software-driven storage acts as a virtual power plant to manage diverse loads and sites to serve the utility’s real-time needs, according to Stem. [North American Windpower]

¶ The two dozen nonprofit groups and Senate committee members defending Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the EPA, have two things in common. Like Pruitt, they’re climate science deniers. And, like Pruitt, most are funded by Charles and David Koch, who own the coal, oil, and gas conglomerate Koch Industries. [Triple Pundit]

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January 30 Energy News

January 30, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “California’s Grid Geeks: A beacon of hope” • This is the last segment of an exclusive six-part series that takes an in-depth look at California’s transition to over 50% renewable electricity. In the face of President Trump’s apparent indifference to global warming, the state has become a beacon of hope for climate activists. [GreenBiz]

A beacon of hope (Photo: Lucky Photographer / Shutterstock)

A beacon of hope (Photo: Lucky Photographer / Shutterstock)

¶ “The Exxon Tillerson left behind: hidebound, secretive, and wedded to tradition at a time of mind-boggling change” • Exxon is doubling down on tradition, with a zeal that harkens back to a time when oil was the undisputed commodity of the moment and the future. In the face of changing times, it will bound to its outdated ways. [Quartz]

World:

¶ The French energy giant Engie announced it had secured financial close for the $1.2 billion gas-powered cogeneration plant on Saudi Arabia’s Fadhili independent power project. The country’s National Transformation Plan includes development of over 13 GW of gas-fired plants, which are due in the next few years. [Utilities-ME.com]

Gas plant in Qatar

Gas plant in Qatar

¶ British oil giant BP has cut forecasts for long-term oil and gas demand as renewable power takes more market share, energy efficiency slashes demand and the popularity of electric and driverless cars grows. BP said energy efficiency and renewable power will be more of a threat to its existing business than they were a year ago. [The Australian]

¶ The proper utilization of the Philippine’s rivers and its raw water supply can provide the much-needed boost to help the country sustain growth, the country’s top environment official said. Clean development would benefit various sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, power, transportation, and various other industries. [Business Mirror]

Fishing village in Mindanao

Fishing village in Mindanao

¶ After the removal of sanctions against Iran, once again the country has become an attractive market for the world’s energy companies. More than €10 billion worth of energy projects has been proposed by foreign companies, the Energy Minister said. He also assured investors and producers about Iran’s financial support. [Tehran Times]

¶ The Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide $109 million for the Muara Laboh geothermal power generation project in Indonesia. Approved last December, the funding is part of ADB’s strategy to boost private sector-led infrastructure development in Asia and the Pacific, as well as extend support
for clean energy. [Power Technology]

Geothermal power plant (Photo: Asian Development Bank.)

Geothermal power plant (Photo: Asian Development Bank.)

¶ With the future of some of its coal-fired generators in doubt, the town of Collie in Western Australia may be revitalized with new solar, biomass, and pumped hydro facilities according to a plan of the Western Australian Opposition Labor party. The party pledged $30 million each towards a biomass plant a solar farm in the town. [Echonetdaily]

¶ The Egyptian Ministry of Electricity will present a detailed memorandum to the cabinet within two weeks. Government sources say it addresses new and renewable energy projects and includes a report of electricity production surplus. It also discusses the Gulf of Suez wind farm, under development by Toyota alliance. [Daily News Egypt]

Renewable power in Egypt

Renewable power in Egypt

¶ TEPCO may have found fuel debris from the meltdown under reactor No 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi power station. If confirmed to be nuclear fuel debris, the discovery, made with a remotely controlled camera attached to the end of a 10.5-meter telescopic arm, could shed light on the condition of melted fuel in the reactor. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ In the wake of the election, text messaging sessions among four friends, women who were scientists, about ordinary events in their lives changed. Their discussions turned into an email chain, supporting a pledge for inclusivity in science and the need for reason in politics. That pledge has now signed by more than 14,000 women in science. [Salon]

NASA presentation (Credit: NASA HQ /flickr)

NASA presentation (Credit: NASA HQ /flickr)

¶ Most New Jersey voters in both political parties want the state to move to 100% clean power by 2050, according to a poll by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, released this week. A policy requiring the state to get 100% of its energy from clean energy by 2050 was supported by 70%. Only 15% were opposed. [Press of Atlantic City]

¶ When the Nine Mile Point reactor first went online, Richard Nixon was president, the Beatles were still a band and Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima weren’t yet bywords for the hazards of nuclear power. Almost 50 years later, New York state is betting big on the future of one of the nation’s two oldest nuclear plants. [The Daily Herald]

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January 29 Energy News

January 29, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Rising temperatures could boost mercury levels in fish by up to seven times what they currently are, Swedish researchers say. A study suggests that climate change could be driving up levels of methylmercury, through a mechanism that has not previously been recognized. The study was published in the journal, Science Advances. [BBC]

Recovering sediment cores for study (Erik Lundberg)

Recovering sediment cores for study (Erik Lundberg)

¶ A study indicates that tiny floating particles can grow semi-solid around pollutants, allowing them to last longer and travel much farther than what previous global climate models said. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, from fossil fuel burning, forest fires, and biofuel consumption can travel across the Pacific Ocean. [CCTV]

¶ For the past few years, the winter season in Bangladesh has been getting shorter, and experts suspect this is because of climate-related changes. A meteorologist for the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said abuse of natural resources, such as establishments on wetlands and shrinking water bodies, may also be partly to blame. [The Daily Star]

Walking to market in chilly weather (Photo: Star)

Walking to market in chilly weather (Photo: Star)

World:

¶ As far as the eye can see, line after line of solar panels stretch out in the midday sun in the village of Chandrasan in the eastern Gujarat district of India. The village which squeezes in 80 more people per sq km than India’s already crowded average of 441. But the solar panels take up no land, as they are installed over an irrigation canal. [The Sentinel]

¶ The Ayrshire mining community of Cumnock is poised to become Scotland’s fully “Green Town.” The plan is to make the town carbon neutral, creating a model for the rest of Scotland. There are proposals for the community to run its own hi-tech energy system based on sun, wind, and water power, along with smart technologies. [Herald Scotland]

Black Law wind farm in Scotland

Black Law wind farm in Scotland

¶ Sri Lanka’s Auditor General has recommended that a formal and practical Annual Procurement Plan be put in place to avoid malpractices in coal purchases by the Government. This comes after estimated losses of over Rs. 4,145.43 million ($27.6 million) due to irregularities in coal purchases between 2009 and 2016. [The Sunday Times Sri Lanka]

¶ About 100 protesters marched at Wales’ largest coal-fired power station calling for its closure. The protest at Aberthaw, in the Vale of Glamorgan also called for more renewable energy jobs. In September, the European Court of Justice found the plant had been emitting illegally high levels of air pollution. [BBC South East Wales]

Protest in Aberthaw

Protest in Aberthaw

¶ Only 13% of the evacuees from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in five municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture have returned home after evacuation orders were lifted, according to local authorities. Some residents may be reluctant to return to their homes due to fear of exposing children to radiation, the authorities said. [Japan Today]

¶ Ireland just took a big step toward cutting coal and oil out of the picture. Its Parliament has passed a bill that would stop the country from investing in fossil fuels as part of an €8 billion ($8.6 billion) government fund. If the measure becomes law, it would make Ireland the first country to eliminate public funding for fossil fuel sources completely. [Engadget]

Power plant in Ireland (Reuters / Phil Noble)

Power plant in Ireland (Reuters / Phil Noble)

US:

¶ Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, could soon fill the void left by the downfall of coal after a bill passed the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill deals with the costs of pumped hydroelectricity and storage facilities that are located in the coalfield region of the commonwealth. It passed on a 98-1 vote. [Kingsport Times News]

¶ Jobs in solar power are currently growing at about 20% per year, a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the US economy, a report from Environmental Defense Fund says. It adds that jobs in wind power are growing at roughly the same rate, and wind-turbine technician is now the fastest-growing profession in the country overall. [Mother Nature Network]

Riverside California (Photo: Tony Webster / Flickr)

Riverside California (Photo: Tony Webster / Flickr)

¶ A Minnesota solar power subsidy program could be killed,
and the renewable energy fund that largely pays for it could be significantly revamped. The Made in Minnesota program has approved 1,105 small-scale solar projects and is estimated to
have created 495 jobs, but the new legislature is attacking it as
a boondoggle. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is now buying 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources through the use of renewable energy credits. Previously, they made up 50% of the University’s electrical supply. Only 40 other universities and colleges have reported to the EPA that they use 100% renewable electricity. [Alton Telegraph]

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January 28 Energy News

January 28, 2017

World:

¶ For Portugal, the cost of climate change has been staggering. According to a 424-page study by the European Environment Agency entitled “Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2016,” cash-strapped Portugal has suffered monetary losses of €6.8 billion as a result of climate change between 1980 and 2013. [The Portugal News]

Wind farm in Portugal

Wind farm in Portugal

¶ Acciona Energia has announced that it has started to supply electricity to Google’s installations in Chile from the El Romero solar power project. The 246-MW project is the largest solar PV power plant in South America. It supplies 80 MW to Google’s data center in Quilicura through the Central Interconnected System. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to WindEurope, 1,558 MW of offshore wind power was installed in Europe in 2016, bringing its capacity to 12,631 MW. European offshore wind had a record investment in 2016 of €18.2 billion, a 39% increase on 2015’s finalized investments. This represents nearly 5,000 MW of new capacity for the near future. [Energy Live News]

Offshore wind power (Shutterstock image)

Offshore wind power (Shutterstock image)

¶ The chairman of the South African Renewable Energy Council has suggested that the country’s utility, Eskom, may soon face legal action for its decision not to sign fresh power purchase agreements with renewable energy projects. Eskom has refused to sign new power purchase agreements for renewables, while pursuing nuclear power. [CleanTechnica]

¶ MHI Vestas Offshore Wind unveiled a prototype wind turbine. It is the world’s most powerful and can reach 9 MW at specific site conditions. The prototype installed at Østerild broke the energy generation record for a commercially available offshore wind turbine, producing 216,000 kWh over a 24 hour period. [Oil and Gas Industry Latest News]

MHI Vestas V164 (Courtesy of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind)

MHI Vestas V164 (Courtesy of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind)

¶ India launched its first grid-scale battery storage system amid plans to integrate 175 GW of renewable energy into the power system by 2022. Commissioned and operated by Tata Power Delhi Distribution, the 10-MW Advancion energy storage array is a joint project by Mitsubishi and US energy storage company AES. [Greentech Media]

¶ IKEA Canada signed agreements to acquire an 88-MW wind farm in Alberta, about 130 km east of Calgary. The Wintering Hills wind farm will consist of 55 turbines. They will generate electricity equivalent to the consumption of 54 IKEA stores. This is IKEA Canada’s second such investment renewable energy in Alberta. [Windpower Engineering]

 IKEA - commitment renewable energy

IKEA – commitment renewable energy

¶ Thirty-four giant wind turbines are being proposed for the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, which would double the amount of power it produces, making it able to generate enough electricity to supply 430,000 homes. The wind farm’s new turbines would be located about 4.9 miles (8 km) from the shore at Margate. [BBC News]

¶ Nova Scotia energy company Emera Inc will spend $6.2 million on a research center for smart grid technologies at the University of New Brunswick, the company announced in a push to explore renewable energy sources. The center will research renewable sources like solar power and the best ways to integrate them. [National Observer]

Cape Sharp Tidal project turbine (Photo by CP)

Cape Sharp Tidal project turbine (Photo by CP)

¶ Brexit could be a big setback for nuclear energy in the UK. When the UK officially leaves the European Union, it might also be leaving the agency that oversees nuclear safety in EU member states, called Euratom, the Financial Times reports. This could have effects both on availability of nuclear fuel and waste management. [The Verge]

US:

¶ After successfully appealing on the campaign trail to military veterans, President Trump hasn’t exactly been doing them any favors in office. For example, the massive cuts planned for the Department of Energy could pull the rug out from under the agency’s popular SunShot Solar Ready Vets job training program. [CleanTechnica]

YouTube screenshot (via US Department of Energy)

YouTube screenshot (via US Department of Energy)

¶ After the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention abruptly canceled its climate conference, former Vice President Al Gore announced that he would host a similar conference focusing on climate change and its effects on public health. He will do this in partnership a former director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. [PerfScience]

¶ The Hawaiian Energy Companies commissioned the Island’s largest solar park, the 27.6-MW Waianae Solar project. It is the largest in operation in Hawaii to date, generating enough annual power needs of around 11,000 homes. The park will sell its energy to HECO at the rate of 14.5¢/kWh, a very low cost for the state. [PV-Tech]

Waianae Solar project is Hawaii's largest renewable effort. (Source: Hawaii Pacific Solar)

Waianae Solar project is Hawaii’s largest
renewable effort. (Source: Hawaii Pacific Solar)

¶ The owners of Arizona’s Navajo Generating Station northeast of the Grand Canyon announced early this month that low natural gas prices and the rising costs of generating electricity using coal make it too expensive to operate the plant, one of the biggest polluters in the US. A decision on the plant’s fate is expected this spring. [Grist]

¶ Following one of its worst years ever, the US coal industry is expected to continue to decline in 2017, though at a slower pace, says the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The energy and environmental financial research and analysis firm’s report on the US coal markets says, “the picture isn’t pretty.” [CleanTechnica]

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January 27 Energy News

January 27, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “States Expected To Continue Course Toward Clean Energy Future” • In Kansas, Republican Governor Sam Brownback is eyeing new wind farms to bring jobs and economic growth. And Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich says the state needs to support renewable energy to stay competitive and reduce the cost of electricity. [Huffington Post]

Hawaii (The Associated Press)

Solar power in Hawaii (The Associated Press)

Science and Technology:

¶ Eos Energy Storage announced a partnership with Siemens on storage solutions. The Eos Aurora 1000│4000, a 1-MW/4-MWh DC battery system, is being sold at $160 per usable kWh for the full DC system with performance guarantees that support up to 20 years of continuous operation with low maintenance. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ 2016 was the hottest year in 137 years of record keeping and the third year in a row to take the number one slot, a mark of how much the world has warmed over the last century because of human activities, NASA and NOAA announced. They made the joint announcement as Cabinet confirmations of climate skeptics continue. [CleanTechnica]

Graph showing changes through time  (Please click on the graph to see annual changes.)

Graph showing changes through time
(Please click on the graph to enlarge it.)

World:

¶ A report, Missing link: Harnessing the power of purchasing for a sustainable future, showed that the world’s largest purchasing organizations have the ability to drive down emissions across their supply chains. Not only that, they are actually doing so, with reductions equivalent to 434 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In a bid to live up to its environmentally friendly values, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is planning to adopt strict limits to investment in coal power. Launched by China as a “lean, clean and green” lender to invest Asian projects, the bank opened a year ago with a membership of 57 countries and $100 billion in capital. [gbtimes]

Highly polluting coal (Photo: stevepb, Pixabay)

Highly polluting coal (Photo: stevepb, Pixabay)

¶ A plan for new, cleaner coal power plants in Australia, which government ministers say could reduce emissions from coal-generated electricity by 27%, would cost more than $60 billion, new analysis found. Achieving the same reduction using only renewable energy would cost just half as much – between $24 billion and $34 billion. [The Guardian]

¶ Bullfrog Power and Oxford Community Energy Co-operative announced Ontario’s first community-owned wind farm. Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm consists of 10 turbines located in Oxford County, southwestern Ontario. The 18 MW Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm is now generating enough electricity to power more than 6,000 homes. [Canada NewsWire]

Gunn's Hill Wind Farm (CNW Group/Bullfrog Power)

Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm (CNW Group/Bullfrog Power)

¶ Canadian scientists, who were muzzled for nearly a decade
by the country’s previous Conservative government, have been reaching out and contacting with their counterparts in the US
to offer their support and solidarity amid mounting fears that Donald Trump’s presidency will seek to suppress climate science. [The Guardian]

¶ Almost half a century after The Beatles recorded “Here Comes The Sun” within its walls, London’s Abbey Road Studios is once again embracing the sun’s rays. The world-famous studio is one of four Universal Music facilities that will be powered by green energy company Ecotricity, according to an announcement. [Billboard]

Abbey Road Studios in London (Jan Klos)

Abbey Road Studios in London (Jan Klos)

¶ Work to remove thousands of fuel rods from a spent fuel pool at the Unit 3 reactor of Fukushima Daiichi was to begin by March 2018 after a three-year delay. TEPCO announced Thursday that it will postpone the start until later in 2018, however, because it is taking longer to decontaminate the site and ensure the workers’ safety. [The Mainichi]

¶ Despite their stated aim of boosting low-carbon growth, some World Bank policy loans are creating subsidies for coal, gas and oil projects, a report by the nonprofit Bank Information Center says. The report says that the policy programs undercut efforts
to conserve forests, protect land rights and develop renewable energy. [Mongabay.com]

Aerial view of Indonesian coal mining  (Photo by Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace)

Aerial view of Indonesian coal mining
(Photo by Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace)

US:

¶ New York has officially given the green light for the nation’s largest offshore wind farm. The South Fork Wind Farm will generate 90 MW of electricity from 15 turbines, enough energy to power more than 50,000 homes. Developer Deepwater Wind won the contract to install the turbines 30 miles southeast of Montauk. [Inhabitat]

¶ On January 20, 2017 – the National Day of Patriotic Devotion by order of President Donald Trump – the US Navy posted a rousing endorsement of renewable energy on its Task Force Energy Facebook page. Non-fossil sources now supply 60% of the Navy’s onshore energy demand, and it is proud about the money it saves as a result. [CleanTechnica]

Navy Facebook posting screenshot

Navy Facebook posting screenshot

¶ According to the latest figures released by the Department of Energy, solar energy employed 374,000 people over the year 2015-2016. That’s 43% of the Electric Power Generation sector’s workforce, much more than the 187,117 (22%) that organizations that burn fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal for electricity employ. [ZME Science]

¶ Republican governors of states in the Midwest are prioritizing economic growth and job creation by accelerating investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Since the November election, leaders in Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan have adopted new policies that help tackle climate change and grow the clean energy economy. [Environmental Defense Fund]

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January 26 Energy News

January 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “China will be the only winner in Donald Trump’s war on clean energy and the EPA” • Critics have environmental objections to Trump’s EPA nominee. But from a business perspective, the big risk is that reversing course on clean energy will hurt the US companies already slipping behind in the global clean energy race. [International Business Times UK]

Loss of polar ice (iStock photo)

Loss of polar ice (iStock photo)

¶ “Australia is investing billions in madman Donald Trump” • In an interview with America’s ABC News’ 20/20 program Donald Trump said, “We should’ve taken the oil,” adding, “and if we took the oil you wouldn’t have ISIS. And we would have had wealth.” I’ve just watched the program. … It was scary. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

World:

¶ Dong Energy and Macquarie acquired 35% and 50% stakes respectively of the 128-MW Formosa 1 offshore wind farm in Taiwan from local developer Swancor. The 8-MW demonstrator phase went live last year. Swancor will continue to lead the 120-MW commercial phase of the project, which is planned to be built in 2019. [reNews]

Foundations for initial turbines going in (Image: Swancor)

Foundations for initial turbines going in (Image: Swancor)

¶ The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, the country’s electricity sector regulator, directed the Ceylon Electricity Board and Lanka Electricity Company Private Ltd to connect the domestic rooftop solar panels to the national grid within two weeks from the date of application. The regulator aims to add 200 MW of solar by 2020. [Daily Mirror]

¶ Profits from Groningen’s gas fields should be used to finance the Netherlands’ conversion to green energy, the head of the company responsible for gas production said. He called for a more ambitious energy policy, closing coal plants as quickly as possible, and setting up a special fund to build wind and solar energy farms. [DutchNews.nl]

The government aims to get 16% of energy from renewables by 2023.

The Dutch goal is to get 16% of energy from renewables by 2023.

¶ The vast, 10 sq km project in Ramanathapuram, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world’s largest solar power station in a single location, according to the Adani Group. It has the capacity to power 150,000 homes – and it is considered to be one sign of how serious India is becoming about meeting its renewable energy targets. [The Rakyat Post]

US:

¶ The Trump administration is examining the EPA’s website to determine what information will be allowed to remain. This underscores concerns that climate change and other scientific data might be removed. EPA employees have been instructed not to release press releases, publish blog posts, or post anything on social media. [CNN]

Scientists at rally (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP / File)

Scientists at rally (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP / File)

¶ The first tweets appeared quietly, mid-Tuesday afternoon, with a 21st-century declaration of defiance. “Mr Trump, you may have taken us down officially. But with scientific evidence & the Internet our message will get out.” Get out it did. One day later, the post had been retweeted by 22,000 people and liked by nearly 42,000. [Christian Science Monitor]

¶ City Water, Light and Power, the utility for Springfield, Illinois, wants to put $9 million it collected to pay disputed fees from purchasing wind energy toward large-scale projects needed to meet federal clean air and water regulations, according to a spokeswoman. CWLP says wind power saves customers money. [The State Journal-Register]

City Water, Light and Power (Associated Press)

City Water, Light and Power (Associated Press)

¶ NV Energy and Apple said they agreed to build 200 MW of additional solar energy in Nevada by early 2019. NV Energy said the projects will supply renewable energy for Apple’s Reno data center, and it will apply with the Public Utilities Commission to enter a power purchase agreement for the solar plant. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

¶ Deepwater Wind LLC won approval from the Long Island Power Authority to develop the nation’s largest offshore wind farm. The 90-MW South Fork Wind Farm, off Long Island, will have 15 turbines generating enough electricity for 50,000 homes. New York aims to get half its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. [Bloomberg BNA]

Barrow offshore wind farm (Photo: Arnold Price, Wikimedia Commons)

Barrow offshore wind (Photo: Arnold Price, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ ExxonMobil has named environmentalist Susan Avery to its board. Avery belongs to the Scientific Advisory Board of the United Nations Secretary General; the National Research Council Global Change Research Program Advisory Committee; and advisory committees with NASA, NOAA, among other positions. [Seeking Alpha]

¶ The future appears bright for Georgia Power, as the company announced Wednesday that it has added more than 2 million solar panels to the state’s energy landscape last year and will continue to build its portfolio in 2017. Georgia Power now has 846 MW of solar energy resources in operation, with building year-over-year growth since 2013. [PV-Tech]

Georgia Power solar array (Image: Georgia Power)

Georgia Power solar array (Image: Georgia Power)

¶ Public Service Electric and Gas Co, which is based in New Jersey, commissioned a solar farm on a closed landfill in Edison, as part of the company’s Solar 4 All program. PSE&G says the solar plant covers 21 acres with 23,834 panels that will meet the annual electric needs of more than 1,200 average-size New Jersey homes. [Solar Industry]

¶ The US House of Representatives has approved a handful of bipartisan bills left over from the last session of Congress that aim to bolster research on advanced nuclear reactors, allow for more challenges at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and change rules for federal efficiency standards. [World Nuclear News]

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January 25 Energy News

January 25, 2017

 

Opinion:

¶ “Trump has a great opportunity to save our environment” • Donald Trump is rolling back EPA rules. But the nonpartisan federal Office of Management and Budget calculated that the rules imposed by the EPA over the decade ending 2012 yielded benefits 10 times their costs, the best ratio of all federal agencies they reviewed. [Huffington Post]

Acadia National Park (Ymblanter, Wikimedia Commons)

Acadia National Park (Ymblanter, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Solar energy: the alternative” • The need for renewable energy is no longer linked only with climate change and clean air. It is also properly linked to: 1) economic prosperity, 2) preventing structural violence against the least well off, 3) prevention of conflict, and 4) a solution to energy shortages in a world of finite resources. [The Nation]

¶ “Renewables = Over 50% New Electricity Capacity But 16% Of Energy Investment” • The wide gap in investment figures versus new capacity figures is striking. Cheap renewables dominate new power plant installations, but polluting fossil fuels dominate the energy investments. Why? Partly because of the cost to transport fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

Rail cars burn near the Columbia River Gorge, June 3, 2016. (Photo: Coast Guard PFC Levi Read, Public domain)

Rail cars burn near the Columbia River Gorge, June 3, 2016.
(Photo: Coast Guard PFC Levi Read, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers know that more storms, and more dangerous storms, come with a warming climate. A team of scientists say they found an underlying explanation, using satellite data gathered over a 35-year period. They reported on their studies of long-term variations of the Lorenz energy cycle in the journal Nature Communications. [Science Daily]

¶ The Hemlock woolly adelgid is just one in an expanding army of insects draining the life out of forests from New England to the West Coast. Aided by global trade, a warming climate and drought-weakened trees, the invaders have become one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the United States. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

Damage from emerald ash beetles (Photo: Doug Strickland / Times Free Press)

Damage from emerald ash beetles
(Photo: Doug Strickland / Times Free Press)

World:

¶ Ghana-based Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology unveiled a project to develop a simple, efficient, and sustainable electric generating technology for rural and urban communities. It focuses on using microbial fuel cell technology to generate electricity and to support wastewater treatment. [Bioenergy Insight Magazine]

¶ Ministers in Scotland unveiled plans to ensure that 50% of the nation’s energy needs are supplied by low-carbon or zero-carbon renewable sources, by 2030. The move represents a significant shift for the Scottish National Party, after decades of support for North Sea oil production, which supplies about 47% of Scotland’s petroleum. [The Westside Story]

View of Ailsa Craig (John R., Wikimedia Commons)

View of Ailsa Craig (John R., Wikimedia Commons)

¶ France took an important step towards shutting down its oldest nuclear power station, a campaign promise of President Francois Hollande, just months before he leaves office. The board of state-owned electricity utility EDF approved a compensation package worth at least €400 million for the shutdown of the Fessenheim nuclear plant. [News24]

US:

¶ President Donald Trump signed executive actions to advance approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. The decision to advance the pipelines cast aside efforts by the Obama administration to block construction of the pipelines, while making good on one of the campaign promises Trump
had made. [CNN]

Dakota Access Pipeline (Photo: Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

Dakota Access Pipeline (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ President Donald Trump’s administration has ordered a freeze on some EPA grants and contracts to states. An administration “wish list” for the EPA takes aim at regulations such as carbon emission rules that limit the amount of greenhouse gases that
are allowed from power plants, and cutting $193 million from climate programs. [CNN]

¶ The University of California Irvine is acquiring 20 electric buses from BYD for $15 million to electrify its campus shuttle service, the Anteater Express. The UCI bus system is student funded, and the students, who ride for free, made the decision to pay $40 extra per student per quarter to cover the bus purchase and startup costs. [CleanTechnica]

Electric bus

Electric bus

¶ Innogy, Germany’s largest energy group, sees no reason to scrap plans to enter the US onshore wind market, its chief executive said, unimpressed by worries over future support of renewables in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency. “We do it because wind is a competitive technology in the United States,” he said. [StreetInsider.com]

¶ A new energy plant is coming to Sherman, Texas. It will be able to power about 1,500 homes, all through renewable energy and without any emissions. The planning and zoning commission just approved the site plans for a 70-acre solar farm. The cost will be about $15 less per month than what one major electric co-op charges. [KXII-TV]

Solar farm near Austin (The tdog, Wikimedia Commons)

Solar farm near Austin (The tdog, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Canadian Solar Inc and solar project developer Recurrent Energy today announced a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement for 60 MWac of solar power with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. SMUD will get electricity from the Tranquillity
8 Verde solar PV project, which is in Fresno County, California. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The City Council of Grand Island, Nebraska, approved a public power agreement with Prairie Hills Wind at a regular meeting. The vote was unanimous, 9-0. The city had previously invested in a project near Albion, which had been completed in fall 2015. The agreement with Prairie Hills Wind is for another project, near Callaway. [Grand Island Independent]

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January 24 Energy News

January 24, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Disobedience: A Primer On Climate Change Action In The Age Of Trump” • Donald Trump’s environmental proposals are
a nightmare. But what can people do to push back against this concerted campaign of lunacy? And how can you fight city hall? On April 30, a new movie entitled Disobedience will be released. [CleanTechnica]

Screen shot

Screen shot

World:

¶ Sourcing renewable electricity by corporate entities can be a major driver of the much-needed transition to a zero-emissions economy, RE100 said in its annual report, published advance of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting. It also boasted adding three major European businesses to its 100% renewable energy campaign. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Scottish Government published a draft climate change plan which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 66% by 2032. Scotland exceeded an interim target of delivering a 42% emissions reduction in 2014 – six years early. At the start of 2013, only 13% of the country’s total final energy consumption had come from renewable sources. [Energy Voice]

Wind turbines

Wind turbines

¶ Australia’s government has “no plans” to change the Renewable Energy Target, environment minister Josh Frydenberg has said in response to reports that conservative Coalition MPs want the target dropped. He said that the RET was “balanced” but “not cost free,” and attacked Labor for its 50% target on renewables. [The Guardian]

¶ 2017 heralds ‘significant change’ in the British energy market. Wholesale prices had surpassed £1,000/MWh in November. Market volatility is nothing new to those in the agriculture sector, but ahead of Brexit and potential loss of income support, British farmers need to concentrate on improving business efficiencies and reducing risk. [FarmingUK]

Even with lower subsidies, renewable energy is worthwhile.

Even with lower subsidies, renewable energy is worthwhile.

¶ While the negative rhetoric around wind energy continues, in many British newspapers and increasingly from the government itself, a renewables revolution continues quietly going on. The Hornsea One project off the coast of Yorkshire, the Noor solar project in Morocco, the MeyGen tidal project, and others are noted. [Power Technology]

¶ The levelized cost of offshore wind energy dropped in the UK because of larger, more efficient turbines, competitive auctions, and cheaper capital, according to a report. The levelized costs dropped 32% last year, to £97/MWh, beating a goal to pass the £100/MWh threshold by 2020, and making offshore wind cheaper than nuclear power. [Bloomberg]

Offshore wind power (Photo: Simon Dawson / Bloomberg)

Offshore wind power (Photo: Simon Dawson / Bloomberg)

US:

¶ A representative survey of Americans, conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication in late 2016, has found that a record number are “very worried” about global warming, while a clear majority expressed concern about the issue. [CleanTechnica]

¶ California now has three completed energy-storage sites, and they constitute the biggest test yet for the technology, notes The New York Times. Energy-storage development picked up after a massive 2015 gas leak in Aliso Canyon, a large-scale disaster for the environment that also cut off fuel to local power plants. [Christian Science Monitor]

Wind turbines in Washington (Rick Bowmer / AP / File)

Wind turbines in Washington (Rick Bowmer / AP / File)

¶ The Centers for Disease Control confirmed that it postponed a summit scheduled for next month on climate change and public health ahead of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The scheduled keynote speaker said that the Trump administration may not have directly cancelled the conference, but it bears the hallmark of his influence. [CNN]

¶ As President Donald Trump prepares to boost fossil fuel production, a Pew Research Center poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans would rather the US focus on developing clean energy. The new poll shows that 27% said fossil fuels should be a priority, compared with 65% who favored renewable energy. [Huffington Post]

Climate protester (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

Climate protester (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

¶ The Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly approved Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, despite concerns about his business ties to Russia. Where votes on cabinet positions are usually non-partisan, this one had 11 Republicans voting in favor and all 10 Democrats against. The matter now goes to a Senate dominated by Republicans. [BBC]

¶ PSEG Solar Source acquired two North Carolina solar power facilities from BayWa re, with a total capacity of 47 MWs-dc. The a total investment was $74.6 million. The PSEG Cork Oak Solar Energy Center and the PSEG Sunflower Solar Energy Center are under construction and scheduled to begin operation later this year. [Electric Light & Power]

Solar array

Solar array

¶ A 2.2-MW gas-powered fuel cell was installed at a high school in Woodbridge, Connecticut.The fuel cell also provides heat for the high school, and will soon serve as the generation source for the Town’s microgrid, which will supply continuous power to seven municipal buildings during outages caused by storms and similar events. [Patch.com]

¶ Two Massachusetts lawmakers hope to wean the state off fossil fuels completely and get 100% of its energy from renewable source. A bill they filed would require the state to achieve total renewable electricity generation by 2035 and phase out fossil fuels across all sectors, including heating and transportation, by 2050. [Electric Light & Power]

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January 23 Energy News

January 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Coal Power: Are We Seeing The Beginning Of Its End?” • Shortly after announcing that they will be investing over $360 billion in renewable energy resources (namely hydro, nuclear, solar and wind) in the next five years, China suspended more than 100 coal power plant projects worth around $62 billion. [Wall Street Pit]

Power station

Power station

¶ “Trump Won’t Stop The Clean Energy Revolution” • The oil and gas industry has the most industry-friendly administration in recent memory. But even as the regulatory environment for oil and gas drilling may get easier, the inroads of clean energy and innovative emerging technologies will increasingly make them obsolete. [Yahoo Finance]

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists at the University of Calgary in Canada developed a button-sized, garnet-based rechargeable battery that may power vehicles, electronics, and grids for storing renewable energy. They created a chemically stable, non-flammable lithium-ion battery, which can operate safely at a higher voltage than existing types. [The Indian Express]

Electric vehicles promise to revolutionize transportation but  they need safer, better-performing batteries. (Source: Reuters)

Electric vehicles promise to revolutionize transportation but
they need safer, better-performing batteries. (Source: Reuters)

World:

¶ The UK’s Government was accused of trying to bury a major report about the dangers of global warming. The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Report, which must by law be issued every five years, was released almost without notice. It speaks of deaths from heat waves doubling, increased flooding, and other dire problems. [The Independent]

¶ Renewable energy is now the cheapest option, on average, for new electricity capacity around the world, and this is true for developed countries like the US as well as developing countries like India, Nigeria, and Mexico. One of the biggest problems for dealing with climate change is just getting people to understand that fact. [CleanTechnica]

Renewables are now the cheapest option. (Data by Lazard, Chart by CleanTechnica | Zachary Shahan.)

Renewables are now the cheapest option available to us.
(Data by Lazard, Chart by CleanTechnica | Zachary Shahan.)

¶ A meteorologist, a climate science professor, and the Deputy Director of the Monash Energy Materials and Systems Institute gave us their insights on the recent “unusual” tropical weather patterns appearing in South Australia, what exactly is causing the continual blackouts, and how renewables can help deal with the problem. [Gizmodo Australia]

¶ Leading energy industry experts have called on the Scottish Government to “grasp its opportunity to transform the country’s energy sector”, ahead of the publication of its energy strategy later this week. The Future Energy Taskforce says the Scottish Government will need to use all the powers it has to bring about the needed changes. [The National]

Cable landing (Photo: Chris James)

Cable landing (Photo: Chris James)

¶ Australia won’t be following Donald Trump’s lead on renewable energy policies, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says. His statement comes after calls from within the Coalition to scrap Australia’s renewable energy targets if the US President attempts to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement of 2015. [Northern Rivers Echo]

¶ British renewables firms are preparing to compete for a multi-million dollar windfall by snapping up contracts to develop wind, solar and power storage projects in Saudi Arabia through the kingdom’s $50-billion renewables drive. The Saudis are planning to shift to renewables to meet a demand for power growing at 8% per year. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Solar thermal collectors

Solar thermal collectors

¶ South Korea’s leading presidential candidate Moon Jae-In has pledged to reduce coal-fired power plants and phase out nuclear reactors in the country, while seeking to buy Russian natural gas and to increase investments in renewable power projects to meet power demand and combat climate change. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

US:

¶ In a report posted online, Wisconsin’s Division of Emergency Management devoted extensive attention to climate change and natural disasters it will cause, such as floods, drought and forest fires. The Public Service Commission and the Department of Natural Resources had removed all mentions of climate change from their websites. [The Sheboygan Press]

Road temporarily closed (Photo courtesy of Ready Wisconsin)

Road temporarily closed (Photo courtesy of Ready Wisconsin)

¶ Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, and Mohave Electric Cooperative announced the completion of a 13.8-MW solar project with single-axis trackers, in Fort Mohave, Arizona. Constellation owns the system, and Mohave Electric will buy its power through a 30-year power purchase agreement with purchase options. [pv magazine]

¶ In December, purchases of EVs – cars that require plugging
in for a charge – set a monthly US sales record, surpassing the previous mark by 45%. In all, some 25,000 EVs were sold last month nationwide. Nearly 160,000 EVs were bought or leased
in 2016, up 37% from 2015. New, more affordable EV models are introduced every year. [ecoRI news]

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