Posts Tagged ‘nuclear’

October 21 Energy News

October 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Best Bet: Big Money Solves the Climate Crisis” • Make way for the modern clean-energy revolution, underway around the world and driven by major investment houses. They are making bold commitments and aggressive financial bets on the sure transition to a fossil-free future, regardless of the tornado in the White House. [HuffPost]

Union Point smart city project south of Boston (LStar Ventures)

¶ “Calls For Renewable Energy Rebuild In The Caribbean” • The destructive impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria have been felt across the Caribbean islands and beyond. In Puerto Rico, 85% of citizens are still without power; in the British Virgin Islands, key generation and distribution infrastructure face catastrophic damage. [Curacao Chronicle]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico? One way
is to donate at [Sunnyside Solar’s crowdfunding site].

World:

¶ Nissan will roll out its vehicle-to-grid energy program promising the average customer will enjoy virtually free home electricity. The scheme, announced at an event in Oslo, was tested in Denmark and is to begin its European rollout next year. The trial involving a fleet of e-NV200 vans resulted in weekly revenue of €40 ($47) per vehicle. [Ward’s Auto]

Leaf battery-electric car

¶ EU investigators are looking into allegations that BMW, Daimler, VW, Audi, and Porsche colluded to limit their spending on emissions technology. BMW has confirmed that its head office, which is in Munich, was searched this week by European Union officials investigating an alleged cartel among the five German carmakers. [BBC News]

¶ French gas utility Engie has bought a Ugandan home solar systems company to expand in sub-Saharan Africa by providing power to millions of people who have no access to electricity. Engie said that it had acquired Fenix International, which sells home solar kits financed through tiny regular payments by mobile phone. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar system

¶ India’s largest power generator NTPC Limited achieved a unique feat in August 2017. The company reported over 100 million kWh of solar power generation in one month for the first time ever. NTPC’s solar power generation during the first 8 months of 2017 was 657 million kWh, up 237% from the same period in 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ France will propose rule changes to remove administrative hurdles and speed the development of onshore wind power projects within six months, its junior ecology minister said. France gets over 75% of its electricity from nuclear plants but plans to ramp up use of renewable energies to reduce its nuclear dependence. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind turbines

¶ Saudi companies are looking to solar electricity to hedge the risk of rising power prices if energy subsidies are cut, according to one of the Kingdom’s biggest plant developers. Saudi Arabia is implementing its Vision 2030 master plan to wean its economy off oil and diversify into other industries. With the change, tariffs are expected to rise. [Bloomberg]

¶ Renewable energy is booming in Iran, where installed capacity is expected to grow at least sevenfold over the next five years. Iran has agreements with 124 companies, mostly European, to install 2,380 MW of renewable capacity, in addition to the 340 MW currently in place, according to data from Iran’s Energy Ministry. [EnergyInfraPost]

Unusually mounted solar array

¶ Oil and gas workers and members of the Louis Bull Tribe installed rooftop solar panels on a community daycare in Maskwacis, Alberta, as part of an initiative to give workers new opportunities in clean energy. The goal is to “upskill” 1,000 oil, gas and coal workers, as well as members of the indigenous community, as solar specialists. [JWN]

US:

¶ The sun will be the source of electricity for about 70% of the government complex in Madison County, New York, from now on. Tucked between some cornfields and brush on a rural Madison County road, are more than 7,500 ground-mounted solar panels. They will save the county $3 million over the next 25 years. [WRVO Public Media]

Madison County’s solar array (Photo: Ellen Abbot | WRVO News)

¶ Distributed energy specialist Arensis has delivered an off-grid energy system to aid Puerto Rico and help with recovery from Hurricane Maria. A combined 50 kW of electricity and 120 kW of thermal energy will be powering the Sports Complex in the City of Fajardo, a refugee shelter and distribution center, as soon as it can be installed. [Decentralized Energy]

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

¶ AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power company, issued a Request for Proposals for up to 400 MW of solar generation resources in Ohio. The company will give preference to projects that are sited in Appalachian Ohio, that create permanent local manufacturing jobs, and which commit to hiring Ohio military veterans. [Daily Energy Insider]

Solar canopy at the Cincinnati Zoo (quadell, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Although the Trump administration announced that the so-called “war against coal” is over, Michigan’s largest utility believes there is no future left for such a dirty, carbon-dense fuel and is making plans to phase out all of its coal-based energy production within 23 years, including a massive coal-fired power plant in Monroe. [Toledo Blade]

¶ Facebook is building a massive data center to Papillion, Nebraska. The Omaha Public Power District played a key role in attracting Facebook to the area by providing access to 100% renewable energy, which will come from the resurrected Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project in Dixon County, Nebraska [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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October 20 Energy News

October 20, 2017

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico?
One way is to donate at [this crowdfunding website].

Opinion:

¶ “Pollution’s Annual Price Tag? $4.6 Trillion and 9 Million Dead” Pollution in all its forms killed 9 million people in 2015 and, by one measure, led to economic damage of $4.6 trillion, according to a new estimate by medical researchers who hope to put the health costs of toxic air, water and soil higher on the global agenda. [Yahoo News]

Inner Mongolian landscape (Photo: Kevin Frayer | Getty Images)

¶ “There’s a Dangerous Bubble in the Fossil-Fuel Economy, and the Trump Administration Is Making It Worse” • Investors have increasingly recognized the long-term instability of high-carbon industries. We must limit our use of carbon, if we are to avoid destroying our civilization, and that means not using 80% of the reserves. [The New Yorker]

¶ “Turnbull’s energy plan a disaster for renewables, climate and prices” • Prime Minister Turnbull’s latest proposal may be the most ill-considered, poorly detailed, and potentially useless policy that anyone can remember – the work of Australia’s “energy mafia,” defending the power of commercial interests, an oligopoly, and their ideology. [Echonetdaily]

Offshore wind farm

World:

¶ More than a billion people still lack access to electricity, but that number is shrinking, according to an International Energy Agency special report on energy access. The role coal has played in this is set to decline “dramatically,” because renewables are becoming cheaper and can be used for people in the hardest-to-reach, remote areas. [RenewEconomy]

¶ A group of Portuguese children whose district was ravaged by deadly forest fires this summer is to sue 47 European nations, accusing them of failing to take action on climate change. The group’s legal fees in the landmark case are being paid through a crowdfunding campaign, which has already raised more than £20,000 (US $26,340). [CNN]

Wildfire in Portugal

¶ Assembly of the ITER reactor, a nuclear fusion project costing €20 billion ($24 billion), will begin in France in May of 2018. But with wind-farm developers starting to promise subsidy-free power by 2025 and electricity demand stagnating, even the project’s supporters are asking whether ITER will ever make sense. [The Edge Markets MY]

¶ Ireland’s state forestry group Coillte is seeking partners to advance 1 GW of wind projects as it seeks to develop the “exceptional potential” of its landbank for renewables. Coillte could include the sale of its existing 150 MW of wind interests as part of a strategy to fund future developments, the Irish group said. [Recharge]

Galway Wind park (Photo: SSE)

¶ A nuclear power plant in Switzerland is set to operate flexibly after a software upgrade. The 1010-MW Goesgen pressurized water reactor plant can vary its output between 50% and 100% per cent of its installed capacity, with power ramps of up to 30 MW per minute, responding to changing supply and demand. [Power Engineering International]

¶ An ambitious renewable energy target of 40% by 2025 has been given the green light by Victoria’s parliament. The legislation, which also locks in a 25% target by 2020, passed the state’s upper house on Friday afternoon. Government modelling shows the target will cut the average Victorian household power bill by $30 a year. [SBS]

Solar power in Victoria

¶ South Korea has chosen to finish construction of two nuclear reactors in a symbolic decision between stability and a drastic change in economy and environment. Construction of two Shin Kori nuclear reactors was suspended on June 27,  under the new Moon Jae-in administration’s nuclear phase-out drive, at 29.5% completion. [The Korea Herald]

¶ A world first renewable energy project has taken its first steps in Australia, with big-name companies Vestas, Tesla, and Windlab backed by Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation partnering on a $160 million, 60-MW hybrid wind, solar, and energy storage project at the Kennedy Energy Park in North Queensland. [CleanTechnica]

Kennedy Energy Park

US:

¶ Eight former members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, including five former chairmen, have filed a bluntly worded letter with the commission opposing Perry’s proposal that would give coal and nuclear plants credit for resilience to improve their chance of beating solar, wind and natural gas competitors. [The Columbian]

¶ Amazon Wind Farm Texas is now up and running. Built, owned and operated by Lincoln Clean Energy, the 253-MW facility is made up of 110 GE turbines capable of adding more than 1,000 GWh of clean energy to the grid each year. The project was christened by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos himself atop a turbine. [North American Windpower]

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos christening a turbine (Twitter)

¶ Green Mountain Power wants to build Vermont’s second commercial renewable energy storage battery near its solar array in Panton. The $3 million Tesla battery will store about 1 MW of power which will come off of the solar array nearby. The new battery will allow GMP to store renewable energy for helping meet peak grid demand. [Vermont Public Radio]

¶ Green Star Gasifiers LLC plans to begin construction of a $53 million renewable fuels power plant on a 17-acre tract in South Sioux City, Nebraska. The plant will be able to use multiple sources of fuel, including wood waste, municipal solid waste, construction and demolition waste, and agricultural waste, to make electricity. [Sioux City Journal]

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October 19 Energy News

October 19, 2017

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico?
One way is to donate at [this crowdfunding website].

Opinion:

¶ “A more climate-resilient Puerto Rico?” • As Puerto Rico faces a devastating humanitarian crisis, an emerging viewpoint is that the island should think twice about restoring its electrical system as it’s existed in the past. Instead, this reasoning goes, Puerto Rico should plan for more resilient, distributed infrastructure. [Yale Climate Connections]

Trees and power lines downed by Hurricane Maria
(Photo: SSgt.Michelle Y Alvarez-Rea, USAF)

¶ “What is electricity resilience worth to you?” • Power outages are a nuisance to some, an economic burden to others, and even lethal in some cases. It is impossible to place a price on electric resilience that could be applied to everyone. So it is crucial that customers know what power loss could cost them as they weigh needs for microgrids. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ “Making a swift transition in the energy sector” • Many in the energy industry have been surprised at how fast things are changing. And no sector has been as surprising as renewables. The pace of reduction in costs can be seen as wind and solar dominate new capacity additions in the power generation landscape. [Petroleum Economist]

Renewable energy

Science and Technology:

¶ It’s known as the windscreen phenomenon. When you stop your car after a drive, there seem to be far fewer squashed insects than there used to be. Scientists have long suspected that insects are in dramatic decline, but new evidence confirms this. German research suggests flying insects have declined by more than 75% over almost 30 years. [BBC News]

¶ A study from The Nature Conservancy presents twenty steps that can be taken to mitigate the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere naturally. Taken together, the effect on carbon levels would be equivalent to stopping the use of fossil fuels entirely. The study was published in the Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences. [CleanTechnica]

Ash trees

World:

¶ SunPower announced that it will provide 505 MW of products in two rounds of French energy regulator’s tenders for solar projects. Of this, 291 MW is for projects in the second round, which will include ground mount, carport, and rooftop projects in continental France, as well as storage and self-consumption in non-interconnected zones. [CleanTechnica]

¶ ABB has become one of the world’s leading EV charging station suppliers. Now it is leading the way in the compelling Indian market. Its Indian subsidiary has given a glimpse of its aggressive plans to capture a major share of this potentially giant market as India pursues its mission to adopt electric vehicles on a large scale. [CleanTechnica]

ABB electric bus charging station

¶ GE Renewable Energy and Sapphire Wind Power Co Ltd have installed an emergency medical center on the premises of the 52.8-MW Sapphire Wind Farm in Pakistan. The collaboration’s aim is to bring fundamental medical emergency services to Sapphire Wind employees and the community in a timely manner. [North American Windpower]

¶ LM Wind Power has unveiled a new 75.1-meter blade in China for Goldwind’s 6.7-MW offshore wind turbine platform. The LM 75.1 P is the longest blade in the Chinese market and was made at the company’s Jiangyin plant. The turbine was designed for wind class I offshore areas in south China off the coasts of Fujian and Guangdong. [reNews]

Unveiling the longest blade in China

¶ Australian conservation groups condemned the Turnbull government for abandoning the renewable energy target the country’s chief scientist recommended to comply with the Paris Climate Accord. The government plans to require utilities to provide a certain minimum amount of power from coal, gas and hydroelectric generation. [News24]

¶ The pros and cons of nuclear power generation have become a major focal point in the upcoming elections for the Japanese House of Representatives. The ruling party insists on moving forward the resumption of nuclear power plant operations. Some opposing parties favor nuclear power, but a number of them are rejecting it. [The Japan News]

Sampling seawater for radiation near Fukushima Daiichi
(IAEA Imagebank, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico will soon get help from Irving-based engineering and construction firm Fluor as part of federal efforts to return power to 3 million people. The Army Corps of Engineers awarded Fluor a $240 million contract to help restore the island’s electric grid. After a month, about 86% of Puerto Rico is still without power. [Dallas News]

How can I help the people of Puerto Rico?
One way is to donate at [this crowdfunding website].

¶ About 1 million Americans are without running water. There are 3 million without power. “You wake up and it’s this mess as far as the eye can see,” one man said. One month after Hurricane Maria, these realities are starting to feel less like an emergency and more like the new way of life – a nightmarish loop that resets each day the sun rises. [CNN]

FEMA water delivery

¶ With President Trump planning to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, a new poll found that 55% of Americans want their local and state governments to fight global warming. States, regions, cities, businesses and colleges are stepping up efforts to reduce carbon emissions in and meet the US pledge for the Paris Climate Accord. [Phys.Org]

¶ Target announced a new climate policy and goals to further environmental progress. Target’s new policy and goals align with those of the Science-Based Targets Initiative, as it aims to cut back on carbon emissions, minimize water use, produce more eco-friendly products and foster a more sustainable supply chain. [Sourcing Journal Online]

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October 18 Energy News

October 18, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ According to two scientists from Harvard University, solar super-flares could blast the Earth within the next decade and result in trillions of dollars of damage. One said that such a flare today could shut down all the power grids, all the computers, and all the cooling systems in all the nuclear reactors. A lot of “things could go really bad.” [Sputnik International]

Solar storms (NASA image)

World:

¶ GE is to supply turbines totaling 158 MW to Vetroelektrane Balkana’s Cibuk 1 wind farm in Serbia. The project, located 50 km outside of Belgrade, will consist of 57 GE 2.75-120 turbines, with blades made by LM Wind Power. GE will deliver, install and commission the wind farm, as well as provide servicing for 15 years. [reNews]

¶ Large incumbents such as the “Big Six” utilities have an undue dominant influence over UK energy policy, potentially holding back a clean power transition, a report claimed. The influence, which the report calls “regulatory capture,” could result in a dysfunctional energy market, given the rate at which technology is changing. [Clean Energy News]

Transmission infrastructure (Getty Images)

¶ Over a quarter of the 1,675 companies that owned or developed coal-fired power capacity since 2010 have entirely left the coal power business, according to research from CoalSwarm and Greenpeace. This represents nearly 370 large coal-fired power plants, and equivalent to nearly half a trillion dollars in assets retired or not developed. [Scoop.co.nz]

¶ The world’s first floating wind farm is being opened today in waters off the northeast coast of Scotland. The £210 million ($277 million) development, which will be opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, is a partnership between Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable power company, and Norwegian energy giant Statoil. It will power about 20,000 homes. [The Scotsman]

The final turbine being put into place at the wind farm

¶ Norway’s Saga Energy said it signed a €2.5 billion ($2.94 billion) deal to build solar power plants in Iran. Its preliminary agreement with Iran’s state-owned developer was the latest in a flurry of deals by foreign companies since sanctions on the country were eased in 2016, after it agreed to limits on its nuclear program. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Atlantis Resources has redeployed the fourth and final 1.5MW turbine at its MeyGen Phase 1A tidal array in the Pentland Firth in waters off northern Scotland. Following final completion testing, MeyGen Phase 1A is expected to formally complete its construction phase. It should enter into its 25-year operational phase within the coming weeks. [reNews]

AR1500 at MeyGen Phase 1A (Atlantis image)

US:

¶ In a scathing indictment lodged in US courts, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused British-Australian coal mining giant Rio Tinto and two former corporate leaders of fraud in concealing from investors the true state of a struggling subsidiary in Mozambique. Rio eventually took a 99% loss on the business. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ A study by researchers at the University of Delaware found that the most cost-effective way to build offshore windfarms is to assemble turbines and foundations in port. The researchers calculated that their innovative process will cost up to $1.6 Billion less for a 1-GW project than conventional approaches and take half the time. [Offshore Wind Journal]

Block Island wind farm

¶ GTM Research has published a report investigating the potential impact of introducing various levels of tariffs on the solar industry as a result of the trade case currently in front of the US International Trade Commission. The report predicts that the net impact to its base forecast could likely range from between 9% to a devastating 48%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dominion Energy has launched a request for proposals that could result in construction of the first wind farm in Virginia, one of only nine US states without installed capacity. The utility is seeking bids for 300 MW of onshore wind and solar power capacity and environmental attributes including renewable energy certificates. [Recharge]

Wind farm

¶ NRG’s request to suspend review of the controversial natural gas facility, while it ponders a possible withdrawal, highlights pressures that it faced from regulators, lawmakers and other stakeholders. State regulators and lawmakers are targeting gas-fired peaking plants for scrutiny, recommending carbon-free alternatives instead. [Utility Dive]

¶ Sun Number and Zillow® have partnered to provide instant analyses of a properties’ solar energy potential to homeowners, home buyers and real estate agents. Sun Number scores are available on Zillow for more than 40 million individual buildings nationwide. Buildings are rated for solar potentials to reduce utility bills. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Small house with solar panels

¶ The Florida Public Service Commission denied Florida Power & Light Co the ability to recover 2017 costs for a nuclear reactor project at Turkey Point, which has been indefinitely postponed. An FPL spokeswoman said, “A new feasibility analysis is not necessary to know that it’s not the right time to begin building Turkey Point 6 & 7.” [Sun Sentinel]

¶ The Maine Yankee Community Advisory Panel on Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage and Removal received updates on the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation in Wiscasset and the prospects for removal, as well as a state inspector’s update, during its annual meeting at the Wiscasset Community Center on October 10. [The Lincoln County News]

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October 17 Energy News

October 17, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Puerto Rico hurricane shows islands must have renewable energy” • The recent storms remind us of the many advantages of renewables and one particular solution stands out: microgrids. These localized electric grids allow communities to keep power even if centralized systems go down. And there is really no limit to their scalability. [Climate Home]

Solar array with interesting tracking system (Photo: Deposit Photos)

¶ “Turnbull dumps clean energy target for ‘national energy guarantee'” • The Turnbull government has formally abandoned the idea of a Clean Energy Target, proposed by chief scientist Alan Finkel and endorsed by nearly all Australians, in favor of a new policy that will protect fossil fuel generation and slow down the uptake of renewable energy. [RenewEconomy]

Science and Technology:

¶ Zero energy buildings produce renewable power, sending it to the grid when they can and drawing it from the grid when they need to. They not only cut net energy use and net carbon emissions to zero, but also lower cost of ownership and enhance the quality of life of their occupants. The Zero Energy Project enumerates ways to achieve this. [R & D Magazine]

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Zero Energy Project)

¶ A Washington State University research team, Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance, has found a way to replace ethanol-based energy sources with biofuels created from lumber mill waste. The long term goal behind the project was to replace ethanol based energy sources with an environmentally friendly approach. [The Daily Evergreen]

World:

¶ The UK National Infrastructure Commission will be looking into whether there are unnecessary barriers to onshore wind, which is one of the cheapest renewable technologies, it said in its draft assessment of UK infrastructure. Onshore wind farms have been once again excluded from a round of auctions for contracts for difference. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm in the UK (Photo: Mycatkins, CC BY-SA 2.0)

¶ Swedish power company Vattenfall has announced it has begun moving forward on developing the mammoth 1,800-MW Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm, which is expected to be completed and operational sometime in the mid-2020s. The wind farm will supply sufficient power for about 1.3 million households in the UK. [CleanTechnica]

¶ For the third year now, the student team from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has taken first place in the Cruiser Class at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. The Cruiser Class is the division for solar cars that could be practical in the real world, owing to seating capacity, range, and so on. [CleanTechnica]

Cruiser Class car from Tu/e

¶ The UK will invest more than £2.5 billion ($3.31 billion) into research and development efforts aimed at helping achieve carbon dioxide emissions reductions targets, as outlined in plans unveiled by the UK’s government. The sectors impacted by the new funding include transport, agriculture, energy, and waste management. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ireland and Northern Ireland’s integrated electricity system could save €19 million a year from 2019-20 by using battery-based energy storage to stabilize the grid, according to a report by Queen’s University Belfast. It showed that 360 MW of battery storage could provide the same fast frequency response as 3 GW of conventional power. [reNews]

Battery storage (AES image)

¶ After months of internal controversy, the clean energy target favored by Australian chief scientist Alan Finkel was dumped by the government in favor of a new “national energy guarantee,” which will impose both reliability guarantees and emissions reduction guarantees on retailers and some large energy users. Opposition is fierce. [The Guardian]

¶ A coalition of Canadian municipal utilities has prepared and submitted joint proposals to develop two wind energy projects in New Brunswick. They propose to build the Charlotte County Community Wind Farm and Chapman Community Wind Farm. Each is a 20-MW project valued at about C$60 million ($47.8 million). [North American Windpower]

Flag of New Brunswick

US:

¶ The solar power industry is booming across Trump country, fueled by falling development costs and the subsidies for solar and wind power, which many Republicans in Congress continue to support. With falling development costs, solar firms now see strong prospects in conservative states with no clean energy mandates. [Reuters]

¶ Increasing amounts of renewable energy has sparked worries in the federal government over grid reliability and resilience. But some grid operators are successfully demonstrating that large amounts of intermittent resources can be integrated and sustain system reliability as successfully as, for example, a natural gas plant. [Utility Dive]

Large solar array (Credit: Array Technologies Inc)

¶ Arizona had faced some of the nation’s steepest emissions cuts under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. But Arizona utilities and regulators said they plan to continue working toward the lower carbon emission goals that had been set in the plan, even though EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said this week that the agency is scrapping the program. [Arizona Daily Sun]

¶ Canada believes it may have the answer to replacing some US nuclear capacity with other forms of carbon-free energy. When New York state and Massachusetts retire three nuclear reactors between 2019 and 2021, the two states will lose a combined 2.7 GW of carbon-free power, but it can be replaced by Canadian hydro power. [OilPrice.com]

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October 16 Energy News

October 16, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The war on coal is over. Coal lost.” • According to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, many old American coal power plants are being retired or converted to natural gas, and new coal power plants aren’t being built because they’ve become more expensive than natural gas, wind, and solar energy. [The Guardian]

Fish ponds in China with floating solar and wind
turbines (Photo: VCG | VCG via Getty Images)

¶ “Wild is the wind: the resource that could power the world” • The UK’s wind energy industry is celebrating. Last month, the cost of wind power dropped dramatically to undercut by almost half the government’s projections for 2025. At £57.50/MWh, it is far cheaper than the £92.50 awarded in 2016 to Hinkley nuclear power station. [The Guardian]

¶ “Forget Abbott’s wishful thinking, climate change is here” • As Prime Minister, Tony Abbot was proud of his strong interest in rural Australia, but his recent claims in London about climate change can only be viewed as a betrayal of the bush by someone who has always seen themselves as a champion of our farming communities. [Queensland Country Life]

Aussie farmer, feeling the brunt of climate change

¶ “The Texas town where all the energy is green” • Dale Ross, the mayor of Georgetown, Texas, is “a good little Republican.” Ever since his city weaned itself off fossil fuels, he has also become an environmental hero. But his decision to run Georgetown on 100% renewable energy was based on cold-eyed pragmatism. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ Australia’s competition watchdog said the country’s residential electricity price rise, 63% over inflation during the past decade, was mainly due to higher network costs. Transmission “poles and wires” took up 48% of a household bill, 22% was wholesale costs, 16% was retail and other costs, 8% was retail margins, and 7% was Green schemes. [The Guardian]

Poles and wires, 48% of the bill (Photo: Joe Castro | AAP)

¶ The France-based energy giant Total, along with partner energy group Erg, is now looking to expedite the sale of its Italian gas/petrol station network, TotalErg, due to investor worries about the impact of the growing electric vehicle market. TotalErg operates around 2,600 gas/petrol service stations throughout Italy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Orange Renewable, a 100% subsidiary of Singapore-based AT Holdings Pte Ltd, has secured a 200-MW Wind Power project in the state of Tamil Nadu under an intensely competitive global bid floated by Solar Energy Corporation of India. The company’s bid of a highly competitive rate of ₹2.64/unit (4.1¢/kWh) is the lowest tariff in India. [EnergyInfraPost]

Wind farm

¶ Royal Dutch Shell announced that it has acquired NewMotion, which specializes in converting parking spots into electric charging stations and operates one of Western Europe’s largest EV charging networks, with more than 30,000 EV charging points. Shell has been introducing fast charging points at its gasoline and diesel stations. [CleanTechnica]

¶ China expects to solve the problem of renewable energy going to waste by 2020, according to an official at the National Energy Administration, as the government takes aim at one of the biggest challenges in its efforts to promote clean energy. He also said that the agency expects the wind sector to wean itself off government subsidies by 2022. [Nasdaq]

Renewable energy (Reuters)

¶ In partnership with the noted medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturer Shaanxi Automotive, Efficient Drivetrains Inc has unveiled a zero emissions capable, plug-in hybrid electric cement mixer truck. It’s the world’s first, reportedly. The company reportedly expects field deployment of the new offerings in Quarter 4 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Building Energy announced that Tororo Solar Plant has been commissioned. It is the company’s first PV system in Uganda. With a capacity of 10 MW, this plant is among the largest in Eastern Africa. It will generate around 16 GWh of electricity annually, providing the electric power needs of over 35,000 people. [PR Newswire UK]

Tororo solar plant (PRNewsfoto | Building Energy)

US:

¶ The news of Luminant closing coal-burning power plants in Texas boosts the expected capacity of 2018 power plant closures to over 13,600 MW, or a whopping 79% more than the known closures for this year. It is not a record high (nearly 18,000 MW went offline in 2015), but it is clear that Trump administration claims that it will save coal are foundering. [Engadget]

¶ Wind technician is the fastest growing occupation in the US. As utilities rapidly increase the amount of power they get from wind farms, workers who climb hundreds of feet to keep turbines running smoothly are in high demand. Students in Minnesota’s wind power training programs sometimes get jobs before they graduate. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Inside the nacelle of a Vestas turbine (Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune)

¶ If adopted, a bill now before New Jersey’s Senate would require 100% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2050. Another bill would set a target of having 3,500 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. The third measure would require power suppliers to achieve aggressive goals for storing energy. [NJ Spotlight]

¶ DE Shaw Renewable Investments LLC and its development partner, Torch Clean Energy LLC, announced the closing of construction financing and start of construction on the Gray Hawk Solar Project, near the town of Kingman, Arizona. The 46 MW-AC project is expected to reach commercial operation in the second quarter of 2018. [Solar Industry]

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October 15 Energy News

October 15, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Clean energy provides jobs boom in state” • Clean Energy Economy Minnesota released an analysis showing that Minnesota gained 2892 clean energy jobs over the last year, a growth rate almost four times faster than the rest of the economy. The clean energy sector now employs over 57,000 people across the state. [St. Cloud Times]

Solar array in Ramsey, Minnesota seeded with a pollinator
habitat by Prairie Restorations, Inc (Photo: Courtesy of PRI)

¶ “Balance of power: Shift toward renewable energy appears to be picking up steam” • Japan introduced a feed-in tariff system after meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Now, despite the power of the political and economic “nuclear village,” people in government and industry are increasingly embracing renewable energy. [The Japan Times]

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists constantly research materials that might catalyze a revolution in renewable energy harvesting and storage. One candidate appears to be metal-organic frameworks, very small, flexible, ultra-thin, super-porous crystalline structures. Now, researchers have discovered some important secrets about their conductivity. [ScienceBlog.com]

Metal-organic framework

World:

¶ Few people ever venture into data centers, places with massive series of servers kept in buildings like giant warehouses. But in Stockholm, anyone who goes inside one of these information labyrinths will discover that they’re not just housing data. All the heat they give off is helping to warm homes in the city of over 900,000 people. [BBC]

¶ Oman has been encouraging development of new energy sources, especially solar and wind power. A wind resource assessment campaign will be conducted by Oman Power and Water Procurement Company. For conducting the campaign, OPWP has floated a tender seeking proposals from bidders to carry out the campaign. [OPWP]

Wind turbines (Bloomberg file photo)

¶ Queensland’s Energy Minister declared the state’s electricity network to be “summer-ready,” after the release of an Energy Security Taskforce plan. But serious test of Queensland’s energy security could come as soon as next month. A mothballed gas-fired power plant coming back online to avert a shortfall will not be ready until January. [Courier Mail]

¶ A futuristic car that not only uses the sun as power but supplies energy back to the grid has been hailed as “the future” as the annual World Solar Challenge wrapped up in Australia. The Dutch entrant, Nuna 9, won the race for the third-straight time, crossing the finish line after travelling at an average speed of 81.2 kmh (55.5 mph). [The Guardian]

The Nuna 9 solar car (Photo: David Mariuz | AAP)

US:

¶ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s move to roll back the Clean Power Plan will have little impact in Oregon. The economics of power generation left coal behind some time ago. Consumer demand for cleaner sources of power, and government insistence on them, are pushing utilities to investment more in renewable power sources. [Bend Bulletin]

¶ “Zombie oil” that ought to stay in the ground is kept alive thanks to federal and state governments feeding it billions of dollars, a study shows. The subsidies are not cash handouts. They’re a mix of tax breaks, tax credits, and regulations that forego government revenue, transfer liability, or provide services at below-market rates. [Motherboard en_us]

Oil pump (Image: Bureau of Land Management | Flickr)

¶ US Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican from Willsboro, New York, does not support the Clean Power Plan. According to her spokesman, she thinks Congress should do something to rein in pollution from coal-fired plants, both because she believes it exacerbates global climate change and because it harms the Adirondacks. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

¶ Puget Sound Energy wants the Trump administration to keep regulating greenhouse-gas emissions even after the repeal of the federal Clean Power Plan. But according to a white paper from a coalition of PSE and a dozen other utilities, any new effort should be more narrowly focused and offer states more time to come into compliance. [Seattle Times]

Colstrip power plant (Alan Berner | The Seattle Times)

¶ A Springfield City Utilities official says the Missouri company will continue to focus on alternative energy despite the Trump administration’s plans to repeal a federal law designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. Repealing the Clean Power Plan would only affect the utility if it significantly reduces the cost of coal. [KTTS]

¶ Summit County’s elected officials agreed last week to help the community completely transition to renewable electric energy by the year 2032 as part of the county’s ongoing effort to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. The Summit County Council joined only three other confirmed counties in the country that have made similar declarations. [Sky Hi News]

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October 14 Energy News

October 14, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder recruited 20 sedentary volunteers to ride electric bicycles to work at least three times a week for a month. The riders were free to choose the level of assist they preferred, but each trip had to take at least 40 minutes. After one month all of the riders showed measurable health benefits. [CleanTechnica]

Researchers demonstrating pedal electric bicycle in Boulder
(Photo: Sydney Chinowsky | University of Colorado Boulder)

World:

¶ In March of this year, Paris suffered through a period of intense smog, during which the air over the city was dirtier than the air over Beijing. The city has since made a series of moves to reduce pollution from vehicles. Now it is considering a plan that seeks to remove all gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles from its streets by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The state-owned Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica intends to invest in the wind and solar power business in order to diversify its offering. It got a grant to conduct a feasibility study for a 30-MW offshore wind farm from the US Trade and Development Agency, and it is working on developing other projects, including rooftop PV. [pv magazine International]

Jamaica (Photo: Flickr | Darryl Braaten)

¶ A new Power Purchase Agreement reached between NL Hydro and a private company will help reduce the reliance on diesel generation for residents of Mary’s Harbour, Labrador. The president of St Mary’s River Energy Limited says they are reactivating a small hydro plant on the St Mary’s River that had operated from 1987 to 2007. [VOCM]

¶ Mongolia’s second wind site was completed in early October, taking its installed wind capacity to 100 MW. The 50-MW Tsetsii project, located near Tsogttsetsii, in southern Mongolia, is powered by 25 Vestas V110 2-MW turbines. At present, Mongolia has a power capacity of 1,130 MW, of which 88% is coal-fired and 8% renewable. [Windpower Monthly]

First Vestas turbine installed at the Tsetsii project

¶ Mongolia plans to expand its windpower capacity to 8 GW. The country aims to focus its wind power development on export potential in anticipation of the so-called Asian super-grid, which is planned to connect China, India, Russia, South Korea and Japan in a massive cross-border transmission network. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Olleco, the renewable division of ABP Food Group, has opened a 15-MW anaerobic digestion facility in Aylesbury, England. The ABP Food Group said that the new plant, a £22 million ($29.2 million) investment, would generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 12,000 households. The facility is situated next to an Arla dairy. [CNBC]

Lunching on simple salad (Andia | UIG | Getty Images)

¶ A scandal over product inspections data faked by Japanese materials and machinery giant Kobe Steel expanded to include products shipped to more than 500 customers. Kobe Steel has not identified the customers affected, but the company is a major supplier to many manufacturers, including nuclear power plants. [Japan Today]

¶ Dozens of government ministers and senior officials in the Maldives to coordinate efforts on renewable energy development and other ways to stave off the impacts of a changing climate. Small island states and nations with developing economies pledged to take a stronger initiative in the fight against climate change, low-carbon leaders said. [UPI.com]

Maldives beach (Photo: Élite Diving Agency | Wikimedia)

US:

¶ California has put its utilities on notice: When you’re putting together your next integrated resource plans, you’d better have non-gas generating options for meeting peak demand. That’s what Governor Jerry Brown mandated to utilities when he signed SB 338 into law yesterday, requiring that peak loads be met by alternatives to fossil fuels. [solarpaces.org]

¶ Congress has approved a loan of nearly $5 billion loan that will further burden the already bankrupt US territory of Puerto Rico. But various solar companies and nonprofits are continuing to work together to offer aid to the storm-ravaged island while also promoting a more sustainable future and resilient energy system. [Common Dreams]

Renewable energy technology (Photo: SolarCity)

¶ In Puerto Rico, Barrio Obrero fire station installed a 4-kW solar system that will provide it with full power. The station has been without reliable power since Hurricane Maria struck. While the federal government has focused on supplying diesel power, Tesla, Sonnen, New Star Solar, and others are building reliable microgrids. [CNBC]

¶ Officials of Wester Energy, the largest electric utility in Kansas, say new guidelines set by the EPA will not result in a major shift in fuel strategy. EPA chief Scott Pruitt announced ending the Clean Power Plan, but this does not affect Westar because it has a commitment to renewable energy sources, according to a company spokeswoman. [KMBZ]

Wind farm

¶ Wind energy is expected to overtake coal in Texas news that two large coal-fired power plants are set to close in the next year. The utility firm Luminant announced that it would close the Sandow Power Plant and the Big Brown Power Plant in early 2018. The plants have a capacity of 2,300 MW, enough to power 2.1 million Texas homes. [Washington Examiner]

¶ Sunnova is the largest residential solar provider in Puerto Rico. It installs it its own equipment on rooftops and sells the electricity to the customers, who only pay for the power. Until recently, the Puerto Rico’s public utility made it difficult for customers to generate their power without also relying on the electric grid. [Houston Chronicle]

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October 13 Energy News

October 13, 2017

 

Opinion:

¶ “Pioneering Community Solar in the Granite State” • Legal and regulatory roadblocks forced solar advocates in Keene, New Hampshire, to develop a comprehensive framework for adding a 43-kW rooftop array to Monadnock Food Co-op, whose focus on sustainability and downtown location made it a natural partner. [ilsr.org]

Solar power in winter (Photo: 1010uk via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

¶ “California Fires Are an Urgent Reminder to Get the Country Off Fossil Fuels Now” • Is this the new normal? Summers and autumns filled with extreme hurricanes in the East and fires in the West. Billions of dollars of damage, thousands of lives uprooted – many lost completely. And global temperatures continuing to increase. [Food and Water Watch]

Science and Technology:

¶ For the second year in a row, scientists have discovered a massive hole in Antarctica’s sea ice, and they’re not sure what’s causing it. Scientists discovered the South Carolina-sized hole about a month ago, according to National Geographic. The phenomenon is known as a polynya, an area of open water where sea ice should be. [The Weather Channel]

Antarctica

World:

¶ The Carbon Disclosure Project published new research, which reveals that 1,389 companies disclosing their plans or current practices to CDP are putting a price on carbon emissions. This is “because they understand that carbon risk management is a business imperative.” This is a phenomenal increase from 150 companies in 2014. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK’s Government has left the door open for a boom in offshore wind power in the next decade to power low-carbon economic growth. If costs continue to fall, it would consider opportunities for additional projects beyond the 10-GW cap. It will also allow proposals for wind projects on Scottish islands to bid in the next auction. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Offshore wind power (Credit: AFP | Getty Images)

¶ Samsung Renewable Energy and its partner Pattern Energy Group have turned on the switch at their joint venture, 100-MW Belle River Wind power facility. It is expected to generate enough electricity to power as many as 35,000 Ontario homes annually. Pattern Energy Group now has 1.3 GW of operating projects, with more on the way. [Windsor Square]

¶ Queensland’s tender for 400 MW of large-scale renewables and 100 MW of energy storage has received 115 proposals from 79 different entities with a wide range of technologies. Proposals included 2.2 GW of wind, 6.4 GW of solar, around 500 MW of other renewable energy technologies, and 6 GW of energy storage proposals. [Energy Storage News]

Queensland (Photo: flickr | Timothy Swinson)

¶ Indonesia will not approve any new coal-fired power stations on the heavily populated island of Java as the country strives to reach its renewable energy development targets, the energy minister said. Java is home to about two thirds of Indonesia’s population of 250 million, but the island is also well supplied with electricity. [Reuters]

¶ Welsh developer Marine Power Systems has completed fabrication of a quarter-scale prototype of its WaveSub device at Pembroke Dock. The wave generator made by local outfit Ledwood Mechanical Engineering will be shipped in the coming weeks for testing at the FabTest nursery test site off Falmouth in Cornwall. [reNews]

WaveSub (Marine Power Systems image)

¶ The Netherlands, a country that recently commissioned three state-of-the-art coal plants and has been reluctant to close them, has moved to phase out coal power by 2030. At the same time, the UK and Canada have jointly urged other nations to drop coal from their power profiles. Many countries are reducing coal consumption. [POWER magazine]

¶ The Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council put forward their proposal for a Zero Emission Zone in the Oxford city center in an attempt to yield “historic reductions in air pollution.” The Zero Emission Zone, which would ban emitting vehicles from city centers, would be introduced at the beginning of 2020. [CleanTechnica]

Cornmarket St, Oxford (Photo: Grue, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Eight environmental have broken into a French nuclear power station and set off fireworks to urge better protection for nuclear waste and protest France’s dependence on atomic energy. The activists were detained, and Utilite EDF insisted that the stunt by Greenpeace had no impact on safety at the plant in Cattenom in eastern France. [PennEnergy]

US:

¶ Southern California Gas Co and the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory installed a bioreactor to test power-to-gas technology as a way to store excess renewable power. In the facility, renewable energy produces hydrogen, and archaea microorganisms in the bioreactor consume hydrogen and carbon dioxide to produce methane. [Renewables Now]

Bioreactor installation (Source: Twitter, @SoCalGasNews)

¶ Facing questions on Capitol Hill over his proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the notion of a free market in energy generation is a “fallacy.” One lawmaker accused Perry of “killing off competitive electricity markets just to save generation assets that are no longer economical.” [Yahoo Finance UK]

¶ In light of the Trump administration’s plans to rescind the Clean Power Plan, former New York Mayor Michael R Bloomberg has announced a new commitment of $64 million to support the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign and other organizations working to advance the US clean energy market at the state and local level. [North American Windpower]

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October 12 Energy News

October 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Nuclear Cannot Keep Up With Wind, & Solar Is Coming Next” Even countries with long-standing nuclear aims are adding wind power much faster, as Brazil, China, and India show. Those interested in the fastest way to mitigate climate change can forget nuclear. Even China has experienced delays in reactor construction. [CleanTechnica]

Solar Panels (Image via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

¶ “Unlikely allies fight Trump backing of coal, nuclear energy” • Dow Chemical, Koch Industries and US Steel Corp are standing with environmentalists in opposing an Energy Department plan to reward nuclear and coal-fired power plants for their constant power generation and are pressuring the administration to shift course. [Daily Journal]

Science and Technology:

¶ MIT researchers have developed an “air-breathing” battery that could store electricity for very long periods for about one-fifth the cost of current technologies, with minimal location restraints and zero emissions. Systems that could store electricity for multiple days to entire seasons would cost about $20 to $30 per kWh of storage capacity. [Gears Of Biz]

Energy Storage

¶ Scientists have developed a ceramic pump that can operate at 1,400° C, several hundred degrees hotter than existing heat transfer systems, opening up new possibilities for energy storage. Higher temperatures mean that more thermal energy can be converted to mechanical or electrical energy, improving overall efficiency. [MIT Technology Review]

World:

¶ Battery storage system installations in Australia look set to treble in 2017, driven by a growing uptake of home battery systems. New data shows more than 7000 were installed in the first six month of the year, surpassing the 6500 sales recorded for all of 2016, and the installations  may total over 20,000 by the year’s end. [One Step Off The Grid]

Sonnenbatterie sonnen eco

¶  Australian developer Windlab secured a landmark power purchase agreement for the country’s first grid-connected large scale hybrid project combining wind, solar, and battery storage. Kennedy Energy Park’s first phase includes comprises 43.5 MW of wind capacity, 15 MW of solar PV capacity and a 2-MW lithium-ion battery. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Guyana, as part of its strategy to transition towards a 100% renewable energy supply by 2025, has hired a company to design, supply and install a 400-kW solar system for the remote community of Mabaruma in the North West District. The new system, to be installed by meeco, will cut diesel fuel use by 21,000 liters per month. [Demerara Waves]

Mabaruma, Guyana (meeco image)

¶ The Netherlands’ new government coalition, to be finalized this week following elections in March, will set ambitious energy and climate targets, according to the Dutch energy consumer lobby VEMW. The lobby said Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s new coalition will set a new target to cut CO2 emissions by 49% from 1990 levels by 2030. [Platts]

¶ China aims to boost its large-scale energy storage capacity over the next decade, the government’s central planner said, in a major push to deal with stranded renewable power in the west of the country. China generated 5.9 trillion kWh of power in 2016, of which 25.6% came from hydro, wind, nuclear and solar power stations. [Nasdaq]

Floating solar array in China (Reuters image)

¶ Origin Energy is using artificial intelligence to help control customer energy usage in new demand-management trials. This comes as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Australian Energy Market Operator started a $35.7 million trial in three states, rewarding households for cutting power usage on hot summer days. [Brisbane Times]

¶ The creation of a publicly-owned energy firm in Scotland to provide lower cost power should boost the country’s renewables sector as well as reducing household bills, according to experts. Ofgem, the industry regulator, was among the first to back the announcement made by Nicola Sturgeon in her speech to the SNP conference. [The National]

Wind turbines at sunrise

¶ The US Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant to Tayabas Geothermal Power Inc supporting development of a 60-MW to 100-MW geothermal power project in southeast Luzon. The project will help the Philippines meet its growing energy demand and diversify its energy mix, while creating market access for US industry. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

US:

¶ Environmentalists decried the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Clean Power Plan, and threatened lawsuits. But San Antonio’s city-owned utility company CPS Energy said the EPA’s decision will not have any affect on its plans to decommission the coal-fired Deely Power Plant by the end of 2018. [San Antonio Business Journal]

Deely Power Plant (CPS Energy image)

¶ At the end of September, DOE Secretary Rick Perry formally proposed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the coal and nuclear industries propped up and subsidized. The move has received opposition from nearly every group and institution with a stake in the matter, except for the few who will benefit financially. [CleanTechnica]

¶ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to “withdraw” the Obama-era Clean Power Plan is intended as a sign to coal miners that “the war on coal is over.” Nevertheless, experts are confident the repeal will not bring coal back, and a number of states are continuing to move forward with their own climate change initiatives. [CleanTechnica]

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October 11 Energy News

October 11, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Let sun & wind power Puerto Rico’s future” • In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans are stuck in an intensifying humanitarian crisis. The island could emerge from this disaster as a global leader in the transition toward clean energy. But it is loaded with an unjust debt burden and an unsustainable energy system. [New York Daily News]

Puerto Rico (Photo: Carlos Giusti | AP)

¶ “Pruitt Picks Winners & Losers – Clean Power Plan Rescinded” You know how all the people who feed at the trough full of Koch Brothers money always carry on about how government should not pick winners and losers? It is eyewash to bamboozle the weak-minded. In reality, they insist government pick winners (them) and losers (everyone else). [CleanTechnica]

¶ “What’s the Real Story on the Future of Coal?” • Analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists tracks the changes in the nation’s fleet of 1,256 coal-fired electric generating units from 2008 to 2016, and concludes that 38% of the nation’s coal generating capacity is less economic to run than alternatives. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

Coal

World:

¶ When EY published its latest Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) report, it revealed that China has held on to its position as the world’s most attractive renewable energy market. China and India both overtook the United States in May’s RECAI report, dropping the US out of top spot for the first time since 2015. [CleanTechnica]

¶ German wind turbine manufacturer Senvion secured its first partnership in Argentina with EREN Renewable Energy for the supply and delivery of 27 of its 3.6M114 NES turbines. Senvion will undertake engineering, procurement, and construction. The 97.2-MW Los Hercules wind farm is expected to be completed in December, 2018. [Power Engineering International]

Wind turbines

¶ Australian households and businesses added another 97 MW of rooftop solar in 2017, setting a record for the first nine months of the year at 780 MW. This puts rooftop solar on track to break through the 1,000 MW mark for the first time in 2017. The increase in installations is clearly tied to rapidly increasing consumer electric bills. [RenewEconomy]

¶ One of the largest issues facing humans is our wastefulness. We waste food, resources, space and everything in between. To combat this, Google and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, are working together in a partnership focusing on building a circular economy for cities to follow. A circular economy encourages reduction of waste. [PSFK]

Solar PV panels in Berkeley, California

¶ The chair of Australia’s newly formed Energy Security Board, Dr Kerry Schott, stressed the importance of demand response in meeting the nation’s energy security and affordability needs, telling ABC Radio that if we could harness the technology effectively, we could “all stop worrying about building new plants of any description.” [RenewEconomy]

¶ Work has started on development and construction of a €38 million, 19.2-MW wind farm in County Wicklow, south of Dublin, after full planning permission was granted. Local people will run a co-operative that was established for the sole purpose of developing the wind farm to supply renewable energy to the electricity grid. [Independent.ie]

Wind farm (Independent.ie)

¶ International experts warned about security shortcomings at French and Belgian nuclear plants that make them vulnerable to attack, in a report commissioned by the Greenpeace group. The seven experts are from France, Germany, Britain and the US, and are specialists in nuclear safety, proliferation, economics and radiation. [The News International]

US:

¶ Michigan, which experiences harsh, cold winters, is now home to a 200,000 panel solar array on a 250-acre site. The Lapeer solar park is operational and generating enough renewable energy to power 11,000 homes. It is one of the largest utility-owned solar parks east of the Mississippi River, Detroit based DTE Energy said in a statement. [CNBC]

Lapeer solar farm (DTE image)

¶ The EPA has identified its priorities, and climate change is not one of them. In fact, the term “climate change” does not appear in the agency’s draft four-year strategic plan, a document of 38 pages quietly released for public comment last week. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has questioned the authority of his agency to regulate climate change. [CNN]

¶ Colorado Springs Utilities’ plan to decommission Martin Drake Power Plant will not change despite US EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s announcement that he will override the Clean Power Plan. The utility also is moving forward with contract negotiations for 100 MW more electricity from solar power as part of its “Energy Vision” plan. [KKTV 11 News]

Martin Drake Power Plant

¶ Apex Clean Energy and the GreenBiz Group surveyed 153 major corporations. Among them, 84% are “actively pursuing or considering purchasing renewable energy over the next 5-10 years.” Surprisingly, they found that 43% of the corporations intend to be more aggressive in their pursuit of renewable energy in the next two years. [The Guardian]

¶ A public-private partnership is pushing ahead with plans to build the nation’s largest wind farm, the second largest in the world, in western Oklahoma. The 2,000-MW Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project is a collaborative venture by Invenergy, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company. [KUAR]

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October 10 Energy News

October 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “How The Big Clean Switch is taking the power back” • Changing to renewable energy used to seem like an expensive luxury. But there’s money to be saved now. And it’s easy being green with this Big Issue-backed campaign, whose director said, “The most common reaction we always hear is: ‘I can’t believe how easy it was.'” [Big Issue]

Renewable energy

¶ “Economics, Not Regulations, Are Waging a War on Coal” • Speaking in Hazard, Kentucky, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, “It was wrong for the last administration to declare a war on coal, and it’s right for this administration to say the war is over.” But even a drastic policy shift will likely not “put our miners back to work.” [Greentech Media]

Science and Technology:

¶ There is considerable opportunity for generating wind power in the open ocean, according to research from the Carnegie Institution for Science published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In wintertime, North Atlantic wind farms could provide sufficient energy to meet all of civilization’s current needs. [Science Daily]

Offshore wind farm (Credit: © StockphotoVideo | Fotolia)

World:

¶ A leading energy analyst if governments were serious about lowering electricity prices for consumers, they would focus more on supporting rooftop solar and battery storage than subsidizing ageing coal-fired power generators. He says the combination of solar and batteries is already cheaper than grid prices in South Australia and could be elsewhere. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In South Australia, a record was set with 47.8% of the state’s electricity demand being met by rooftop solar systems. This was a result of low grid demand, during a weekend with moderate early spring temperatures, with few air conditioners switched on, combined with excellent rooftop solar output, producing a stunning 538.54 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Power graph (Image: Melbourne’s Climate and Energy College)

¶ Audrey Zibelman, the head of the Australian Energy Market Operator, has made a call for some sort of policy certainty, and new market mechanisms, repeating her view that the shift to renewable energy is unstoppable, but needs to be managed. She cited the 21,000 MW of wind and solar plants queuing for a place on grid. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Caribbean Development Bank announced that it has partnered with the government of Suriname to finance a project aimed at expanding the country’s grid capabilities and building three PV power plants. Local press also reports that the US solar company Solarreserve is planning to build a 100-MW solar plant in the country. [pv magazine International]

Suriname (Flickr | Rob Oo)

¶ The Fukushima District Court held the Japanese government and TEPCO responsible for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and ordered them to pay compensation ¥500 million ($4.4 million) to about 2,900 evacuees. Some 3,800 plaintiffs, most of whom were residents of Fukushima Prefecture, had sought a total of about ¥16 billion. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ A Joint venture between Enel subsidiary Enel Green Power and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund has begun construction of the 137.7-MW Bungala Solar One plant, near Port Augusta in South Australia. This is the first part of the Bungala Solar PV Project, whose capacity will total more than 275.4 MW when it is completed. [PV-Tech]

Construction at the Bungala Solar PV Project (Credit: Enel)

US:

¶ EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his agency’s plans to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, the sweeping Obama-era rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions. While speaking in Kentucky at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Pruitt said he will sign the proposed rule repealing Obama’s plan on October 10. [CNN]

¶ The City of Cincinnati is updating its Green Cincinnati Plan, which was first adopted in 2008 and then revised and readopted in 2013. City officials met with residents at the Cincinnati Zoo, which is claimed to be the greenest zoo in America, to present and take new recommendations to help improve Cincinnati’s sustainability. [Soapbox Cincinnati]

Solar panels over a parking lot at the Cincinnati Zoo

¶ Enel Green Power North America announced that it has signed a $330 million tax equity agreement with the Alternative Energy Investing Group of Goldman Sachs and GE Energy Financial Services to spur development of Oklahoma’s 298-MW Thunder Ranch wind project. Half of Thunder Ranch’s output has been sold to Anheuser-Busch. [CleanTechnica]

¶ EPA head Scott Pruitt’s plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan is unlikely to stop Iowa’s nation-leading adoption of wind energy, say environmental advocates, electric associations, and a number of government leaders. Iowa’s attorney general said he and other states’ attorneys general plan to challenge Pruitt’s efforts in court. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

Iowa wind turbines (Photo: Zach Boyden-Holmes | The Register)

¶ Republic Services and renewable energy company Soltage recently celebrated the activation of a 13.5-MW solar energy project in Randolph and two other towns, constructed on three former landfill sites, or brownfields, in Massachusetts. The project is expected to produce enough electricity to power 1,900 local households. [Wicked Local Randolph]

¶ If there were any remaining doubts, the age of coal is over and the era of natural gas and renewables is officially here. The decision by Luminant to shut its Monticello Power Plant, one of Texas’ largest and dirtiest coal-fired electricity plants, is a prime example of this shift. The plant is scheduled to be closed in January. [Dallas News]

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October 9 Energy News

October 9, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Solar Power and Water for Puerto Rico” • Here is a chance to help people stand up to a president who makes light of disaster by throwing out paper towels, a moment right up there with “Let them eat cake.” We are all in this together, and together, we can make things better. Please help Joseph, Rosemary, and their family. [Green Energy Times]

Puerto Rico National Guard delivering supplies (Sgt Jose Diaz-Ramos, Puerto Rico National Guard, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “New Orleans is the canary in the coal mine for coastal cities” • There were at least three “1,000-year” storm events in 2016. Now New Orleans is coping with Hurricane Nate. It and other flooding cities are signposts for countless communities that face the specter of their own natural hazards made unfathomable by climate change. [CNN]

¶ “Energy industry will be unrecognisable within a decade” • Whether we like it or not, Australia is transitioning to a low-carbon environment. Such is the scale and pace of change, our existing power model could be unrecognisable within a decade. Change and disruption will open the door to a new breed of energy utility. [The Australian Financial Review]

Accelerating transition (AP)

¶ “Rising Costs Slow The Growth Of Nuclear Power” • The troubled history of Britain’s Hinckley Point C nuclear power station illustrates the blind alley in which nuclear power finds itself. Eight years behind schedule, it should have come on stream by the end of this year, but is not now likely before 2025, and costs keep climbing. [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ Hurricane Nate, which pummeled the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama at Category 1 status early Sunday, has made the 2017 hurricane season one of the worst on record since 1893 and possibly earlier, just in terms of numbers of hurricanes. And US territories have never before been hit by three category 4 storms in one season. [Gizmodo]

Hurricane damage (AP photo)

World:

¶ Brazil’s wind power output increased by 39.7% year-on-year to an average of 6,915 MW September, according to figures released by the Power Trading Chamber. Wind power share also went up to 11.1% from 8% in the country’s electricity generation mix. Biomass and solar power also were increased over the period, though hydropower output fell. [Renewables Now]

¶ As costs of renewable energy fall, the Turnbull government is rethinking the need to adopt a clean energy target. In the keynote address to The Australian Financial Review National Energy Summit, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will stress that emissions reduction cannot come at the expense of reliability and affordability. [The Australian Financial Review]

Falling costs of renewable energy (Photo: Eddie Seal)

¶ Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is pledging to create Renewable Energy Zones to drive cost-effective renewable projects. In a speech to be delivered to the Australian Financial Review’s National Energy Summit, he will also reiterate Labor’s willingness to negotiate with the Turnbull government a “fair dinkum” clean energy target. [Brisbane Times]

¶ Some 1.2 billion people around the world have no access to electric power. In Rwanda, for example, less than 20% of the population live in homes that enjoy electricity, a fact that stymies development and reinforces poverty. It is a huge problem, but to some people, it is a statistic that rings not of hopelessness, but of opportunity. [BBC News]

Installing a large system in Rwanda (Credit: BBOXX)

¶ Britain’s first industrial-scale battery plant will come online in Sheffield this week to help the grid cope with the rapidly growing amount of renewable power. E.ON said the facility, which is next to an existing power plant, marked a milestone in its efforts to develop storage for power from wind farms, nuclear reactors and gas power stations. [The Guardian]

¶ Microsoft signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with GE for all the electricity generated by the 37-MW Tullahennel wind farm in county Kerry, Ireland. The electricity will support Microsoft’s growing cloud services in Ireland, the company said. The PPA builds on Microsoft’s strategic partnership with GE, which was announced last year. [reNews]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ Finland will have to add another five months to the decade-long wait to start production at a nuclear reactor once billed as the world’s biggest. Plagued by cost overruns and legal tangles, the delay is the latest setback for the 1,600-MW reactor meant to provide cheap power. Finland is seeking to reduce reliance on imported power. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ The Kankakee Valley REMC, a membership cooperative that delivers electricity to more than 18,000 customers in rural areas of seven Indiana counties, began offering a new Co-Op Solar Program this month. It allows members to buy up to half of the electricity they use from solar energy sources without having to install solar panels. [nwitimes.com]

Kankakee Valley REMC solar array (Photo provided)

¶ Like many other frivolous things in Puerto Rico these days, the shiny motorcycles at the Planet Honda showroom have been pushed to the side. In their place are dozens of folding chairs, and on Thursday morning, they were all filled with people waiting to buy portable generators, to light their powerless homes. [Standard Republic]

¶ Dominion Energy will develop a series of PV projects to help serve a new data center that Facebook plans to develop outside Richmond, Virginia. This will be Facebook’s eighth data center in the US, and it comes with an innovative new renewable rate option that could also benefit other large companies looking to use renewable power. [PV-Tech]

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October 8 Energy News

October 8, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Attempts To Silence Climate Scientists Have Been Desperate But Effective” • Scientists overwhelmingly agree that humans are altering the climate in ways that have potentially catastrophic consequences. Climate deniers can’t dispute the data. They can’t win on facts. Instead, they employ tactics that have proven both ugly and effective. [CleanTechnica]

Port Arthur, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey (Photo: US Air
National Guard Staff Sgt Daniel J Martinez, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Electric Vehicles Will Drive A $5 Trillion Transition” • The excitement is palpable. Auto shows are rolling out new EV models; China says it’s planning on banning internal combustion engines; and Daimler is jockeying with Tesla in the budding electric truck segment. And anticipating growth, lithium prices have reached an all-time high. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “How green is Britain’s record on renewable energy supply?” • As one of the UK’s renewable energy chiefs has pointed out, electric cars will not tackle climate change if they run off fossil fuels. Put simply, the greener the electricity mix, the greener your electric car. About half of power generated in the UK comes from low-carbon sources. [The Guardian]

Dunlaw wind farm (Photo: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian)

¶ “Who wins when power companies make political contributions? The lawmakers who police utilities.” • Donations going to members of the Public Utilities Review Committee show how South Carolina’s regulatory system is broken, critics say, noting the $1.7 billion that a utility was allowed to charge its customers for a failed nuclear project. [The State]

World:

¶ The anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi saw about 40 Catholic institutions announcing their faith-centric divestment from the fossil fuel industry and its ancillaries. The value of the divestment was not disclosed, but thought to be in the tune of $5.5 trillion. This sum is four times more than any previous church records. [World Religion News]

Cooling towers (Photo: Gerry Machen, CC BY 2.0)

¶ Australia’s two biggest clean energy financiers are putting money into a new venture by Melbourne-based start-up, Relectrify. It proposes to re-use electric vehicle batteries for household storage, saying it has developed “advanced battery control technology” that reduces the cost of repurposing EV batteries while boosting performance. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Albany, Western Australia, will be the site of a new green energy project that will seek to harness the power of waves to light people’s homes. Carnegie Clean Energy, a Perth company, was announced to be the winner of a $15.75 million State Government grant to build a pilot plant using wave power technology in Albany. [The West Australian]

Albany windfarm (Michaeldolphin, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Puerto Rico’s Gov Ricardo Rosselló and Tesla chief Elon Musk had a 25-minute phone conversation in which the two discussed relief efforts as well as Tesla playing a leading role, Rosselló said in an interview with USA TODAY. Teams from Tesla and Puerto Rico’s energy sector will continue the talks early next week, Rosselló said. [USA TODAY]

¶ The Trump administration is moving to ease restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plants, repealing the Clean Power Plan without offering a replacement. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 43-page document, which underscored President Trump’s bid to revive the struggling coal industry. [CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News]

Coal-fired Plant Scherer (AP Photo | Branden Camp, File)

¶ Elizabeth Mine, whose excavations left a moonscape of waste rock and tailings that leached orange effluent into nearby streams, is a “brownfield” that has been transformed into a “greenfield” that will generate 5 MW of electricity. It will power annual needs of about 1,200 Vermont homes for decades to come, its promoters say. [Valley News]

¶ Scientists and utilities are reconsidering the grid in the age of renewables. A sudden windstorm near a nuclear plant could blow out a substation because the plant takes time to ramp down. Idaho Falls Power has collaborated with nearby Idaho National Laboratory to find ways to improve the electrical grid for several years. [Twin Falls Times-News]

Fly fishing at Idaho Falls (Photo: John Roark | Post Register)

¶ Sen Chuck Grassley of Iowa says he recently got a surprise phone call from President Trump reiterating his support for corn-based ethanol. But now, the EPA, citing the concerns of big oil, signaled it is considering lowering the amount of ethanol and other renewable fuels required in transportation fuels and heating oil. [Beckley Register-Herald]

¶ Approximately 50 of the Interior Department’s most experienced managers have been reassigned to jobs outside their areas of expertise. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke may have shed some light on why this happened when he told a petroleum industry group that he believes nearly a third of his workforce is disloyal to the Trump agenda. [La Crosse Tribune]

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October 7 Energy News

October 7, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A major climate based on a 26-year record of observations tracking the emissions of carbon from artificially heated plots of the Harvard Forest in Massachusetts, reinforces fears about the possibility of a climate change “feedback” involving the planet’s soils. The study’s findings were published in the journal Science. [New Zealand Herald]

Forest (Photo: AP)

¶ The cost of stationary energy storage could fall by up to 66% by 2030, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. The report, “Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030,” also said that the falling price of batteries could stimulate 17-fold growth of installed battery storage over the period. [reNews]

World:

¶ The Gullen Range solar farm – the first in Australia to be co-located with a wind farm – has begun generation into the grid. The 10-MW solar farm is adjacent to the 165-MW Gullen Range wind farm to share infrastructure such as roads, power lines, and telecommunications. The solar and wind farms complement each other’s output, as well. [CleanTechnica]

.

¶ German battery storage maker sonnen is offering Australian households “free energy” for two years if they have rooftop solar and use an approved installer for one of their battery storage devices. Previously, under the so-called “sonnenFlat” deal launched in July, households would pay nothing for energy but face a monthly fee of $30-$50. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Here’s a fun fact about Russia: it gets a fifth of its energy from hydropower. This might sound shocking for a country whose image is so tightly linked to oil and gas, but Russia has a lot of big rivers and it’s putting them to good use. Now, Moscow is moving into other renewables and, more interestingly, energy storage as well. [Nasdaq]

Oil pump (Shutterstock image)

¶ Elon Musk did not need 100 days after obtaining a connection agreement to switch on the Tesla big battery in South Australia. The battery was up and running, providing power for unveiling the first demonstration, less than 100 minutes after the ink dried on the connection deal. Installation is still continuing, but Elon Musk made his point. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The European Investment Bank today entered into a partnership agreement with International Solar Alliance for €800 million of financial aid to support India’s clean energy project. The partnership between the two bodies will mobilize finance to develop affordable solar energy in countries that get ample sunlight. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Large solar array

¶ Shell country chief executive for the Netherlands, Marjan van Loon, says Shell has joined other companies calling on the Dutch government to increase its commitment to offshore wind energy. The country is currently struggling to meet its renewable energy goals, and the current plan is for 5 tenders of 700-MW farms. [Power Engineering International]

¶ In Australia, the Clean Energy Council Chief Executive said 41 renewable energy projects have now been committed in 2017, creating an unprecedented wave of investment worth over $8 billion. It is creating approximately 4680 new direct jobs and massive economic benefits for local businesses across the country. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Albany Windfarm, Australia

US:

¶ The upside of Twitter showed in an exchange between Gov Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Gov Rossello was seemingly sending a desperate plea for help to someone increasingly asked for it. He needed support rebuilding the collapsed grid in Puerto Rico. Ever so swiftly, Elon Musk responded positively. [CleanTechnica]

¶ One of America’s largest energy companies sees potential in abandoned mines in Virginia. In fact, Dominion Energy this week is looking at an abandoned coal mine, the Bullitt Mine, that is filled with water. And that’s where the promise may lie: the water. Dominion is considering the mine as part of a pumped storage facility. [Courthouse News Service]

Pumped storage facility in Virginia (Photo: Dominion Energy)

¶ Secretary of Energy Rick Perry addressed his agency’s recent proposed rule to provide cost recovery for baseload coal and nuclear generators, saying it is “not a directive” for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Washington Examiner reports. FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson said he would quit before voting for the rule. [Utility Dive]

¶ A California Energy Commission committee assigned to evaluate NRG Energy’s proposed 262-MW Puente natural gas plant recommended against approving the facility. Well ahead of its original timeline to complete its evaluation, they said the power plant was “inconsistent” with several laws, regulations and policies, the committee said. [Utility Dive]

Puente Power Project (Credit: California Energy Commission)

¶ The Trump administration plans to scrap former president Barack Obama’s signature plan for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from the nation’s power plants, arguing that the Obama administration overstepped its legal authority with the Clean Power Plan, according to a 43-page proposal obtained by The Washington Post. [Chicago Tribune]

¶ Georgia Power announced that it has received the first parent guarantee payment from Toshiba for the Vogtle nuclear expansion. The $300 million payment, of which $137 million is Georgia Power’s share, is the first of multiple scheduled payments to Georgia Power and the other project co-owners totaling $3.68 billion. [Southern Political Report]

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October 6 Energy News

October 6, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A trio of storms could mean grid modernization in hard-hit areas” • Harvey, Irma and Maria struck Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively, with varying degrees of severity. Puerto Rico was especially hard hit, with 80% of transmission lines down. But in each location, there are opportunities to consider new ways to move forward. [Utility Dive]

Hurricane damage (Getty Images)

¶ “Rick Perry’s new coal subsidy could wreck America’s power markets” • The US DOE has set a new record for gall in the old practice of taxing the common good for private interests. In a fairly stunning move, it would impose a new tax on electricity consumers to support coal. It could roil America’s power markets for years to come. [The Hill]

World:

¶ The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has released a report documenting the gathering momentum of the disruption of the electricity markets by renewables. It describes impacts of renewable resources on electricity prices as a key driver of this change, and provides eleven case studies revealing the trend. [RenewEconomy]

Transmission lines (Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

¶ A new incentive scheme for PV projects not exceeding 1 MW has been announced by Denmark’s Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate. The new scheme’s budget is 105 million Danish krone ($16.5 million) and it is capped at 35 MW for 2017. Selected projects will get a tariffs ranging from 0.66 to 0.77 krone per kWh (10¢ to 12¢/kWh). [pv magazine International]

¶ Calgary-based TransCanada, the company behind the Energy East oil pipeline plan, abruptly announced that they are shelving the multibillion-dollar project, citing regulatory hurdles. The 4,600-km pipeline, designed to ship 1.1 million barrels of oil daily, faced opposition from environmentalists and First Nations concerned about drinking water security. [VICE News]

Oil pipeline (Getty Images)

¶ A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance credits seven wind farms around the world, each costing $600 million to $4.5 billion, with helping global clean energy investment jump 40% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017. Its figures show that the world invested $66.9 billion in clean energy in the third quarter of this year. [North American Windpower]

¶ Wind turbines generated over twice as much power as Scotland needed on October 2. WWF Scotland analyzed wind power data and found that wind turbines in Scotland provided 86,467 MWh of electricity to the National Grid on that day. Scotland’s total electricity consumption, including homes, business and industry, for the day was 41,866 MWh. [The Scotsman]

Wind turbines (Photo: Ian Rutherford)

US:

¶ The California ISO identified eight trends shaping the power sector. Those trends include energy efficiency, decline of gas-fired generation, growth of wind and solar, and decarbonization. The grid operator called for a reduction in fossil-fuel use and a focus on regulatory policy to use clean energy resources to base operations. [Utility dive]

¶ The commercial deployment of self-driving car tech in the US now appears to be on the fast track, following the unanimous approval of a bill aimed at just that outcome by a US Senate panel. The bill, which would block states from imposing regulatory roadblocks against fully autonomous cars, can go on to the Senate for a vote. [CleanTechnica]

Google self-driving car

¶ The Trump administration will formally propose repealing former President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan for curbing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by arguing it went beyond the bounds of federal law, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. The EPA will ask for public comments on carbon emissions. [Bloomberg]

¶ While his competitors wait for diesel oil deliveries to restart generators after Hurricane Maria, flower grower Hector Santiago is already back in business because of solar panels powering his 40-acre nursery in central Puerto Rico. “Everybody told me I was crazy because it was so expensive. Now I have power and they don’t,” he said. [EMTV Online]

Solar powered greenhouse

¶ The vice chairman of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee criticized the DOE’s proposal to provide cost recovery for coal and nuclear plants. His comments came after his subcommittee heard testimony from consumer advocates and large power consumers warning that the proposal would “destroy” the power markets. [Utility Dive]

¶ The parent company of two Vermont skiing destinations, Killington Resort and Pico Mountain, announced an investment of $5.7 million that will upgrade everything from snowmaking equipment to summer attractions like mountain biking trails, to renewable energy that will power the ski destinations. Nine solar installations are planned. [Rutland Herald]

Killington (Image courtesy of USSA)

¶ The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a national non-profit that advances policies and programs for energy efficiency, has, for the fourth year in a row, ranked Vermont among the top five in the nation (this year number 4) for advancement and support of energy efficiency. Massachusetts was ranked in first place. [Vermont Biz]

¶ ENGIE North America and Holyoke Gas & Electric announced plans for the largest utility-scale energy storage installation in Massachusetts. Green Charge, an ENGIE NA subsidiary, will operate the 3-MW storage system at Mt Tom Solar, which began operation this year adjacent to the former Mt Tom Power Station. [Windpower Engineering]

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October 5 Energy News

October 5, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Coal Will Not Bring Appalachia Back to Life, But Tech and Government Jobs Could” • Whatever the White House says, coal jobs are in a terminal decline. And whatever cynics claim, it’s not some cabal of heartless environmentalists to blame. It’s the power industry itself, driven by advances in technology and simple market forces. [EcoWatch]

Closed coal mine in West Virginia (WVPB | Janet Kunicki)

¶ “Special Report – The bankrupt utility behind Puerto Rico’s power crisis” • Two weeks after the storm plunged the island into a blackout, fewer than 10% of Puerto Rico’s people have seen power restored – and many will wait months. Governor Rossello said, “The emergency plan was as follows: There is no way to fix the nature of the grid.” [swissinfo.ch]

¶ “It’s our choice: renewable energy superpower or Asian Pacific rust belt” • While its opponents portray decarbonizing as the death of Australia as an energy superpower, nothing can be further from the truth. As the world decarbonizes, Australia can not only continue to be an energy exporting superpower, it can enjoy a manufacturing boom. [The Guardian]

Great resources (Tim Phillips Photos | Getty Images)

World:

¶ China accounted for more than 40% of capacity growth in renewable energy in 2016, and this was in a record year for worldwide renewables, according to an International Energy Agency study. Last year, new solar capacity around the world grew by 50%, reaching more than 74 GW, with China accounting for almost half of that expansion. [China Daily]

¶ Property Fund, Emira has completed the installation of a 16 million Rand ($1.8 million) solar farm on the roof of its mall in Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg. The PV solar farm, with 10,900 panels, produces about 1.2 MWh of electricity. It is estimated that over 15 years, the use of this solar power will save Emira over 40 million Rand ($2.9 million). [BusinessTech]

Randridge Mall

¶ Statoil is to acquire a 40% share in the construction-ready 162-MW Apodi solar plant in Brazil from Scatec Solar, marking the energy giant’s first foray into the PV market. The two Norwegian companies also agreed to develop potential future solar projects jointly in Brazil. Statoil also said it will acquire a 50% share in the project execution company. [reNews]

¶ Solar energy was the fastest-growing source of electric power last year, a new International Energy Agency report said, amid the “birth of a new era” for the renewable energy sector. Last year was the first time solar energy growth had surpassed any other fuel as a source of power, the report said, surpassing the net growth in coal. [Deutsche Welle]

Solar power in China

¶ The Australian Capital Territory government put the finishing touches on its mammoth “solar highway” project as it unveiled its 36,000 solar panels at Williamsdale. The Climate Change Minister said the long-awaited Williamsdale Solar Farm, just south of Canberra, could generate enough electricity to power 3,000 homes. [The Canberra Times]

¶ Batteries provided by Samsung have been chosen for the second big battery storage project in South Australia. The 30-MW/8-MWh facility to be built on Yorke Peninsula will work with a local wind farm and rooftop solar to create a renewable energy micro-grid. It will cost A$30 million ($23.46 million), which will be partly subsidized. [RenewEconomy]

Wattle Point wind farm on Yorke Peninsula

¶ The wind tariff in India touched lowest level of ₹2.64/kWh (4¢/kWh) in the second wind auction conducted by the Solar Energy Corporation of India on behalf of the Indian Ministry of New & Renewable Energy. This tariff is much lower than the winning figure for the first wind auction, ₹3.46/kWh, in February of this year. [Business Standard]

US:

¶ Puerto Rico’s power grid has been down since Hurricane Maria devastated it on September 20. With reports that the island could continue without power for months, several tech companies are stepping in to provide relief, in the form of energy. Among those companies, three examples are Tesla, Sunnova, and Sonnen GmbH. [ARCHITECT Magazine]

Solar system in Puerto Rico (Cegli via Adobe Stock)

¶ The National Resources Defense Council’s fifth annual energy report, America’s Clean Energy Revolution, confirms that the country shattered dozens of clean energy records over the last year and a half. It proves that a massive shift is taking America away from traditional fossil fuels and nuclear towards renewable energy sources. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The first permanent tidal power test site in the US has been approved, following several environmental studies and careful review by multiple agencies. The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative has received final approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers to install the Bourne Tidal Test Site within the Cape Cod Canal. [Marine Technology News]

Cape Cod Canal (Image: MRECo)

¶ The US Solar Energy Industries Association published a new analysis this week proving that more than $78 million worth of solar projects are currently on hold in Massachusetts due to a failure to extend the state’s Net Metering Cap. The analysis was published in advance of legislative hearings taking place at the State Capitol. [CleanTechnica]

¶ American Wind Energy Association’s CEO Tom Kiernan appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee where he said that, thanks to technological advances, wind farms are now competitive with other energy technologies with regard to reliability and resiliency. AWEA endorsed market-based solutions. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

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October 4 Energy News

October 4, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Energy Department Is Making Up Reasons Why You Need To Pay More For Dirty Energy” • A new proposal from the Trump administration would require regional electric grids to keep coal and nuclear plants running, even if they are too expensive. They say it is because they’re needed to keep the power on during natural disasters. [Fast Company]

Is this piece of our past worth saving? (Photo: rozpedowski | iStock)

Science and Technology:

¶ Australia’s largest cities need to prepare for temperatures reaching 50° C (122° F) in “just a few decades,” researchers say. A new study led by the Australian National University warned that Sydney and Melbourne need to be prepared to deal with the crippling level of heat as climate change impels rising local temperatures. [The Sunshine Coast Daily]

World:

¶ On October 2, European windfarms set a production record. According to data from WindEurope, offshore windfarms generated 265 GWh, and onshore windfarm provided 1235 GWh. The combined 1499 GWh covered 18.2% of electricity demand. It was enough electricity to provide for 151 million homes or 51% of average industrial demand. [reNews]

Offshore wind power (reNews image)

¶ Vestas Wind Systems A/S announced a flurry of wind turbine orders to mark the end of the third quarter last week, with orders from the United States, India, Europe, and Latin America totaling 463 MW. The largest order was the 174-MW order for the MidAmerican Energy Wind XI project being developed in Iowa. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Australian Greens unveiled a new policy that aims for 20 GW of energy storage to be installed by 2030, providing incentives for storage at household and grid level, and try to move the energy debate beyond baseload vs renewables. They say their proposal is sufficient back-up for a 100% renewable energy grid. [RenewEconomy]

Tesla storage, South Australia

¶  The Scottish Energy Minister confirmed that the government will ban fracking in Scotland, adding that the government must make decisions in the best interests of Scotland as a whole. The decision follows extensive consultation and consideration of its potential impact. Scotland has had a moratorium on fracking since January 2015. [Aberdeen Evening Express]

¶ Horizon Power, the power utility in regional areas of Western Australia, has taken the golf club in the resort town of Exmouth off the grid as part of a drive to cut costs and focus on renewable energy solutions. Horizon is planning to roll out a series of stand-alone power systems across its grid to reduce the cost of grid upkeep. [One Step Off The Grid]

Solar panels in Exmouth

¶ The International Energy Agency has raised its forecasts for renewable energy over the next five years following a record 2016, mainly driven by a surge in solar PV capacity in China, India, and the US. In its medium-term renewables market report, the IEA expects global renewable electric capacity to rise by over 920 GW, or 43%, by 2022. [Business Day]

¶ India is set to overtake the European Union in expansion of new renewable energy generation capacity, according to the International Energy Agency in its latest report, Renewables 2017. India’s renewable capacity is expected to double by 2022, as PVs and wind together represent 90% of the country’s capacity growth. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Realigning a PV system in India  (Photo: Kiran Jonnalagadda, Wikimedia Commons) Please click on the image to see her smile.

¶ Saudi Arabia has received offers to supply solar electricity for the cheapest prices ever recorded. The energy ministry said Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and Électricité de France bid to supply power from a 300 MW PV plant for as little as 6.69736 halalas per kWh, or 1.79¢/kWh, according to a webcast. Some analysts are skeptical about the terms. [Business Day]

¶ Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority endorsed a draft document that serves as certification that TEPCO’s No 6 and No 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station. It is the first time TEPCO reactors have passed the screening review since the Fukushima Disaster. However, the actual restart of the reactors may still take years. [The Japan Times]

Anti-nuclear activists in Japan (Photo: KYODO)

US:

¶ The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given an October 23 deadline for testimony under a rule intended to subsidize nuclear and coal plants, a schedule which the solar and wind industries are joined by oil, gas and other public power groups in opposing. This could be the beginning of a long fight. [pv magazine International]

¶ Just when it looked like concentrated solar power could not get cheaper, a startup says it found a way of cutting heliostat costs by a third. Skysun, based in Ohio, is aiming to achieve the cost reduction by tying multiple heliostats onto a single motor and support structure. Heliostats are the mirrors that reflect sunlight onto CSP receivers. [solarpaces.org]

Skysun solar collector

¶ Metropolis Farms has constructed a 500-kW solar array made up of 2003 solar panels on the roof of a building in Philadelphia. On the fourth floor, it is constructing a vertical farm that will be powered entirely by electricity from the roof. It plans to grow the equivalent of 660 outdoor acres worth of crops in less than 100,000 sq feet. [CleanTechnica]

¶ At the Renewable Energy Vermont Conference, state officials described how they see Vermont, like the US, as standing at a critical crossroads in terms of both climate change and politics. The state’s renewable sector created 13,000 jobs since 2000 and represent 6% of the state’s workforce, REV Executive Director Olivia Campbell Andersen said. [RTO Insider]

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October 3 Energy News

October 3, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Military Leaders See Solar and Energy Storage as Differentiator” • There might be a debate in the political world about the value of solar energy and energy storage for the grid, businesses, and homeowners. But there doesn’t seem to be any disagreement in the military over the value of solar energy, both in the field and at bases in the US. [Motley Fool]

Solar system (Getty Images)

World:

¶ Tesla has already reached the half-way point in its plan to build the world’s biggest battery, in South Australia. Elon Musk said Tesla would build the $A150 million ($117 million) wind-charged battery in 100 days or the state would not have to pay for it. The official countdown to the end of the 100-day deadline began on 30 September. [BBC]

¶ Morocco is getting ready to launch a €200 million program to spark investment in solar power projects in the agricultural sector by 2021. The program is set to promote the use of solar energy to power water pumps for irrigation in order to help farmers reduce their energy costs and use less butane gas in farming operations. [Climate Action Programme]

Moroccan city built of mud bricks

¶ Siemens Gamesa is to supply Guangdong Electric Power Design Institute with turbines totaling 34 MW for the Hubei Energy Lichuan Zhonghao wind farm in China. The order consists of 13 G114-2.625MW machines, with delivery already underway. Commissioning of the project in the province of Hubei is slated for December. [reNews]

¶ Germany is seen as a pioneer in the fight against climate change. But Germany still has a filthy coal habit, and its so emissions have not fallen much. Adding its voice to a chorus of environmentalists, an expert advisory council has now urged the German government to start phasing out coal-fired power plants immediately. [Deutsche Welle]

German coal-burning power plant (Reuters image)

¶ About 30% of the Japanese seashore is protected with devices to break waves, but the same waves can be used to generate power, using a special turbine design. One scientist pointed out, “Using just 1 percent of the seashore of mainland Japan can [generate] about 10 gigawatts [of energy], which is equivalent to 10 nuclear power plants.” [OilPrice.com]

US:

¶ New York State has asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to consider identifying and leasing at least four new Wind Energy Areas off New York’s Atlantic Coast, and it submitted an Area for Consideration to locate the new Wind Energy Areas. Each would be able to accommodate at least 800 MW of offshore wind. [North American Windpower]

Offshore wind turbines

¶ Ford is putting together a new internal unit known as Team Edison to claw its way back into the electric car game after years of inaction. Bill Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, told the press, “If you look at the technology coming into our industry, the competitors coming into our industry … we really need transformational leadership.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ First Ford announced its new Team Edison unit to focus on electric cars. Now Mark Reuss, vice president of global product development for General Motors, announced that his company will introduce two new EV models in the next 18 months, with a total of 20 planned by the end of 2023. “GM believes the future is all electric,” he said. [CleanTechnica]

Chevy FNR X concept car

¶ Tesla has promised to send hundreds of battery storage packs to help Puerto Rico, which is almost entirely without power after Hurricane Maria devastated the island two weeks ago, according to Bloomberg. About 5% of the grid is currently operating, The New York Times reports, it could be as long as six months before power is fully restored. [Utility Dive]

¶ The University of Utah is finalizing agreements to supply 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. A joint proposal from Cyrq Energy and Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables is to provide 20 MW of geothermal energy and 10 MW of solar energy, reducing the university’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25%. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

University of Utah (flickr | Edgar Zuniga Jr, creative commons)

¶ In an effort to find the most efficient way to add at least 1,200 MW of wind energy to the resource mix of a six-state service area by 2020, Rocky Mountain Power opened a competitive bidding process for wind projects. The wind projects would generate enough energy to power the annual consumption of roughly 400,000 homes. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ Residents of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, will now have the option to buy green energy at lower prices, because the selectboard voted to sign a deal with NextEra Energy Resources. The one-year contract will offer lower prices on wind power than both standard and green rates offered by National Grid, which currently serves the town. [theberkshireedge.com]

Jiminy Peak wind turbine in Hancock, Massachusetts

¶ The latest issue of the Energy Information’s “Monthly Energy Review ” reveals that domestic production and use of renewable energy sources (wind, solar, biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydropower) continued to show strong growth during the first half of the year as the consumption of both nuclear power and fossil fuels declined. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ A report released by the independent research organization Integrity Florida analyzed dozens of decisions made by the Florida Public Service Commission in recent years and concluded that there is an “inordinate focus on what additional money a [utility] company wants, at the expense of attention to what the public interest needs.” [Miami Herald]

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October 2 Energy News

October 2, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “What the Trump administration doesn’t understand about wildfires” • The major fires erupting across the West this year have burned through over 8 million acres and $2 billion. It seems the right time to carefully assess wildland fire, its climate drivers and forest-health consequences. But the administration blames “radical environmentalists.” [Los Angeles Times]

Fire in Corona, California (Watchara Phomicinda | Associated Press)

¶ “Puerto Rico needs a new energy grid (not just repairs to the old one)” • Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico. As has been widely reported, the US territory’s essential infrastructure is down. A week after María, 60% of our homes lacked running water, and 100% lacked electricity. What is needed now is a stronger and “smarter” grid. [The Hill]

¶ “What civilians can learn from military investments in solar” • Without electricity from civilian power plants, the US military could be crippled. In January, the US DOE begged for new authority to defend against weaknesses in the grid in a nearly 500-page study warning that it’s only a matter of time before a massive grid failure. [GreenBiz]

Solar PVs at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada (SunPower image)

Science and Technology:

¶ The Rapid Roll system allows flexible solar panels to be unrolled from a trailer in two minutes. The technology is being used to meet demands from greater tourism and environmental and logistical challenges on the island of Flat Holm. The hope is for the technology to offer a solution in areas hit by natural disasters like hurricanes in the future. [BBC News]

World:

¶ The World Bank’s private sector lending branch of the International Finance Cooperation announced plans to triple its funding to Egypt from approximately $300 million, in the past year, to $1 billion during the current financial year, the National reports. Around $700 million of the total will be dedicated to renewable energy initiatives. [Egyptian Streets]

Transmission lines

¶ Last week, the Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and the Khobab Wind Farm, in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, marked a milestone as the wind farms officially connected to the Eskom grid. The wind farms have been synchronised through Eskom’s Helios Substation and commissioning of wind turbines is reported to have commenced. [ESI Africa]

¶ Wind power tariff may drop marginally to ₹3.2 per unit (4.9¢/kWh) in the second auction for 1 GW capacities scheduled on Wednesday as against ₹3.46 per unit discovered in the first competitive bidding held earlier this year, an industry source said. A free fall below this price is not expected, as has been the case with solar power. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind farm in India

¶ A new company called Forsa Energy has been set up to develop renewables and natural gas projects combined with energy storage across Europe. It will start with a portfolio of 150 MW of consented and 225 MW of advanced development onshore wind and a fully-consented 400-MW pumped storage scheme under development. [reNews]

¶ DONG Energy, an oil and gas operator that shed its assets to focus on green projects, said its name does not “fit the company anymore.” The name stands for Danish Oil and Natural Gas. The new name, Ørsted, references the innovative Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted, who discovered electromagnetism in 1820. [Energy Voice]

Offshore wind turbine (DONG photo)

¶ The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is gearing up for a radical change in its energy formula, but it is not the only Gulf nation doing so. The United Arab Emirates is setting its sights on nuclear power to ensure the small nation can meet demand in the coming years, energy minister Suhail Al Mazroui told reporters this week. [OilPrice.com]

US:

¶ Xcel Energy has a proposal, called the Colorado Energy Plan, that could lead to $2.5 billion in clean energy investments in rural Colorado. It would secure low-cost power for customers, stimulate economic-development opportunities in rural communities, and grow the state’s use of renewable and clean-energy resources. [Boulder Daily Camera]

Installing a solar system (Xcel Energy photo)

¶ In a humanitarian effort to help Puerto Rico’s devastated population, one of the companies stepping in to help is Tesla. Tesla is sending hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems to be paired with solar panels, Bloomberg reports. The joint systems will help the battered island territory restore electric power. Some systems are already there. [CleanTechnica]

¶ President Donald Trump and his daughter-adviser have been going all out to tout the administration’s commitment to “high-quality STEM and computer science education” as a means of boosting the US economy. But Trump has yet to choose a top science adviser, who would play a crucial role in turning the horn-tooting into reality. [Newsweek]

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October 1 Energy News

October 1, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The US’s War on Coal Is Purported to Be Over – What About the Rest of the World?” • When it comes to coal, one can truly say as China goes, so goes the rest of the world. According to new data from the International Energy Agency, coal production fell sharply in China in 2016 by about 320 million metric tons, or 9%. [POWER magazine]

Coal train, coal power plant, coal pollution

¶ “Saving Puerto Rico with Renewable Energy, Debt Relief, and Democracy” • Following two horrible, climate-change-driven hurricanes Irma and Maria, Puerto Rico is facing a humanitarian crisis. Millions of people are without clean water, electricity, walls on some of their houses, passable roads, and many of the other basic essentials. [HuffPost]

Science and Technology:

¶ The US Department of Agriculture, the Joint Global Change Research Institute, and the US Department of Energy have just completed a study that shows the problem of methane emissions coming from cattle is worse than previously thought. There may be two possible solutions – feeding cows seaweed or stop eating beef. [CleanTechnica]

Belted Galloway (Amanda Slater, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ The environmentally hopeful results of a recent survey found that 51% of the 1,000 polled British motorists expect to be motoring in an electric vehicle soon. The poll was conducted to mark the launch of Total EV, a website for all things EV and hybrid. The results show amplified progress in the UK as EVs become mainstream. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Despite its close relationship with Panasonic, Tesla revealed that it will be using Samsung SDI lithium-ion battery cells at the facility that is now under construction in South Australia. Panasonic reportedly would not be able to meet demand for the project. Tesla’s offer to build the battery in 100 days is paying off as a PR bonus. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Powerpack installation

¶ Saint Lucia has launched construction of a 3-MW solar farm on the island, its first ever utility-scale renewable energy project. Diesel-powered generators currently account for over 99% of the island’s electricity generation. Both costs and resiliency are on people’s minds after hurricanes devastated neighboring islands. [St. Lucia Times Online News]

US:

¶ A storm of scientific information about sea-level rise threatens the most lucrative, commission-boosting real estate properties along US coastlines. But some real estate lobbyists are teaming up with climate change skeptics to block public release of sea-level rise predictions and ensure that coastal planning is not based on science. [Houma Courier]

Flooding after Irma (Stephen M. Dowell | Orlando Sentinel | TNS)

¶ The range of the southern pine beetle could expand further north significantly within just a few decades as the result of increasingly warm winters, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The only thing limiting the range of southern pine beetles is the coldest winter temperatures, and they are rising significantly. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s antiquated and bankrupt electrical system, leaving millions in the dark and utility crews scrambling to help. Now some politicians and renewable energy investors see a golden opportunity in the crisis to re-invent the US territory’s grid as a storm-resistant network that relies on renewable power. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Solar array in Puerto Rico (US Army photo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Plug-in electric vehicle sales in New York State have surged 74% (year-on-year comparison) since the launch of the Drive Clean Rebate program there, a statement from the governor’s office has revealed. The program offers up to $2,000 in rebates for the purchase of new plug-in electric vehicles from participating dealerships. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The fossil fuel industry has cost the US around $240 billion per year over the last decade through the effects of extreme weather and air pollution, according to a new study from the non-profit Universal Ecological Fund. But that figure represents an average. This year, the bill for damage is estimated to be approaching $300 billion already. [CleanTechnica]

Hurricane Irma from space

¶ Researchers at the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory have developed a unique large-scale power converter that can swiftly switch between multiple energy sources to help ensure an uninterrupted power supply. The “Consolidated Utility Base Energy” system is already being used at US Army forward operating bases. [POWER magazine]

¶ Executives of the state-owned Santee Cooper utility are the next ones called to testify before lawmakers investigating South Carolina’s botched nuclear reactor projection. Members of the South Carolina House’s “utility ratepayer protection“ committee will hear from Santee Cooper executives and board members at a hearing on Tuesday. [The State]

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September 30 Energy News

September 30, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “A Call For Help For Puerto Rico” • Since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, the island is entirely without grid power. It faces the prospect of remaining without grid power for months. It is appalling that citizens of the US are so exposed to hardship. But we could crowdfund microgrids in large numbers and get them up quickly. [CleanTechnica]

Old San Juan in better days (flickr image, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Trump’s Plan to Prop Up Coal and Nukes Would Drive Up Utility Bills” • Energy Secretary Rick Perry is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue new rules to force regional electricity suppliers to pay premium prices for coal and nuclear power. This would drive up our monthly electricity bills. [Environmental Working Group]

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers in Japan are working to create a strong material out of wood pulp that could replace steel parts in vehicles within a decade. Work is also charging ahead in the country to develop plastics that can withstand high temperatures, to replace metal for parts near the engine. These innovations are part of a wider industry push to make cars lighter. [BBC]

Replica Citroen 2CV crafted out of fruitwood (Getty Images)

World:

¶ European governments and the European Union itself are together handing out more than €112 billion a year in fossil fuel subsidies, with almost all of it going towards the transport sector, according to a report published by the Overseas Development Institute and Climate Action Network that details all subsidies for the first time. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens Gamesa is to supply 4.2 MW turbines to the 96.6-MW Sorfjord wind farm in the far north of Norway. A total of 23 SWT-DD-130 machines will feature at the project, which is being built by Fortum. The deal includes a five-year service package and hardware will include the so-called OptimaFlex optimisation kit. [reNews]

Siemens Gamesa turbines (Siemens Gamesa image)

¶ The European Commission has approved four schemes to support onshore wind and solar on buildings and on the ground in France under EU state aid rules. The schemes will allow France to develop over 7 GW in renewable energy. France has a target of producing 23% of its energy needs from renewable sources in 2020. [EU News]

¶ Thai BCPG Pcl, the renewables arm of oil and gas company Bangchak Corporation, said  that its energy generation capacity under commercial operation rose by 94% to 394 MW in the year to date. New capacity includes a 9-MW Thai solar farm, a 20-MW Philippine wind farm, and a 182-MW geothermal power plant in Indonesia. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind farm

¶ Nuclear power is emerging as a key policy issue ahead of Japan’s Lower House election, with Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike saying her new party will aim to phase it out. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party view nuclear power as a stable source of energy and want to restart more of Japan’s idled reactors. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ The diesel emissions cheating scandal in the US will cost Volkswagen an extra $3 billion because engines are proving “far more technically complex and time consuming” to adapt, the company said. The additional cost for fixing engines takes the total bill to $30 billion. VW is still struggling to put the two-year old crisis behind it. [BBC]

Cars VW repurchased because of the scandal (Photo: AFP/Getty)

¶ In a blatant money-grab for the coal industry, Rick Perry’s Energy Department is pushing for direct subsidies to dirty, un-economical coal-fired power plants. So much for “The government shouldn’t pick winners and losers.” So much for “Let market forces decide.” According to Rick Perry, dirty plants are needed as for “security.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new study commissioned by the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium concludes the largest city in the US has a near-term opportunity to clean up its electric grid by replacing older steam generation units with batteries. About 2,860 MW of older steam and combustion turbines, are nearing retirement age. [Utility Dive]

Battery system (Convergent image)

¶ Car and energy company Tesla, striving for a world in which renewables play a more prominent role, is eyeing an expansion into storm-ravaged islands of the Caribbean. Hurricanes Irma and Maria wrought destruction on electric grids in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. More resilient renewable grids could replace them. [Florida Today]

¶ Pattern Energy Group has reported “no material damage” to its wind farms in Texas or Puerto Rico as a result of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria. However, it expects production in the third quarter of 2017 to below the long-term average, because of the weather conditions. The hurricanes made it necessary to evacuate wind farm employees. [reNews]

Gulf wind farm (Pattern image)

¶ The 2,250-MW coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in Arizona is set to shut down in 2019 unless a new owner can be found. The deadline for interested buyers is Sunday. The utility and other owners voted this year to shutter the plant, but Peabody Energy, the owner of the coal mine that feeds the power plant is looking for buyers. [Gillette News Record]

¶ The US DOE said it has offered conditional loan guarantees worth $3.7 billion to help save efforts to build two nuclear reactors in Georgia, bringing the total federal backing for the delayed and over-budget project to $12 billion. The guarantees will go to three of the four owners of the plan to add two 1,150-MW reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia. [Platts]

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September 29 Energy News

September 29, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “4 Utilities Betting Billions on Renewable Energy” • Utilities will soon be facing more disruption than they have ever seen. Customers are switching to solar and storage. The wholesale power markets being disrupted by new technology. To adapt, utilities are spending billions to build or buy renewable energy power plants. [Motley Fool]

Solar panels at dusk (Photo: Getty Images)

¶ “Trump officials have no clue how to rebuild Puerto Rico’s grid. But we do.” • Microgrids built around cheap renewable power and battery storage are now the fastest and cheapest way to restore power, and they build resilience. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is proposing small modular nuclear reactors, which might come in the mid 2020s. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Smoke, mirrors and coal dust” • Something akin to a poor magic show is going on in Eurelectric with their latest attempt to show that handing over taxpayer money for decades to keep the European coal sector on its feet is in fact the best way to support the decarbonisation of European electricity, with no increase in emissions. [EURACTIV]

Ember (Shutterstock image)

Science and Technology:

¶ The National Weather Service reported on the heat wave in the Midwest and Northeast, calling it “the only occurrence on record of 7+ consecutive 90°[F] days entirely within September” on record. It may have happened because the behavior of the jet stream was impacted by climate change, causing increasing numbers of long-lasting events. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Major countries – like China, India, France, the UK, and even the state of California – are talking about banning all cars with internal combustion engines. Now, Silicon Valley has spawned another startup, Impossible Foods, that wants to eliminate all animal-based food products by 2035. And its reasons to do so are much the same. [CleanTechnica]

Impossible foods

World:

¶ Around a third of all iron ore mining licenses in China are to be cancelled as part of a bid to reduce associated emissions, and thus to reduce levels of the country’s deadly air pollution, an official from China’s mining association has announced. Most of the cancellations relate to small, relatively heavily polluting mines. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Scotland’s renewable energy generation was 17% higher in the first half of 2017 than the same period last year and is on course for a record year for clean power, according to UK government figures. The data show that renewables delivered the equivalent of 54% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in 2016, the Scottish government said. [reNews]

The Harestanes wind farm in Scotland (Iberdrola image)

¶ Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, visiting South Australia for a space conference, owed to install a huge battery within 100 days of signing a grid connection agreement or give it to the state for free. South Australia’s Energy Minister said that construction at the site is already well underway, and the batteries are on track to be operational by December 1. [CNBC]

¶ A Domino’s Pizza franchise in the western Sydney suburb of Plumpton has laid claim to the world’s largest commercial Tesla Powerwall 2 battery storage system, after installing 10 of the US company’s 13.5-kWh units – and not to store rooftop solar power, but to get around the expense of fixing an existing network supply problem. [One Step Off The Grid]

Domino’s Pizza and Tesla batteries

¶ Contaminated water may have leaked from the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant since as early as April, the owner said. According to TEPCO, it is still unknown whether radiation-contaminated water actually leaked from damaged reactor buildings, because of a problem with monitoring equipment. [Japan Today]

¶ Coal is on the way out years ahead of schedule in China and India. A report by CoalSwarm (an Earth Island Project), Sierra Club, and Greenpeace showed that, in 2016, that Asia’s two fastest growing economies are closing mines, scrapping coal plant plans, and building renewables far faster than nearly anyone had expected. [Earth Island Journal]

Coal barge in Indonesia (Photo: Andrew Taylor | WDM)

US:

¶ New York-based Consolidated Edison continues to expand its use of clean energy. It plans to invest $1.25 billion in renewable energy sources over the next three years. The company, which provides energy for New York City and areas of the states of New York and New Jersey, has invested $3 billion in renewable energy in recent years. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ New Jersey can have renewable energy produce a third of its electricity by 2030 while keeping energy costs stable, a report commissioned by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation said. By aggressively increasing renewable energy and efforts to reduce energy use, the state can cut carbon dioxide emissions from its power sector in half. [NJ Spotlight]

Maintenance vessel (Photo: Arnold Price, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Tampa Electric Co is making a major commitment to solar energy, pledging to build 600 MW of solar energy capacity, enough to power 100,000 homes, by 2021. Other major Florida utilities are also pushing for solar. Duke Energy Florida is adding 700 MW in four years, and Florida Power & Light is adding 2,100 megawatts by 2023. [TBO.com]

¶ The planned closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan will be delayed until spring of 2022, Entergy Corp said. This came after the Michigan Public Service Commission said that Consumers Energy could opt out of buying power from the plant but couldn’t recover all of the $172 million requested as part of the deal. [The Detroit News]

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September 28 Energy News

September 28, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The most effective clean energy policy gets the least love” • Though they aren’t as sexy as perpetually-discussed-but-rarely-passed carbon taxes, and they are flawed and insufficient in a number of ways, renewable portfolio standards have been the quiet workhorses of renewable energy deployment in the United States. [Vox]

Renewable energy (Shutterstock image)

¶ “US Courts Taking Climate Change Seriously” • Hallelujah! The judicial branch of the federal government is finally getting serious about climate science. No longer can the executive branch and the legislative branches cave in to pressure to avoid the inconvenient truth that climate change adaptations will be hugely expensive. [Hartford Courant]

World:

¶ Major European carrier EasyJet announced that it is teaming up with US startup Wright Electric to build an all-electric airliner. The aircraft they have in mind would handle short routes of 335 miles or less – think New York to Boston or London to Paris. EasyJet said the new aircraft would cover 20% of its passenger journeys. [CNN]

Rendering of an all-electric airliner

¶ The first utility-scale solar power facility in Egypt will be built by General Electric Power Conversion. The GE subsidiary will provide both equipment, including 1,500-volt inverters, and the financing. The 50-MW solar project will generate enough power for up to 15,000 homes. Egypt has developed a new government-sponsored feed-in tariff policy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ New South Wales is getting a fifth of the its electric power from renewable sources. The latest figures obtained by the ABC show that the state’s electricity mix includes 19.6% from hydro, solar, wind, bioenergy, and small hydro. Coal-fired power generation now accounts for 75.8% of the state’s electricity, with natural gas providing 4.6%. [ABC Online]

Solar panels in New South Wales (Repositpower image)

¶ An executive of one the top mining firms in the world, BHP, was quoted as saying that 2017 represented the “tipping point” for electric vehicle adoption. He said the first impacts of the expected mainstream embrace of electric vehicles would be observed in the metals market, with impacts to the oil market only being observed much later. [CleanTechnica]

¶ France plans to increase carbon taxes to boost support for renewable energy, the government said, and it will repay a longstanding renewables-related debt to utility EDF. The 2018 draft budget sets higher carbon taxes on fossil fuel, part of a tax on transport and heating fuels paid by all consumers, with exemptions for corporations. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Windpower

¶ France has launched what it is calling its “Great Investment Plan 2018-22.” The €57 billion plan will include €20 billion for its energy transition plan, which has three components: €9 billion for energy efficiency measures, €7 billion for renewable power sources, and €4 billion to expedite the switch to electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ Extreme weather, made worse by climate change, along with the health impacts of burning fossil fuels, has cost the US economy at least $240 billion a year over the past ten years, a report found. This does not include the recent three major hurricanes or 76 wildfires in Western states, which are estimated to cost over $300 billion. [National Geographic]

Hurricane debris (Luke Sharrett, Bloomberg, via Getty Images)

¶ California may join the growing list of places where vehicles powered by internal combustion engines will soon no longer be welcome. China is an important model for the idea, as it has the largest new car market in the world. But France, the UK, and India are also banning cars powered by internal combustion engines. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Regulators in the state of Washington have denied a permit to Millennium Bulk Terminals for a coal export facility located on the Columbia River in the town of Longview, about two and a half hours north of Portland, Oregon. The decision was based on an environmental impact study by the Washington Department of Ecology. [CleanTechnica]

Coal train (Source: Think Progress)

¶ MidAmerican Energy Co is upgrading hundreds of wind turbines in Iowa. GE is retrofitting older wind turbines with newer, more efficient components, such as longer blades. The upgrades move MidAmerican Energy closer to its vision of providing renewable energy equal to 100% of its customers’ annual energy use. [North American Windpower]

¶ Philadelphia officials unveiled a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, reduce energy use from the built environment and use 100% renewable energy for city properties by 2030. The goals are part of the new Municipal Energy Master Plan which aims to help the city meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. [StateImpact Pennsylvania]

Installing a solar system (Photo: Emma Lee | WHYY)

¶ Thermal power plants, including all those that have coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactors heating water in boilers, require cooling, often from water. Research published in Nature Scientific Reports found that by the 2030s, about 27% of the US power production will be severely impacted by droughts and warmer, scarcer water. [Tech Xplore]

¶ Westinghouse Electric has asked a New York bankruptcy court to stop Georgia Power from terminating Westinghouse’s contract to continue construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Georgia Power has said Westinghouse’s bankruptcy filing showed it had abandoned the Vogtle project, voiding its contract. [POWER magazine]

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September 27 Energy News

September 27, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ In the first evaluation of evaporation as a renewable energy source, researchers at Columbia University find that US lakes and reservoirs could generate 325 GW of power, nearly 70% of what the US currently produces. The researchers’ calculations are outlined in the September issue of the journal Nature Communications. [Eurasia Review]

Reservoir in Arizona (Photo: Central Arizona Project)

World:

¶ Research from Lappeenranta University of Technology, in Finland, concluded that developing countries with abundant renewable energy resources are in a position to bypass reliance on fossil fuels to increase living standards. India can transition to a fully 100% renewable energy system by 2050 while improving quality of life. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Record hurricanes and rains have struck throughout the world, bringing chaos to many places. There are many indications that more storms and persistent rainfall events are coming with climate change. But more accurate data, supercomputer modelling, and machine learning are giving us a clearer picture of which areas are likely to be most affected. [BBC]

Launch of a Japanese weather satellite (Getty Images)

¶ Siemens Gamesa is to develop a 78.8-MW wind-solar hybrid project in the Indian state of Karnataka. The company will provide a turnkey solution to connect a 28.8-MW solar project to an existing 50-MW wind farm. The project, which will be the first large-scale solar-wind hybrid scheme in India, is scheduled to be running by the end of 2017. [reNews]

¶ The star of The Thick Of It and Doctor Who said offshore wind “may just save the planet” as he helped unveil a campaign advertising the fall of offshore wind prices. Central London’s Westminster Tube station has been taken over with posters for the campaign, as companies and environmental groups joined in support of offshore wind power. [Energy Voice]

Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who (Photo: Simon Ridgway, ©BBC)

¶ British renewable energy developer Anesco has officially unveiled the UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm. Located in the southern English county of Bedfordshire, the 10-MW Clayhill solar farm is the UK’s first ground-mounted installation to operate without any form of government support. Notably, it has a 6-MW battery unit onsite. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Ormat Technologies, Inc announced that its 35-MW Platanares geothermal project in Honduras is in commercial operation. The Platanares project will be selling its power under a 30-year power purchase agreement with the national utility of Honduras, ENEE. Its annual revenue is expected to be approximately $33 million. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Ormat geothermal plant in New Zealand (Wikimedia Commons)

¶ AGL has stuck to its decision to close the Liddell coal-fired power station, despite government pressure. Speaking at its annual general meeting, chairman Jerry Maycock and chief executive Andy Vesey outlined the company’s rapid turnaround in finance and ongoing commitment to the closing the Liddell plant. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Wales set a target to get 70% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030. The goal includes plans for 1 GW of renewable energy capacity in Wales to be locally-owned by 2030 and that by 2020 new renewables projects will have “at least an element of local ownership.” Wales got 32% of its electricity from clean power sources last year. [reNews]

Pen Y Cymoedd wind farm (Vattenfall image)

US:

¶ New York has received over 200 large-scale renewable energy proposals totaling 13 GW in response to two requests for proposals to help meet its goal of getting 50% of the state’s electricity demands from clean power sources by 2030. The state expects to invest up to $1.5 billion in new clean energy projects through the two RFPs. [reNews]

¶ Georgia has leapt into the PV gigawatt club, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Georgia now has 1,500 MW installed. More is expected, because Georgia Power has enacted its Commercial and Industrial Renewable Energy Development Initiative, which calls for 1,200 MW of renewable energy systems to be installed by 2021. [pv magazine USA]

Solar system in Atlanta

¶ Ameren Missouri’s 20-year Integrated Resource Plan calls for significant cuts to the utility’s coal-fired generation, increased investment in renewables, and grid modernization that will allow the electric system to be used in new ways. Ameren Missouri is among the few utilities with an IRP that includes dramatic carbon reduction goals. [Utility Dive]

¶ Xcel Energy has plans to add more wind power in its Texas-New Mexico service area. They would boost wind to about 40% of the region’s electricity supply by 2021 and begin reducing fuel costs on customer bills. Other companies across the nation are following Xcel Energy’s lead because of the falling capital costs of renewables. [EverythingLubbock.com]

Wind turbines in Texas (Photo: Leaflet, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ According to the Greenfield, Massachusetts, mayor’s office, residents and businesses enrolled in the Greenfield Light and Power program have saved a total of $208,000 in the first half of 2017, and municipal electricity accounts have saved $35,000. It is noteworthy that the savings all come while customers are using 100% “green” electricity. [Recorder]

¶ The South Carolina attorney general’s office declared  that a 2007 state law that allowed utility giant SCANA to hike electricity customers’ rates to pay for a bungled $14 billion, now-defunct nuclear power project is “constitutionally suspect.” He said Power company ratepayers have “paid billions of dollars and got absolutely nothing.” [The State]

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September 26 Energy News

September 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Wholesale market crisis” • Sustained low wholesale power prices are driving coal, nuclear and even gas plant retirements, pushing independent power producers into the red, and spurring reforms of wholesale market structures. But even PV is not immune to these trends. pv magazine looks at the implications for the solar industry. [pv magazine USA]

Natural gas and electric power

¶ “How Renewable Energy Can Accelerate the Microgrid Revolution” • Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas the US Energy Department has been flooding the media with news about its work on grid resiliency. Much of the message is about the importance of the microgrids that integrate distributed renewable energy resources. [Triple Pundit]

World:

¶ BYD, an auto and battery manufacturer based in China, is expecting that China’s shift to “new energy vehicles” – battery electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, etc – will be completed by the year 2030, according to recent reports. It will take slightly more than a decade to end reliance on internal combustion engines. [CleanTechnica]

BYD electric car

¶ A new major report from The Australia Institute’s newly-formed Climate & Energy Program concluded that Australia needs between 66% and 75% renewable energy by 2030 to meet its Paris Climate Agreement commitments. Otherwise, it will face delaying a necessary transition and increasing the eventual cost to the national economy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Only around 10% of the UK’s original offshore recoverable oil and gas reserves remain, according to a new study from the University of Edinburgh. At current rates of extraction, the UK’s reserves will last another decade or so. Once they run out, it will be necessary for the UK to import essentially all of the fossil fuels it uses. [CleanTechnica]

North Sea oil rig

¶ Enel’s subsidiary Enel Green Power Brasil Participações has begun operation of a total of 546 MW of solar capacity in Brazil. Ituverava, with a capacity of 254 MW, is located in Bahia, and Nova Olinda, with 292 MW capacity, is in Piauí state. They are expected to produce over 1,150 GWh per year once they are fully operational. [pv magazine International]

¶ Algerian renewable energy project developer Soliwind announced that it has started construction of a 1.39-MW rooftop PV system at Oran’s new airport. The system will be located on the airport’s roof and will use 5,362 solar modules. The company expects that the installation cover about 30% of the facility’s power needs. [pv magazine International]

Rooftop PV project at Oran’s new airport (Image: Soliwind)

¶ Europe’s wind power industry may attract €351 billion ($417 billion) of investment by 2030 if countries adopt reforms and targets for their energy systems in the next year, according to trade association WindEurope. The EU may create 716,000 jobs with a target for member states to produce 35% of their energy from renewables within 12 years. [Bloomberg]

¶ More than half of the UK’s electricity came from low carbon sources this summer, according to the National Grid. This makes it the “greenest” summer on record. Between late June and September, 52% percent of the UK’s electricity generation was met by low carbon sources, compared with about 35% four years ago. [BBC News]

Solar system in the UK (Getty Images)

¶ Popular Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike has announced a new national party, Kibo no To, or “Party of Hope.” Later, she met with former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and the two discussed such issues as using an exit from nuclear power to promote renewable energy. Gov Koike said Koizumi offered words of encouragement. [Nikkei Asian Review]

US:

¶ Using a state policy called community choice aggregation, small and mid-sized communities can take greater control over their energy futures by choosing their electricity suppliers or generating their own power. It is an especially compelling prospect in New York, as it dovetails with a wider effort to reorient state energy policy. [CleanTechnica]

White Plains (Photo: Steve Carrea, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver has ruled that the country’s Bureau of Land Management must reassess its analysis of the climate impacts of expanding two huge coal mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. It found that the existing analysis, which led to approval for expansion, was “glaringly insufficient.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ameren Missouri has unveiled plans to add at least 700 MW of new wind power by 2020 and 100 MW of solar over the next 10 years, with the projects to be in Missouri and neighboring states. The new capacity will require an investment of about $1 billion. The company also said that the turbines will be manufactured in the US. [reNews]

Wind turbine in the Midwest (Pixabay image)

¶ The US nuclear power industry could be out of business by the middle of the century. The entire existing fleet of reactors may disappear by 2055 when the last operating license expires, S&P Global Ratings said in a report. That’s assuming there will be no license extensions. Half of the country’s 99 nuclear units may be retired in 17 years. [Bloomberg]

¶ A lawsuit alleges that SCANA violated a federal racketeering statute when it charged customers for the cost of an abandoned nuclear project. The federal lawsuit says SCANA and Santee Cooper knew the nuclear project was running off the tracks, but it continued to provide an optimistic view even as customers were billed for the work. [The State]

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September 25 Energy News

September 25, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Tony Abbott’s ignorance and the Coalition’s war on renewables” • Tony Abbot claimed that Australia needs “reliable baseload power” from coal or gas to keep steel plants and other heavy industries running. The next day, billionaire businessman Sanjeev Gupta announced a plan to cut costs by running a steel plant on renewables. [Independent Australia]

Wind farm in Victoria (Photo: Mattinbgn, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ Physicists at Washington State University announced their creation of a device that converts car exhaust into renewable energy. Thermoelectrics uses converted heat to generate alternative forms of energy. The device turns heat into electricity three times more efficiently than silicon. The heat can be stored to produce current. [Interesting Engineering]

¶ Thirty years ago this month the US and other industrialized countries signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Our global climate would be at least 25% hotter today without the Protocol, a co-author of two studies said. The same chemicals that destroy the ozone are power greenhouse gases. [National Geographic]

Out in the sun (Getty Images)

World:

¶ The Indian state of Karnataka may have major power shortages in the coming days, as the state’s thermal power plants are on the verge of a crisis. Officials say power plants are facing a critical drop in coal supply, with sufficient stocks available for just one day. Karnataka’s coal mines have been depleted, so all the coal it uses is imported. [The News Minute]

¶ ScottishPower Renewables has installed 2 GW of wind power in the UK, following a £650 million ($880 million) investment program to build eight new onshore projects. The company called on politicians and regulators to support increasing Scottish onshore windpower to meet carbon reduction goals and support anticipated demand increases. [reNews]

Scottish windpower (Image: ScottishPower Renewables)

¶ Origin Energy, one of Australia’s largest utility providers, has teamed with blockchain startup Power Ledger to trial a blockchain-based energy sharing platform. Power Ledger is a peer-to-peer marketplace for renewable energy. It provides transparent, audit-able, and automated trading of energy directly from producer to consumer. [BlockTribune]

¶ Residential renewable power generation and storage will become profitable even for households in cloudy UK cities like London by 2030. This could cause a major disruption to the UK utilities sector, report researchers from the Center for Climate Finance & Investment at Imperial College Business School, in a new study. [Imperial College London]

Urban solar array

¶ Almost 4500 sites in Victoria, including many in Gippsland’s mountainous regions, have been identified as potential pumped hydro storage locations that could provide the country with as much as 100% renewable energy in as little as 20 years. They offer much more than the capacity required for a zero-emissions grid. [Gippsland Times]

¶ Countries with large quantities of waste from forestry, manure, or straw from farms are looking for economic ways to turn them into forms of renewable energy. Most of these so-called wastes can be burned directly as an alternative to fossil fuels in power stations or for district heating, but increasingly they are being turned into biogas. [eco-business.com]

Swedish farm field (Image: Olof Senestam, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

¶ Excess wind and solar electricity generated at times of oversupply could be regularly used to produce synthetic gas, providing a convenient way of storing renewable energy that would otherwise be lost. The potential is huge, and it could provide 76% of gas demand by 2050, according to the Secretary General of the trade association Eurogas. [EURACTIV]

¶ Israel’s supply of natural gas has been halted after a crack was discovered in the single pipeline linking the Tamar field to Israeli users. The fault in a pipe at a processing platform forced the Tamar partners to stop supplies of natural gas, which is used to generate more than half of Israel’s electric power, until repairs are completed this week. [Haaretz]

Tamar natural gas rig (Credit: AP)

US:

¶ The University of Hawaii Maui College is on track to reach a goal of 100% renewable portfolio standard for the electricity by 2020 at the latest. Thanks to a tremendous effort, both on campus and in the community, it is actually aiming to reach that goal in 2018. Doing so, it may be the first college campus in the US to reach net zero. [Maui News]

¶ When Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast in 2012, Princeton University was kept going by a microgrid. The resilience afforded by microgrids has captured attention even in areas shielded from hurricanes, such as Illinois, where the St. Louis-based utility, Ameren, is testing applications of the technology. [STLtoday.com]

Ameren microgrid in Champaign, Illinois (Ameren photo)

¶ Employees of US nuclear power firm Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, which is bankrupt due to a failed reactor project, got a nasty surprise recently. The US government’s pension insurer said its retirement plan has a massive shortfall. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp estimated the pension plan is unfunded by $937 million. [Nasdaq]

¶ The Kansas City Board of Public Utilities in Wyandotte County has built a one megawatt solar farm. Power from the 3,780 solar panels will go into the existing grid. The utility will dedicate the new solar farm on Tuesday. The BPU said it already generates about 45% of its power from renewable sources like wind and water. [KSHB]

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September 24 Energy News

September 24, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Wind, other renewable energy sources are the answer to climate change” • America’s wind energy industry feels the pain inflicted by Hurricane Harvey. Wind companies have pledged $1 million to Habitat for Humanity to help Texas communities recover from the disaster. But wind power helps in other ways that are important. [Houston Chronicle]

West Texas wind farm (Photo: Spencer Platt | Getty Images)

¶ “They Voted For Trump. Obama’s Solar Panels Saved Them From Irma’s Wrath.” • Hurricane Irma knocked out the power while residents Titusville, Florida, sheltered in the Apollo Elementary School. But Classroom 408 had electricity, thanks to an economic stimulus program set in motion by President Barack Obama. [Daily Beast]

Science and Technology:

¶ The world’s periglacial zones, home to nearly all of the world’s permafrost, will “almost completely disappear” by the year 2100 even in the most optimistic of scenarios about greenhouse gas emissions reductions, a study says. As all that permafrost melts, vast quantities of methane and carbon dioxide will be released. [CleanTechnica]

Drunken forest, as underlying permafrost melts
(Jon Ranson, NASA Science blog, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ More than 800 biomass projects have won approval of the Japanese government, offering 12.4 GW of capacity. This is equal to about 12 nuclear power stations. The sheer number of projects has raised questions about how they will all find sufficient fuel, and some experts question the environmental value of such large-scale plants. [Japan Today]

¶ Tapping solar energy, Bangladesh has been able to provide access to electricity to over 12% of her population outside the grid network. Over 4.5 million solar home systems have been installed. But with net metering, all of the on-grid users could install solar PVs on their rooftops to provide electricity to the power grid. [The Daily Star]

Irrigation with PVs (Photo: Infrastructure Development Company)

¶ With a national energy system that chiefly runs on fossil fuels, Iran finally looks set to unlock some of its tremendous potential in clean energy through foreign investment. However, one official believes that domestic bottlenecks could slow down the country’s push for green energy. He says renewables need to be prioritized. [Financial Tribune]

¶ Japanese researchers are looking into a new technology to turn the power of ocean waves into energy and the energy. The blades of turbines are made of a soft material and rotate when the waves hit them. The initial phase of the project has proven successful and researchers are now preparing to install turbines for the first commercial experiment. [I4U News]

Wave power (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology)

¶ India is third in the world in the number of nuclear reactors being installed, at six, while China is leading at 20, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017 shows. The number of nuclear reactor units under construction is, however, declining globally for the fourth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 53 by mid-2017. [The Hindu]

¶ The Japanese government plans to submit a law to the ordinary session of the 2018 Diet, in an effort to facilitate offshore power generation by setting out wind turbine installation standards. Japan is an island nation, and some experts estimate that offshore wind turbines can generate five times as much electricity as land-based ones. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Japanese offshore wind power generation facility test (Photo: New
Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization)

¶ Bahrain is making plans to build a 100-MW solar power plant as part of its renewable energy agenda. The solar plant will be developed in conjunction with the private sector. The plant is expected to be ready to start power production by the end of 2018, according to Bahrain’s minister of electricity and water affairs. [Utilities-ME.com]

US:

¶ Two years ago, 85% of the electricity in Aztec, California, came from fossil fuels. Now, hydropower supplies 37% of its electricity and 6% comes from a solar farm. Last month, officials from Guzman Energy, which sells power to the city, told the City Commission that Aztec could get 40% of its power from wind in the near future. [Farmington Daily Times]

Solar farm for Aztec, New Mexico (Daily Times file photo)

¶ The US solar industry installed 2,387 MW of solar facilities for the quarter, a record increase of 8% over the year-earlier quarter, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Mississippi ranked ninth in the country in solar power growth in the second quarter by adding 92.9 MW, thanks largely to utility projects. [Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal]

¶ Southern California Edison is collaborating with Tesla at a battery storage facility in Ontario, California. The batteries can store enough energy to power 15,000 homes for four hours. SCE provides electricity to over 14 million people in a 50,000 square mile area across California, and sees potential for batteries to support renewable power. [CNBC]

California wind farm (Carol M. Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ The clean energy revolution continues and solar is leading the charge. In a recently published report, the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratories has documented that the cost of utility-scale solar, generated from large plants has decreased by 30% within the past year. Utility-scale solar power is a potential game-changer. [Gears Of Biz]

¶ Bills in the Ohio legislature that would subsidize the state’s two nuclear power plants have stalled, but similar energy credits approved in Illinois and New York have won their first round of legal battles. FirstEnergy has been lobbying for a Zero Emission Nuclear Resource Program or “ZEN” for its nuclear power plants. [News-Herald.com]

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September 23 Energy News

September 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “US Solar Industry Could Be Devastated By Today’s Tariffs Ruling – May Lead To Crushing Tariffs” • The US International Trade Commission granted a petition for relief from cheaper imported solar panels by two bankrupt US manufacturers. But the remedy will likely mean tariffs that are job-crushing for solar installers. [CleanTechnica]

Solar array

¶ “Are Hurricanes Winds of Change for Insurers’ Climate Risk?” • The insurance industry faces a long-term challenge as climate change makes natural disasters more severe. The Trump administration’s push to ax some of the tools insurers need to prepare for disasters could force companies to take a more public position on climate change. [Bloomberg BNA]

¶ “Taking back full control of your home energy needs” • Eaton, a maker of power management solutions, recently partnered with Manchester City Football Club on a research project. They found that 10% of football fans have had power cuts during a major match. Energy storage can prevent fix that as it enables renewable technology. [Information Age]

Manchester City FC (Werner100359, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “What’s next for offshore wind in the US?” • US offshore wind farms could potentially generate more than 2,000,000 MW, about twice as much as Americans currently consume. But so far, only the 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island is operating. What’s holding us back, and why is there reason to hope for a better future? [Phys.org]

Science and Technology:

¶ Exposure to air pollution increases the risk of decline in kidney function and kidney disease, study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology says. It found that effects of particulate matter exposure on the kidneys are seen starting at fairly low levels, and rise linearly with exposure to rising levels of particulate air pollution. [CleanTechnica]

Air pollution

¶ A professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State, has developed a solution for about half the plastic waste that goes to American landfills. After 10 years of research, he says he has found a biodegradable material that can be used in place of the plastic used to wrap and preserve food. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ MPI Offshore jack-up vessel MPI Enterprise has completed installation of 54 Senvion 6.2M-126 turbines at the 332-MW Nordsee 1 offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. Turbine installation had kicked off in early March. All 54 monopile foundations and all of the offshore substation and infield cables were installed last year. [reNews]

Nordsee 1 wind farm (Image: Nordsee 1 GmbH)

¶ According to a new report from independent analyst firm Verdantix, on-site energy generation could help UK businesses save around £33 billion and significantly cut their carbon emissions in the process. It can also give business greater control over their electricity costs, as it acts as an effective hedge against unpredictable power prices. [Telegraph.co.uk]

¶ In the wake of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, Japanese communities have quietly built systems that help them function without grid electricity, rather than relying on large power stations. Japan’s National Resilience Program offers ¥3.72 trillion ($33.32 billion) each fiscal year to rebuild and increase local resilience. [My Modern Met]

Scene in Japan

US:

¶ Novato, California, has pledged to help its residents and businesses transition to 100% clean energy by 2050. The city opted to join “Mayors for 100 Percent Clean Energy,” an initiative of the Sierra Club. The enterprise calls on mayors across the nation to support wind, solar and other clean energy approaches. [Marin Independent Journal]

¶ Arizona’s rural electric cooperatives have dedicated a new, 20-MW solar farm near the Apache Generating Station in Cochise County. Initial interest among member co-ops was higher than expected, and the project grew from a proposed maximum size of 14 MW to 20 MW by February, before site clearing work began in March. [Arizona Daily Star]

Apache Solar Project (Arizona G&T Cooperatives photo)

¶ New York City hopes to use innovative technology to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2050 by installing 100 MWh of energy storage. This may also allow the city’s consumers to avoid buying dirtier power – something that could save electricity customers there millions each year, according to a new study. [Forbes]

¶ Imports of solar panels have harmed US manufacturers, the US International Trade Commission ruled. The decision was a win for the two US-based producers who said their business had been hurt by a flood of foreign products, but US firms that install and assemble panels worry that more expensive products could slow the industry’s growth. [BBC]

Installing solar panels (Getty Images)

¶ Public Service Co of New Mexico submitted its 2018 renewable energy plan to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. It calls for 50 MW more of solar energy, and increased use of current wind and geothermal resources. The state has a goal of getting 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. [Albuquerque Journal]

¶ According to experts who spoke at the Texas Renewable Energy Summit in Austin, power surpluses are driving electricity prices in Texas so low that most of the state’s coal-fired power plants are losing money, nuclear power is struggling, and new wind farms may be hard to finance when tax credits expire in 2020. [Houston Chronicle]

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September 22 Energy News

September 22, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Anthropogenic climate warming could lead to temperatures of the water in some parts of the world exceeding the survival limits of their fish species, according to research from the University of Washington. Water temperatures in the tropical parts of the oceans are already nearing the upper temperature range for many fish living there. [CleanTechnica]

Fish at a coral reef

World:

¶ Conservative Chilean presidential candidate Sebastian Piñera, who leads in the polls for upcoming elections, pledged to move the country toward a fully renewable electricity grid by 2040. Piñera, who was Chile’s president from 2010 to 2014, would seek to build on investments his country has made in wind and solar energy. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

¶ Defying the policy uncertainty that has held back utility-scale solar across most of the rest of Australia, renewables investment is gathering pace in Queensland, a region known as coal country. At a Townsville new-energy conference last week, attendees learned of 31 renewable projects under development in the state. [Corporate Knights Magazine]

Windy Hill wind farm in Queensland (Photo: Magnus Manske)

¶ Victoria is one step closer to having its renewable energy target of 40% by 2025 written into law, after the Andrews government’s Renewable Energy Jobs and Investment Bill 2017 passed the lower house, despite a lack of backing of the state opposition. If passed, it will lock in the state in to successive targets of 25% by 2020, and 40% by 2025. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has secured a contract from Parque Eólico Arauco SAPEM to deliver 28 turbines for Phase III and IV of the Arauco wind complex. The project will generate a total of 97 MW through the G132-3.465MW turbines. The project is already being developed, and delivery is scheduled to be completed by Q2, 2018. [Power Technology]

Cloud over a windfarm (Photo: Richard Walker | Flickr)

¶ A district court ordered TEPCO to pay ¥376 million ($3.3 million) in compensation to evacuees of the Fukushima nuclear disaster but absolved the central government of responsibility. Forty-five people in 18 households who evacuated to Chiba Prefecture following the Fukushima Disaster sought a total of about ¥2.8 billion. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ The cities of San Francisco and Oakland have filed separate lawsuits against five of the largest oil companies in the world, public documents show. They are suing Chevron Corp, BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp, and Royal Dutch Shell, for the roles played by those companies in anthropogenic climate warming and rising sea levels. [CleanTechnica]

San Francisco (Photo: Cicerone, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Georgetown University partnered with Origis Energy USA to build a solar power system to provide nearly 50% of the campus’s electricity by the 2019-20 academic year. Origis will install 105,000 solar panels on a 518-acre property in Maryland. The panels are expected to produce 75,000 MWh of power each year. [Georgetown University The Hoya]

¶ The Natural Resources Defense Council released an ambitious blueprint to dramatically increase energy efficiency, cut greenhouse gas pollution 80% from 1990 levels, raise wind and solar power generation to 70%, and usher in a clean energy future for the United States by 2050 – and it delivers benefits seven times the cost. [Windpower Engineering]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ The Virginia Citizens Consumer Council called on Dominion Energy to abandon its stalled plans to build a new nuclear reactor at its North Anna Power Station, the latest in a long-running campaign to convince the utility to shelve the expensive project for good. The group’s president called the reactor a “$19 billion or more white elephant.” [Roanoke Times]

¶ Next year, the electric utility in Banning, California, will get 77% of its power from renewable energy sources. Nuclear and hydro facilities, neither of which is counted as renewable in the state, will provide 15% of the power. Only 8% of the Banning Electric Utility’s electricity will come from grid sources that may include natural gas. [The Record Gazette]

Hoover Dam (Courtesy of the city of Banning)

¶ Facebook switched all electric accounts at its Menlo Park headquarters to Peninsula Clean Energy’s ECO100 option, making Facebook the largest participant in Peninsula Clean Energy’s 100% renewable energy option. PCE is San Mateo County’s electric supplier, formed as a Joint Powers Authority of all 20 cities in the county. [InMenlo]

¶ Hurricane Maria has dealt a new blow to Puerto Rico’s bankrupt electric company – causing widespread power outages and imposing costly repairs on a utility that was already struggling with more than $9 billion in debt, poor service and sky-high rates. Puerto Rico’s electric rates are already more than twice the national average. [Chicago Tribune]

San Juan after Hurricane Maria (Alex Wroblewski | Getty Images)

¶ After President Trump’s policy reversals on clean energy and the environment, individual states have stepped up their focus on policies aimed at boosting carbon-free energy. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, states have enacted 59 key energy-related policies through August 2017, with a clear trend toward clean energy. [Utility Dive]

¶ Federal authorities have subpoenaed documents from both companies that abandoned the VC Summer nuclear power construction project in South Carolina, the utilities confirmed, signaling the first concrete evidence of a federal probe into the failure. Both companies said they were cooperating fully with investigators. [Electric Light & Power]

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September 21 Energy News

September 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Climate Devastation In Sequoia National Park” • Surveying the desiccated forest with tourists from all over the world, I felt as though we were among the last people able to enjoy the sequoia as a forest. The desertification of this area seems to be progressing rapidly. The trees might be able to adapt, but many have died already. [CleanTechnica]

Devastation among the sequoia

¶ “Epic – Wind Turbines On Steroids, + Idiotic Clean Energy Forecasts (Charts)” • Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Future of Energy Summit just wrapped up in London. In his keynote presentation, Michael Liebreich stimulated many thoughts about renewable energy, and about far it has exceeded many industry forecasts. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Following in the wake of initiatives such as RE100 and EP100, ten big-name businesses launched EV100 to fast-track the uptake of electric vehicles and accompanying infrastructure. Members of EV100 commit to transitioning from diesel and petrol vehicles to electric vehicles, and installing battery charging infrastructure, by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

Electric car fleet (Image via ecartestdrives)

¶ Reports from Nicaragua say that President Daniel Ortega has confirmed his country will finally sign the Paris Climate Agreement. This means the US and Syria would be the only two countries in the world that are not active parties to it. The Nicaraguan position had been that the Paris Climate Agreement it did not go far enough. [CleanTechnica]

¶ France is set to become Europe’s second biggest generator of electricity from wind power by 2030, overtaking the UK and Spain and only behind Germany, thanks to policies being put in place by its government, industry association WindEurope’s chief executive said. He rates the French outlook for wind power projects as the best in Europe. [Reuters]

Wind turbines near Marseille (Reuters | Jean-Paul Pelissier)

¶ A survey conducted by the European Commission in March found that 92% of European Union citizens consider climate change a serious problem, with 74% calling it “very serious.” An impressive 89% of Europeans believe that it is important for their own national government to set targets to increase renewable energy use by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In April 2016, Pakistan signed a $20 billion deal for liquefied natural gas from Qatar, 2.75 metric tons per year for 15 years. The price is 13.3% of the prevailing price of the a barrel of Brent Oil, used as a benchmark. Today the going spot price for LNG is around 25% less than the contract rate. At that rate, Pakistan is losing over $1 million per day. [Newsline]

LNG carrier

¶ India can surpass its target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, the New and Renewable Energy Secretary Anand Kumar said. Though India will use offshore wind energy and large hydro-electric projects, Kumar cited lower prices of solar and wind power, as he said he expected India to exceed the target. [The Hans India]

¶ The £173 million Snetterton Renewable Energy Plant, situated in Norfolk, officially opened last week. It will generate an estimated 44 MW by burning straw, woodchips, and miscanthus. Miscanthus is a perennial bamboo-like plant that thrives on unproductive land, with the potential to yield 15 tonnes per hectare. [Norfolk Eastern Daily Press]

Crop of miscanthus (Photo: Antony Kelly)

¶ In the latest Renewable Energy Index, Australian large-scale power project construction work has broken through 10,000 jobs. Meanwhile rooftop solar PV installs almost broke 100 MW for the month. Given they will deliver something close to $180 million in bill savings the large lift in solar should not come as much surprise. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ Every General Motors manufacturing plant in Ohio and Indiana will now be completely powered by wind energy thanks to a 200-MW power purchase agreement. The automaker is now the sole user of the 100-MW Northwest Ohio Wind Farm, and another 100 MW will come from the HillTopper Wind Project in Illinois. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Wind farm

¶ Officials celebrated the opening of a landfill gas-to-energy plant in Novato, California. It will provide renewable electricity to customers in four Bay Area counties. The $14.5 million state-of-the-art renewable energy power plant uses methane gas produced at a landfill to power two reciprocating engines that generate 3.9 MW of electricity. [Patch.com]

¶ Hurricane Maria knocked out power across the island of Puerto Rico, home to 3.5 million people, officials have said. The head of the disaster management agency said none of the customers of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority had power. The US National Hurricane Center said “catastrophic” flooding was sweeping parts of the island. [BBC]

San Juan after Hurricane Maria

¶ The US Climate Alliance, a coalition of states backing the Paris Climate Accord, announced that North Carolina had joined in defiance of President Trump’s decision to exit the United Nations pact. Washington Gov Jay Inslee said, “If we were a country, we would be the third-largest economy of any nation in the world.” [Washington Examiner]

¶ Georgia’s Public Service Commission set hearings to determine whether the Vogtle nuclear facility will be completed. A decision should come in February. After two reactors at VC Summers were abandoned, Georgia Power Company told the regulators it wanted to complete the two-reactor project. Vogtle is now the sole new nuclear construction in the US. [The Nerve]

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September 20 Energy News

September 20, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Clean Energy Is America’s Next Frontier & Path to a Safer Climate” • A new report from the NRDC shows how the United States can meet our short- and long-term climate goals relying primarily on today’s proven clean energy solutions – and with tremendous climate and health benefits that far surpass the cost. [Common Dreams]

Proven clean energy solutions (Photo: istock)

Science and Technology:

¶ Eradication of the world’s wildlife is not slowing. The most recent IUCN Endangered Species List includes numerous examples that were recently common but now are “disappearing faster than they can be counted.” Among noteworthy species are North American ash trees, as they fall to invasive beetles driven by a warming climate. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A team of scientists from the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has figured out a way to convert CO2 directly into ethanol and ethylene, using a process powered by solar energy. The team made ethanol, skipping all the steps that involve planting corn, growing it, harvesting it, and processing it into biofuel. [CleanTechnica]

Conversion process (Image: Clarissa Towle | Berkeley Lab)

World:

¶ More than 300 companies worldwide have now committed to setting ambitious Science Based Targets to reduce emissions, with more than 90 new companies joining this year alone. They now include 50 US businesses. Companies that have signed up to the initiative currently represent an estimated $6.5 trillion in market value. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens Gamesa has been selected to supply 28 of its G132-3.465MW turbines to the Arauco wind complex in La Rioja, Argentina. The deal for the third and fourth phases totals 97 MW and marks the South American debut of the turbine model for state-led developer Arauco Sapem. The wind farm is due to be operating by the end of 2018. [reNews]

First phase of the Arauco wind farm (Metalúrgica-Calviño)

¶ Renewable fuels company Velocys has entered into a partnership to prepare the business case for a commercial-scale waste-to-renewable-jet fuel plant in the UK. The prospective plant would take post recycled waste destined for landfill or incineration, and process it into clean-burning, sustainable aviation fuel. [Biofuels International Magazine]

¶ Australia has more than 22,000 sites around the country that could be suitable for pumped hydro storage, according to a study by the Australian National University. Interest in pumped hydro has increased in the wake of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s much-publicised twin visits to the Snowy Hydro scheme since March. [Brisbane Times]

Hydro scheme in the Snowy Mountains (Photo: Supplied)

¶ Renewable electricity is close to reaching a tipping point almost everywhere in the world and “nobody is going to make coal great again,” BNEF founder Michael Liebreich told a clean energy industry event in London. He said solar and onshore wind power had surpassed all orthodox expectations over the past two decades. [www.businessgreen.com]

¶ The City of Fremantle, in Western Australia, has earmarked 2025 as the year they will become fully reliant on renewable energy. Working with a business consortium, the city created a Corporate Energy Plan that outlines the steps needed to make all corporate operations run on 100% renewable energy in the next eight years. [Community Newspaper Group]

Solar power in Western Australia

¶ Global bank Citigroup is to source all its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2020. Citigroup said it will consider onsite electricity generation, power purchase agreements for energy-intensive properties, such as data centers, and renewable energy credits. The bank owns or leases more than 7900 properties in 94 countries. [reNews]

¶ Japan’s Resilience Program is mainly for building municipal back-up capabilities to prepare for disasters like the earthquake and tsunami that caused meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The city of Higashi-Matsushima has chosen to construct micro-grids and de-centralized renewable power generation. [VietNamNet Bridge]

Sunrise in Matsushima Bay (Photo: Shift, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Mississippi Power and Silicon Ranch have commissioned a 50-MW solar project in Hattiesburg, Mississippi that is operating and providing energy to the Mississippi Power grid. The installation, which can produce enough energy to supply power to approximately 6,500 homes, is located on 182 hectares in south Hattiesburg. [PV-Tech]

¶ Over $2 billion has been spent by the federal government on fire suppression efforts so far this budget year, according to the US Forest Service. The predictions that wildfires will become increasingly common and severe over the course of the century as a result of anthropogenic climate change have something substantial to them. [CleanTechnica]

California wildfire (Image: Andrea Booher | FEMA)

¶ Soltage LLC has completed the 4.75-MW Bird Machine Solar Farm on a brownfield in Walpole, Massachusetts. Its 14,600 panels are expected to produce nearly 6,000 MWh of energy per year, equivalent to the power needed for roughly 623 homes. The town will purchase the power at a fixed-price below utility energy costs. [Solar Novus Today]

¶ Georgia Power Co launched a voluntary renewable energy program aimed at the Atlanta-based utility’s commercial and industrial customers. To qualify, a customer must have an aggregate peak demand of 3 MW or greater. The utility has committed to adding up to 1,600 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2021. [Atlanta Business Chronicle]

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