Posts Tagged ‘nuclear’

January 21 Energy News

January 21, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Tokyo University of Science Working on Sustainable, Nontoxic, Potassium-Driven Rechargeable Batteries” • Tokyo University of Science researchers have been studying potassium-ion batteries. They say their performance is similar to lithium-ion batteries, or even better. Also, they are nontoxic and use plentiful materials. [CleanTechnica]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “Machine Learning Experts Issue Call To Arms For Climate Focus” • The global machine learning community isn’t just applying the technology in an ad hoc manner, they are calling for their community to pay attention to several major areas of high value for climate change. Machine learning can be used to find key climate change solutions. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Works Begin At Dogger Bank, The World’s Largest Off-Shore Wind Farm” • Construction is underway at the gigantic Dogger Bank off-shore wind farm being built off the UK. It will outsize all others. Currently, the 659-MW Walney wind farm is the world’s largest. Dogger Bank will have a capacity of 3.6 GW. It is expected to begin operating in 2023. [New Atlas]

GE Renewable’s Haliade-X turbines (GE Renewable Energy)

¶ “Coal Makes A Comeback In India, New Capacity Up 73% In 2019” • India witnessed a sharp rise in new coal-based power generation capacity last year, with dirty power plants accounting for 44% of the total new power generation capacity added in the country. The share is a huge increase from just 21% in 2017 and 25% in 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “India Added 50 Gigawatts Of Renewable Energy Capacity In Last Five Years” • India added 50 GW of renewable energy capacity over the last five years. Government data shows that between March 2015 and December 2019, India added 98 GW of power generation capacity, 52% of which was based on renewable technologies. [CleanTechnica]

Vestas wind turbines (John Turp | Moment | Getty Images)

¶ “Wind Energy Powerhouse Vestas Announces Plans For ‘Zero-Waste’ Turbines” • Vestas said it is aiming to produce “zero-waste” wind turbines by the year 2040. The Danish company said that this would be accomplished through a “circular economy approach” in the design, production, service, and end-of-life parts of the value chain. [CNBC]

¶ “Romania To Exit Deal With Chinese Company For New Nuclear Reactors” • Romania’s Government will exit the deal with the Chinese partner for the construction of reactors 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant, prime minister Ludovic Orban announced in an interview with Hotnews.ro. He is looking for a new partner. [Romania-Insider.com]

Cernavoda nuclear plant (Photo: nuclearelectrica.ro)

¶ “Japan’s Resol Switches On 37-MW PV Plant In Fukushima” • Japanese company Resol Holdinds Co Ltd announced that commercial operations have started at a 37-MW PV plant in Fukushima Prefecture. With a total of 112,104 solar panels, Fukushima Ishikawa covers 72 hectares (177.9 acres) in the city of Ishikawa. [Renewables Now]

Australia:

¶ “Most Australian Chief Executives Believe Climate Crisis A Threat To Business” • PwC’s annual survey of CEOs shows bosses are preparing to cut jobs and don’t think Australia is doing enough to deal with global heating. That dismal picture will doubtless get worse when the effects of the past month’s deadly bushfires take hold. [The Guardian]

Australian bushfire devastation (Dan Himbrechts | EPA)

¶ “A New Disaster In Australia: Toxic Water” • The recent rains have resulted in ash washing into streams and rivers, poisoning the fish. The result is massive fish kills on rivers that run through areas that burned. The ash from the burned landscape is not only toxic to fish; it kills other wildlife also. And of course, it is also toxic to human beings. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “The Majority Of Electric Cars In Australia Are Charged With Renewable Power” • A whopping 75% of electric cars in Australia are charged almost exclusively with renewable power, according to an informal poll of 400 owners conducted by Future Smart Strategies managing director and electric vehicle advocate Prof Ray Wills. [The Driven]

Charging a Kona in New South Wales

¶ “Australian Renewables Sector Poised For New Records In 2020: Rystad” • Australia’s renewable energy market looks to another record year in 2020. Rystad Energy expects wind and PV projects totaling 3.6 GW to complete commissioning, up from 2.6 GW in 2019. The forecast comprises 1.96 GW of utility PVs and 1.57 GW of wind. [EcoGeneration]

US:

¶ “Renewable Energy At Record Levels; Fossil Fuels Face Uncertainties” • Tensions in the Middle East and differences between California and the White House have left the energy sector staring at uncertainty. National and state officials seem diametrically opposed in their approach to addressing the issue of imported oil. [Long Beach Business Journal]

AES Alamitos Energy Center (Photo: Brandon Richardson)

¶ “New Jersey & New York Push EV Purchase & Charging Incentives” • The states of New Jersey and New York ramped up their support for the transition to electric vehicles. New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy signed a new incentive package into law, and New York Gov Andrew Cuomo announced new incentives for installing EV charging equipment. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Energy Choice Falls Flat At Florida Supreme Court After Utility Offensive” • The Florida Supreme Court ruled on January 9 to keep the “Energy Choice” initiative off the Florida ballot in the upcoming general election. Doing this, they were siding with investor-owned utilities and quashing an effort to break up their electric monopolies. [Energy and Policy Institute]

Have a radically superior day.

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January 20 Energy News

January 20, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Fires Set Stage For Irreversible Forest Losses In Australia” • Before the wildfires, ecologists divided up Australia’s native vegetation into two categories: fire-adapted landscapes that burn periodically, and those that don’t burn. Now, that distinction lost meaning. Even rainforests and peat swamps caught fire, likely changing them forever. [The Denver Post]

After a fire (Sebastian Pfautsch via AP)

¶ “NASA And NOAA: 2010s Was The Hottest Decade Ever” • NASA and NOAA both found that the last decade was the hottest ever recorded. NOAA’s data shows global annual temperature increases at an average rate of 0.07°C per decade since 1880 and over twice that since 1981. NASA says every decade has warmer than the one before it. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Single-Use Plastic: China To Ban Bags And Other Items” • China unveiled a major plan to reduce single-use plastics across the country. Non-degradable bags will be banned in major cities by the end of 2020 and in all cities and towns by 2022. Also, the restaurant industry will be banned from using single-use straws by the end of 2020. [BBC]

Rubbish (Getty Images)

¶ “Oil And Gas Companies Will Only Survive The Climate Crisis If They Spend More Now” • The oil and gas industry needs to work harder and faster to tackle the climate crisis if it wants to remain profitable. Oil and gas companies cannot rely on fossil fuels to keep driving returns, the International Energy Agency said in a report. [CNN]

¶ “Hornsea One Will Power Millions of UK Homes” • Hornsea One, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, is almost complete and will power millions of homes in Britain. The farm will span an area of 407 square kilometers and has a capacity of 6 GW. It is also located farther out to see than any other wind farm, 120 km off the coast of England. [CleanTechnica]

Last Hornsea One turbine being installed (Ørsted image)

¶ “Could Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Concentrated Solar Power And PV, Overcome Coal In China?” • A report released this week by Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables has heralded another energy milestone: China will soon be added to that list of countries in which coal energy is no longer more economical than renewable energy. [REVE]

¶ “Qatar To Build Solar Power Plant With Total And Marubeni” • Qatar has signed an agreement with France’s Total and Japan’s Marubeni to build a solar power project with capacity of about 800 MW, Qatar’s energy minister said. The cost of the project is about $467 million. It will reach full capacity by the first quarter of 2022. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Renewable Energy

 

¶ “Dust Storms And Giant Hail Batter Bushfire-Weary Australia” • Thunderstorms and giant hail battered parts of Australia’s east coast on Monday after “apocalyptic” dust storms swept across drought-stricken areas, as extreme weather patterns collided in the bushfire-fatigued country. Violent hail storms pelted the Australian capital, Canberra. [RTL Today]

¶ “Climate Refugees Can’t Be Returned Home, Says Landmark UN Human Rights Ruling” • It is unlawful for governments to return people to countries where their lives might be threatened by the climate crisis, a landmark ruling by the UN human rights committee has found. The judgement is considered to be a legal “tipping point.” [The Guardian]

South Tarawa (Dmitry Malov | Alamy)

US:

¶ “US Army Weighs Up Proposal For Gigantic Sea Wall To Defend NY From Future Floods” • Could a massive sea wall shield New York from the devastation of superstorm surges like Hurricane Sandy’s? The truth is, nobody knows for sure, but a giant sea wall is one serious proposal being investigated by the Army Corps of Engineers. [ScienceAlert]

¶ “Rhode Island Orders 100% Renewables Electricity By 2030” • The governor of Rhode Island, Gina M Raimondo, has signed an executive order that directs the state to source 100% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030. While Rhode Island is not the first state to do so, it is the first state setting such a tight schedule. [Renewables Now]

Offshore wind farm (Beverley Goodwin, CC 2.0 Generic)

¶ “Conservation Groups Sue Trump Administration’s Plan To Frack California Lands” • Groups sued the Trump administration over its plan to allow oil drilling and fracking on over 1 million acres of public lands in Central California. They say the Bureau of Land Management illegally failed to consider the potential of fracking to cause harmful effects. [Santa Barbara Edhat]

¶ “Senate Hearing Evaluates Progress Of Nuclear Energy Innovation And Modernization Act” • The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on progress of the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act. It requires the NRC to develop a new licensing process for “commercial advanced nuclear reactors.” [The Depaulia]

Have a fabulously wonderful day.

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January 19 Energy News

January 19, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Behind The Smokescreen, The Coalition’s Stance On Climate Change Hasn’t Changed At All” • Conservatives have gone from assuring us climate change was not a problem, so we don’t need to worry about reducing emissions, to asserting that climate change is a problem, but we still don’t need to worry about reducing emissions. [The Guardian]

Covered up by smoke (Robert Cianflone | Getty Images)

¶ “Is This The Death Knell For Nuclear?” • Energy experts at Chatham House pointed out that despite continued industry enthusiasm and political support, nuclear power stations are not being built fast enough to replace those closing down. It looks like this is nuclear’s swan song, and we are now unequivocally entering the era of wind and solar power.  [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Australia Fires: Have Gum Trees Made The Bushfires Worse?” • Eucalyptus forests are some of the most flammable in the world. The trees, also known as gum trees, are fire resilient, but they can actually spread fires. Burning bark can break off and be carried in the wind. They can ignite new fires 30 km (18 miles) ahead of the main fire. [BBC]

Burning eucalyptus (Getty Images)

World:

¶ “Gas Heating Is The Biggest Threat To Britain’s Climate Goal” • The UK made history last year when it became the first major economy to commit to pumping no more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than it removes by 2050. By far the biggest threat to the UK’s 2050 ambition comes from the way it heats its homes, schools and hospitals. [CNN]

¶ “Norway Says Its New Giant Oil Field Is Actually Good For The Environment. Critics Call It Climate Hypocrisy” • Norway claims the newly opened Johan Sverdrup oil field is helping to “reduce emissions” because it is powered entirely by renewable energy. Emissions are credited where fuel is burned, not where it is made, so they are not Norway’s problem. [CNN]

Oil field (Carina Johansen | NTB Scanpix | AFP via Getty Images)

¶ “Trump Vs Thunberg: The Climate Crisis Could Dominate Davos” • President Donald Trump and activist Greta Thunberg are getting top billing at the Davos economic forum this year. Trump will deliver what the organizers describe as a special address on Tuesday. Two hours later, Thunberg will open debate on the question of “climate apocalypse.” [CNN]

¶ “Anheuser-Busch InBev’s South African Breweries Goes Electric With The Mitsubishi Fuso eCanter” • South African Breweries, part of the ABInBev family, launched its first electric commercial vehicle at its Chamdor Brewery in Krugersdorp, South Africa. Electrification of its fleet is part of ABInBev’s 2025 sustainability goals. [CleanTechnica]

Mitsubishi Fuso eCanter (Photo by Hideki Machida)

¶ “Fossil Vehicle Sales In Global Freefall – Down 4.7% In 2019! Electric Vehicle Sales Continue To Grow” • The world’s fossil fuel vehicle sales have continued to freefall in 2019, dropping by around 4.35 million, or some 4.7%, compared to 2018. Global electric vehicle sales meanwhile have continued to rise, reaching 4.7% in China and 3.8% in Europe. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Environmental Group Takes Legal Action Against Shell” • A legal case being taken against oil company Shell has a potential to have dramatic consequences. The legal action, which is led by Friends of the Earth Netherlands on behalf of more than 30,000 people from 70 countries, aims to compel the company to “cease its destruction of the climate.” [The National]

Greenpeace protest against Shell

¶ “China Continues To Lead US In Race To Sustainability” • Investment in renewable energy capacity worldwide was $282.2 billion last year, according to new data from BloombergNEF increasing by 1% compared to 2018’s $280.2 billion. China, the world’s largest market, is slipping back, but China is still leading the US. [Power Engineering International]

US:

¶ “The Unapologetic, Progressive Coal Miner’s Daughter Taking Another Run For US Senate” • Paula Jean Swearingen is a coal miner’s daughter and granddaughter. Mining diseases killed her father and her grandfather. She saw mountaintop removal take jobs away from coal miners and poison the water. She says, “We need to fight back.” [Beckley Register-Herald]

Paula Jean Swearingen (Rick Barbero | The Register-Herald)

¶ “Judge Orders Clean Energy Measures To Proceed” • After Oregon’s secretary of state blocked two ballot initiatives for clean energy, saying they violated a state requirement that legislative measures stick to one subject, a county judge ordered her to process them and bring them before voters in the November election.  [Lewiston Morning Tribune]

¶ “University At Albany Sets Out To Reduce Carbon Footprint” • The University at Albany is gearing up to chase net-zero carbon-neutral status. Last month, UAlbany received a $2 million grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to plan how to go net zero. It won’t be quick or easy, but it can be done. [The Daily Gazette]

Campus Center West (Patrick Dodson | University At Albany)

¶ “New Report Indicates Continued Decline In Gas Emissions” • Hawaii is making progress in mitigating the threats of climate change. According to recently reported data, the state is on target to meet the its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Hawaii has an energy goal is to achieve 100% clean energy by 2045. [Big Island Now]

¶ “First US Nuclear Power Plant To Be Removed From Fort Belvoir” • The first nuclear power facility providing electricity to the US power grid is nearing the final steps of dismantling. The SM-1 nuclear reactor was opened in 1957, and approximately 800 nuclear operators and technicians were trained there. It was decommissioned in 1973. [WTOP]

Have a seriously commendable day.

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January 18 Energy News

January 18, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Oil And Gas Sector Told To Step Up Climate Game Or Lose Investment” • The oil and gas industry is on the verge of losing its “social license,” the goodwill needed for companies to attract investors and avoid public backlash, as a result of its inadequate response to climate change, according to the chairman of the UK Oil and Gas Authority. [Greentech Media]

Oil platform (Credit: Michal | Wachucik Equinor | Abermedia)

¶ “Five Clean Energy Trends To Watch In 2020” • At the start of 2020, analysts bravely stepped out on a limb to predict how the turbulent energy market and energy systems will evolve at the beginning of the new decade. Five experts are optimistic that the US is set to make important steps toward a cleaner energy mix this year. [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ “How Climate Change Influenced Australia’s Unprecedented Fires” • Despite widespread conspiracy theories about the fires, emerging science continues to find links between global warming and worsening wildfires. Global warming directly intensifies wildfires by drying out soil and vegetation, creating more fuel to burn farther and faster. [Yale Climate Connections]

Wildfire

¶ “Australia’s Heat And Bushfires Are Signs Of Fundamental Shifts In Its Climate” • It is the frequency and intensity of heat and drought conditions causing fires that is so concerning, says University of Melbourne scientist Linden Ashcroft. She says the trends are “exactly in line with what the [climate] science said 10 or 20 years ago.” [Yale Climate Connections]

World:

¶ “Heavy Rains Hit Some Blaze-Hit Regions” • Heavy rains and thunderstorms have hit parts of Australia’s east coast, dousing some of its fires but bringing a new threat of flooding. Major roads were closed in Queensland, and power cuts were reported in parts of New South Wales as a result of the weather, but the rain is helping with fires. [BBC]

Rain in Sydney (EPA image)

¶ “India’s Renewable Energy Generation Registers Lowest Growth In Four Years” • India’s renewable energy generation grew at a dismal pace of 5.22% in the first eight months of the current financial year, the lowest rate of growth in the past four years since 2015-16, according to fresh data from the Central Electricity Authority. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ “Trianel Takes A Flexible Approach” • Trianel, a German company, is starting an initiative aimed to deliver grid flexibility management to cover Germany’s growing share of renewable energy. The ‘FlexStore’ cooperation network will help municipal utilities and other project partners to identify opportunities for flexible grid management. [reNEWS]

Wind turbine construction (Trianel image)

¶ “Work Starts On World’s ‘Largest Offshore Wind Farm,’ Which Could Power 4.5 Million Homes” • Construction work for a huge offshore wind farm in the North Sea is underway. Energy firm SSE said that onshore work for the 3.6-GW Dogger Bank Wind Farms project had begun near Ulrome, a coastal village in the East Riding of Yorkshire. [CNBC]

¶ “Sustainable Investors Target Renewables” • The primary focus of real asset investors looking to boost returns from sustainable investments is renewables, according to a report by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. The ‘MIRA ESG (environmental, social and governance) Survey’ found 29% of ESG strategies by investors focused on clean power. [reNEWS]

Wind turbines (Abby Anaday | Unsplash)

¶ “Japanese Court Stops Nuclear Reactor From Resuming Operations Again, Cites Volcano And Earthquake Risks” • A Japanese nuclear reactor near a fault line must remain shut because of risks of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, a high court ruled. The Japanese public has largely turned against atomic power since the Fukushima Disaster. [News18]

US:

¶ “Kids’ Climate Lawsuit Thrown Out By Appeals Court” • A federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit brought by a group of young people that had sought to compel the federal government to rein in the nation’s climate emissions. The court concluded that the youths lacked standing to sue the government over its actions. [InsideClimate News]

Youth suit over climate change (Robin Loznak)

¶ “More Americans Are Alarmed By Global Warming Than Ever Before, Survey Reveals” • The proportion of Americans who are “alarmed” by global warming is now at an all-time high, a survey shows. It was conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication. [CNN]

¶ “Eagle Joins Vail Valley Communities Spending More For Renewable Energy” • Eagle, Colorado will spend 10% more for electricity to buy it from renewable sources. In 2019 the town paid Holy Cross Energy $260,000 for electricity. Now, the town board voted to spend an extra $27,500 annually to get some of its electricity from renewable sources. [Vail Daily News]

Wind turbines in the mountains (High Plains Public Radio)

¶ “More Evidence Of A Republican Pivot On Climate” • The Republican Party has been locked to fossil fuel funding and Libertarian oligarchs. It has chosen for the past 20 years to use wedge politics to scoop up climate change denialists, along with other fringe groups. But things are changing, and in some ways surprisingly so. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “YouTube Still Promotes Climate Disinformation, Report Finds” • You don’t have to look far to find misinformation about climate science continuing to spread online through prominent social media channels like California-based YouTube. That’s despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are driving the climate crisis. [EcoWatch]

Have a superbly well-ordered day.

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January 17 Energy News

January 17, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Giant Jet Engines Aim To Make Our Flying Greener” • The aerospace industry is under pressure to reduce its environmental impact. Aircraft are getting more efficient, but airline traffic is growing even faster. Rolls-Royce has a solution, which involves building a much bigger, much more efficient jet engine. It is made largely of carbon fiber. [BBC]

Ultrafan engine (Rolls-Royce image)

World:

¶ “Nestlé Is Spending Billions To Create A Market For Recycled Plastics” • Nestlé, the world’s biggest food company, said it would cut costs in other parts of its business to free up more than 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.6 billion) to buy 2 million metric tons of recycled plastic up to 2025. The company hopes to reduce its use of virgin plastics by a third. [CNN]

¶ “Volkswagen CEO: We Need To Move Faster On Electric Vehicles Or We Will Follow Nokia’s Fate” • Volkswagen’s CEO, Herbert Diess, reportedly expressed yet again the corporation’s internal struggles regarding the transition to EVs. According to Reuters, he noted that Volkswagen could end up going the route of Nokia if it moves too slowly. [CleanTechnica]

Angela Merkel at Zwickau (Volkswagen image)

¶ “Esperance To Receive Renewables Hub, Reduced Emissions Under 20-Year Power Deal” • In Western Australia, the town of Esperance is on track to reduce carbon emissions by close to 50% with a more efficient power station, battery storage system, and renewables hub for the region. The move is expected to reduce the price of electricity by 39%. [Esperance Express]

¶ “India Will Have 225 GW Of Renewable Energy Capacity By 2022, Including Large Hydro: MNRE Secy” • India will have an installed renewable energy generation capacity of 225 GW by 2022, including large hydro projects, according to Anand Kumar, Secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, speaking at an industry event. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Coal and wind in Germany (Lukas Schulze | Getty Images)

¶ “Germany To Press Renewables Accelerator” • The German government is to accelerate renewables deployment in line with its 65% 2030 target, as it moves to phase out coal generation. In a bill launching this month, the country will commit to phasing out coal-fired power generation. The legislative process is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020. [reNEWS]

¶ “Germany Will Pay Billions To Speed Up Coal-Fired Power Plant Shutdowns” • Germany will pay utility companies billions of euros to speed up the shutdown of their coal-fired power plants as part of the country’s efforts to fight climate crisis, the government has said. The move is to cover losses for companies that depend on coal. [The Guardian]

New coal-burning plant in Germany (Friedemann Vogel | EPA)

US:

¶ “Tri-State G&T To Boost Renewable Energy Goal To 50% By 2024” • Tri-State Generation & Transmission serves the needs of 43 electric cooperatives in four states. They have pushed it to go to renewables. According to the Denver Post, Tri-State intends to increase the amount of electricity it generates from renewable sources to 50% by 2024. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Toyota Invests In Joby Aviation Electric Air Taxi Service” • Toyota, the company that refuses to take battery electric cars seriously, has invested $394 million in Joby Aviation, an electric air taxi service based in California. The money was part of a $590 million Series C funding round, according to TechCrunch. It has raised a total of $720 million. [CleanTechnica]

Joby eVTOL (Image credit: Joby Aviation)

¶ “Microsoft Pledges To Go ‘Climate Negative,’ And Remove 45-Years Of Company Emissions” • American tech giant Microsoft made an ambitious pledge to effectively reverse the company’s historical contributions to climate change, and says it will remove the entirety of its carbon footprint made since the company’s founding 45 years ago. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Direct Energy Works With Sprint For 100% RE In Virginia Operations” • Sprint and Direct Energy Renewable Services have announced that all of the over 800 Virginia Spring locations will be served with 100% renewable energy. This agreement includes Sprint’s retail locations, cell phone towers, and Sprint’s east coast corporate office in Reston, Virginia. [Saurenergy]

Turbine in a wind farm (GE Renewable Energy)

¶ “Blackout On Renewable-Energy Study Called Politically Expedient” • Environmentalists filed suit to unearth a taxpayer-funded study on the electricity grid. The Center for Biological Diversity got no answer for a records request filed last October. The DOE had pulled back a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. [Courthouse News Service]

¶ “BPU Approves Partnership To Bring Solar And Wind Energy To Los Alamos” • New Mexico’s Department of Public Utilities has approved a Power Purchase Agreement for Uniper Global Commodities to get 15 MW of electricity from wind and solar projects in New Mexico. The PPA covers renewable electricity at night. [Los Alamos Daily Post]

Wind farm (Courtesy photo)

¶ “US Renewable Energy Investment Surges To Record As Investors Shrug Off Trump’s Views” • US investors don’t appear to share President Donald Trump’s doubts about renewable energy and climate change, pouring a record amount of cash into wind, solar and other clean power. Renewable sector spending in the US jumped 28% to $55.5 billion last year. [Karma]

¶ “Colorado Uranium Producer Lays Off Third Of Utah Workforce” • A Colorado energy company laid off a third of its workforce in southeast Utah, primarily at the last conventional uranium mill operating in the US. Energy Fuels Inc laid off 24 of its 79 employees, most of them at the White Mesa Mill, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. [Argus Press]

Have a creatively productive day.

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January 16 Energy News

January 16, 2020

Opinion and Interviews:

¶ “Sir David Attenborough Warns Of Climate ‘Crisis Moment'” • “The moment of crisis has come” in efforts to tackle climate change, Sir David Attenborough has warned. According to the renowned naturalist and broadcaster, “we have been putting things off for year after year.” Sir David’s comments came in a BBC News interview. [BBC]

Probably time to do something (Getty Images)

¶ “Exhibit 9,172 That Global Warming Is An Urgent Threat” • Not only did 2019 barely miss out on being the hottest year ever recorded on planet Earth, but it brought to a close the hottest decade ever, according to statistics provided by NASA and NOAA. The report from the two agencies notes that the past five years were the five hottest on record. [CNN]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Irrigation Keeps Things Cool In Extreme Heat” • A study in Nature Communications examined the influence of irrigation on extreme heat. The cooling effect of irrigation over regions studied partly or completely offset the effect of global warming contributing to more frequent and intense heat extremes by up to a factor of eight. [Futurity]

Watering (Getty Images)

¶ “Marine Heatwave Known As ‘The Blob’ Killed A Million US Seabirds” • A million seabirds that died along the US west coast were probably the victims of an unprecedented marine heatwave in the Pacific. Common murres have died en masse in the past, never like this. Such events are expected to become increasingly frequent due to climate change. [New Scientist]

World:

¶ “BBC Launches New Climate Coverage” • The BBC announced plans for a year-long series of special programming and coverage on climate change. The Our Planet Matters project is to have news services and shows, including a new monthly Climate Check podcast from BBC Weather, and coverage of debates and events around the globe. [BBC]

Wildfire in Australia (Getty Images)

¶ “Coalition’s Axing Of Funding To Climate Change Adaptation Body Condemned” • The Australian Coalition government’s decision to axe funding to a climate change adaptation research body in 2017 has left the country “not well positioned” to deal with fires, the “silent killer” of drought, and other global heating impacts, its director has said. [The Guardian]

¶ “Volkswagen Will Be World’s Largest EV Manufacturer By 2030, Claims Report” • Wood Mackenzie says in a report that Volkswagen is on pace to be the largest manufacturer of electric cars by the end of this decade. Globally, it is currently in 10th place. The company says it expects to produce 22 million battery electric vehicles by 2028. [CleanTechnica]

Volkswagen ID Buzz (Image courtesy of Volkswagen)

¶ “Renewable energy’s advance drives Australia’s carbon emissions lower” • Record levels of renewable energy produced the first drop in Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions since 2015. But if the level of reduction is maintained the rate of decline would mean the country’s Paris pledge would be met 68 years late. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ “Citi Explains Why There’s An ‘Ultimate Cap’ On Oil Prices” • David Bailin, CIO of Citi Private Bank, said the cost of producing electricity from solar energy has been lower than that of fossil fuels for two years. That’s a “permanent change” that will limit how high oil prices can climb, he said. The global oil supply is currently running ahead of demand. [CNBC]

UK solar system (Andrew Aitchison | In Pictures | Getty Images)

¶ “Last Pickering Reactor To Be Shut By 2025” • The last reactor at the Pickering nuclear station will be shut down within five years, says Ontario Energy Minister Greg Rickford. After the Star revealed the 49-year-old Ontario Power Generation facility is getting its life extended, Rickford emphasized the power-plant will be slowly phased offline. [durhamregion.com]

US:

¶ “Electric Aircraft Pilot Training Is Arriving” • Quantum Air and OSM Aviation Group announced an electric aircraft pilot training partnership. OSM Aviation Academy will conduct the Quantum-branded pilot training program according to FAA commercial standards. Electric urban air mobility is taking shape one step at a time. [CleanTechnica]

Bye Aerospace eFlyer (Photo courtesy of Bye Aerospace)

¶ “Visa Reaches 100% Renewable Electricity Goal” • Visa, based in Foster City, California, announced it has met its goal to use 100% renewable electricity by 2020, furthering its commitment to lead responsibly and sustainably across the company’s US and global operations, including 131 offices in 76 countries and four global processing centers. [SB News]

¶ “Harvard Law Students Protest Firm Representing Exxon In Climate Lawsuit” • Harvard law students disrupted a recruiting event for Paul Weiss, the law firm representing ExxonMobil in climate lawsuits over what it knew and what it said about climate change. The protesters hope to open a new climate activism front in the legal world. [The Guardian]

Harvard Law School (Photo: Steven Senne | AP)

¶ “Gov Raimondo Offers New Vision For Renewables And Transit” • Rhode Island Gov Gina Raimondo gave her State of the State address on Jan 14. Some of the loudest applause followed what she said about environmental issues. She said her vision was to see Rhode Island using 100% renewable electricity by the end if this decade. [ecoRI news]

¶ “Renewables Quench PepsiCo Thirst For Power” • PepsiCo plans to get all its electricity in the US from renewable energy by the end of this year. The company said the US is its largest market and accounts for nearly half of its total global electricity consumption. It said PPAs will finance the development of new wind and solar farms. [reNEWS]

Have a decidedly good day.

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January 15 Energy News

January 15, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Oppenheimer: Tesla Is An ‘Existential Threat’ To Automakers” • On CNBC’s Power Lunch, Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch explained that Tesla has proven to be an existential threat for automakers. The idea that Tesla is an existential threat to other automakers just seems accurate. It is what CleanTechnica has been publishing for many years. [CleanTechnica]

Elon Musk (CNBC via Twitter)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Air Filters Used In LA Schools Linked To Higher Test Scores” • NYU Assistant Professor of Economics Michael Gilraine studied what happened when Los Angeles area schools had air filters installed during the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak. The air filters were linked to increases in test scores equivalent to two and a half months of extra learning. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Reconnecting With Nature ‘Triggers’ Eco-Actions” • People who have access to nature or urban green spaces are much more likely to behave in environmentally friendly ways, a study in the journal Environment International suggests. Researchers used a representative sample of 24,000 people in England for their study of green behavior. [BBC]

Green space

World:

¶ “Rupert Murdoch’s Son Lashes Out Against Fox And His Father’s Other News Outlets For Climate Change Coverage” • Rupert Murdoch’s son, James Murdoch, and his wife are lashing out against his father’s sprawling media empire for how it covers the climate crisis, especially in light of the fires raging in the family’s native Australia. [CNN]

¶ “The Glitzy European City Going Green” • Monaco is the most densely populated country in the world. But it is where Jessica Sbaraglia, a 31-year-old Swiss native and former tennis pro and model, launched her urban agriculture business Terre de Monaco in 2016. Now she has five micro farms on Monaco’s rooftops, balconies, and hidden plots of land. [BBC]

Monaco

¶ “BlackRock Is Changing Its Investment Strategy Because Of Climate Change” • BlackRock, the massive asset manager in charge of $7 trillion, will ditch investments that it considers a sustainability risk, including thermal coal producers – part of an effort to put sustainability at the center of its approach to investing. [CNN]

¶ “‘Must Run’ Status, No Power Curtailment For Renewable Energy Plants: Expert Panel” • An expert group reviewing the Indian Electricity Grid Code has asserted that renewable energy power plants shall be treated as “must run” and electricity from these plants shall not be curtailed for any commercial reasons. Several states now curtail them. [The Indian Express]

Wind farm in India

¶ “Transitioning To 100% Renewable Energy By 2050 Would Pay For Itself” • A global effort to eliminate the world’s greenhouse gas emissions implies a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050. According to analysis, that would cost C$95 trillion ($72.7 trillion), but the investment would pay for itself in only seven years. [The Weather Network]

¶ “SECI Invites Solar, Wind Energy Generators To Supply Power Through Open Access” • The Solar Energy Corporation of India has invited Expression of Interest from renewable energy generators for the supply of power through open access. These are already commissioned renewable plants that have no active power purchase agreement. [Mercom India]

Renewable generation (Credit: Kenueone, CC0)

¶ “Australia’s Science Minister Calls For End To Debate Over Whether Climate Change Is Real” • Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews has warned denying climate change is a waste of time that should instead be spent on the urgent need to implement steps for mitigation and adaptation. [SBS]

¶ “Nuclear Power ‘Cannot Rival Renewable Energy’” • Nuclear power is in terminal decline worldwide and will never make a serious contribution to tackling climate change, according to a group of energy experts. The nuclear power stations being built worldwide will not be enough to replace those closing down, as solar and wind power are increasing. [EcoWatch]

Nuclear plant (© Allard Schager | Moment | Getty Images)

US:

¶ “Warmer Temperatures Linked To Increase In US Injury Deaths, Study Says” • A temperature increase of 1.5°C (2.7°F) would cause an additional 1,600 injury deaths every year in the US, according to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine. The majority of those deaths, 84%, would be among men, the study said. [CNN]

¶ “Replacing Coal With Renewables Could Save Energy Customers $8 Billion A Year, Financial Analysts Find” • Analysts at Morgan Stanley and Moody’s Investors Service expect electric utilities to accelerate their transition away from coal. Replacing coal with renewable energy could save electricity customers as much as $8 billion each year. [DeSmog]

Wind and coal (Credit: Andrew, Creative Commons)

¶ “New Plates In Kansas Will Emphasize Renewable Energy” • Kansas will begin issuing new personalized license plates that emphasize the state’s growing use of renewable energy. The “Powering the Future” plates feature wind turbines profiled against a sunrise. Windpower supplies Kansas with more than 36% of its electricity. [KCTV Kansas City]

¶ “Three-Quarters Of New US Generating Capacity In 2020 Will Be Renewable, EIA Says” • According to the latest EIA data, wind and solar will make up 32 GW of the 42 GW of new capacity additions expected to start commercial operation in 2020, respectively, dwarfing the 9.3 GW of natural-gas-fired plants to come online this year. [Greentech Media]

Have a gloriously gorgeous day.

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January 14 Energy News

January 14, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Business Leaders Must Help Fight The Climate Crisis” • This is a make-or-break year. Global emissions have risen for three consecutive years when they should be dropping sharply, if the world is to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement. I’m an optimist, and I believe we can respond with material action. But we are running out of time. [CNN]

Moy Wind Farm, Scotland (Mars Incorporated)

¶ “Five 2020 Energy Predictions: Solar Surge, Coal Crash, Gas Exorcism, Clean Energy Incentives, Public Mobilization” • Five leading energy and climate policy experts shared predictions for the year and decade ahead. Among them are a record year for solar, federal incentives for clean energy, the end of coal, and the beginning of the end for natural gas. [Forbes]

¶ “It’s Clear Who’s To Blame for Australia’s Fires, And It’s Not Arsonists” • The Australian bushfires are due to the actions of a relatively small number of people, but they are not the several dozen arsonists that right-wing media outlets have attempted to blame. The true arsonists are the people who lead 90 of the world’s most polluting companies. [VICE]

Australian fire (Sam Mooy | /Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Oceans Are Warming At The Same Rate As If Five Hiroshima Bombs Were Dropped In Every Second” • A study showed that 2019 was another year of record ocean warming.The world’s oceans are now heating at the same rate as if five Hiroshima atomic bombs were dropped into the water every second, scientists have said.  [CNN]

¶ “Australia Fires Will Be ‘Normal’ In Warmer World” • UK scientists say the recent fires in Australia are a taste of what the world will experience as temperatures rise. Prof Richard Betts from the Met Office Hadley Centre said we are “seeing a sign of what would be normal conditions under a future warming world of 3°C.” [BBC]

Aftermath of a fire (Getty Images)

World:

¶ “Germany Could Lose 410,000 Auto Industry Jobs By 2030, Claims New Report” • A report from Germany’s National Platform For The Future Of Mobility says the German auto industry could lose up to 410,000 jobs between now and 2030 due to changes in how people get from Point A to Point B in the future, particularly with more EVs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “China 2019 Electric Vehicle Market Share Grows To 4.7% Despite Tighter Incentives” • In China, as sales of combustion vehicles fell 8.4%, EVs gained market share. Government officials expect fossil vehicles sales to fall again in 2020 but EV sales will remain relatively healthy. Tesla’s locally made vehicles are part of the reason for that. [CleanTechnica]

Shanghai (Courtesy of sdweathers from Pixabay)

¶ “Sadiq Khan And Octopus Energy Launch New Renewable Company” • Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced via Twitter the launch of accessible energy company London Power in partnership with Octopus Energy. They aim to combat fuel poverty in London, where the problem affects more than a million people. [Power Technology]

¶ “Ideol Hails Performance Of French Floater” • The 2-MW Floatgen floating wind turbine off western France exceeded production and availability expectations in the second half of 2019, according to its developer Ideol. The turbine more than doubled its power production in comparison with the first half, to reach an annual total of 6 GWh. [reNEWS]

Floatgen (Ideol image)

¶ “Brazil Okays 1.16 GW Of Renewable Supply From Oct 18 Auction” • Brazil’s power sector regulator Aneel approved 58 of the winning projects from the A-6 energy auction held on October 18, 2019, representing a combined capacity of 1,162 MW. Overall, 91 power plants relying on wind, biomass and hydro won contracts in the tender. [Renewables Now]

¶ “ADFD Allocates $105 Million to Fund Eight Renewable Energy Projects” • Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has allocated approximately $105 million for eight renewable energy projects under the seventh cycle of its partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency. The announcement made during the 10th IRENA Assembly. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Renewable power (IRENA image)

¶ “Parkwind Notches First Power At Northwester 2” • The 219-MW Northwester 2 offshore wind farm has begun delivering clean electricity to the Belgian grid, after its first turbine was commissioned. The wind farm, being developed by Parkwind, is expected to be fully operational by the summer. It is comprised of 23 MHI Vestas V164-9.5 MW turbines. [reNEWS]

US:

¶ “Bill McKibben Organizing Protests Against Banks That Fund Fossil Fuel Industry” • Bill McKibben got arrested once again on January 10th as he and other climate protesters blocked an ATM at a Chase Bank in New York City. Since the Paris Agreement, the bank has loaned $195 billion  to fund fossil fuels. Other banks are not far behind. [CleanTechnica]

Image by Stop The Money Pipeline

¶ “National Community Solar Programs Tracker” • Individuals can subscribe to a portion of a community solar project and get credits on their energy bill for the electricity it produces. This way, people who cannot have solar PVs at home can benefit. A few states have laws that support community solar projects, and we track them here. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “SC Law Makers Looking To Receive Proposals For Santee Cooper” • Further discussion on Santee Cooper is expected this week among South Carolina law makers. Santee Cooper is around $8 million in debt. After the VC Summer Disaster, the company abandoned its share in two nuclear reactors after 10 years of planning and construction. [WFXG]

Have an appreciably cheerful day.

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January 13 Energy News

January 13, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Can solar geoengineering mitigate both climate change and income inequality?” • Research from the University of California San Diego finds that solar geoengineering – the intentional reflection of sunlight away from the Earth’s surface – may reduce income inequality between countries. The study was published in Nature Communications. [EurekAlert]

Greenhouse Products in Mali (Anastasia Sogodogo | USAID)

World:

¶ “EIB Backs PGE With €64 Million For 100-MW Klaster” • The European Investment Bank backed PGE Polska with funding of €64 million to support construction of three new wind farms on the Polish Baltic coast totalling 97 MW. The amount covers about 50% of the costs of the Klaster project, which is comprised of the Starza, Rybice, and Karnice 2 sites. [reNEWS]

¶ “Construction Crews On The Clock At Borssele 1&2” • Ørsted has kicked off offshore construction at its 752-MW Borssele 1&2 wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands. DEME Offshore hammered home the first of 94 monopile foundations. The first tubular will be the heaviest and tallest at the project, at 1188 tonnes and 76 meters. [reNEWS]

Ship working at Borssele 1&2 (Ørsted image)

¶ “Ørsted, Equinor Spearhead Global Offshore Coalition” • Ørsted and Equinor have joined forces to lead a new group to advance the deployment of offshore renewable energy to mitigate climate change. The international Ocean Renewable Action Coalition will champion offshore wind, floating solar, tidal and wave power. [reNEWS]

¶ “Community-Generated Green Electricity To Be Offered To All In UK” • Everywhere in the UK, homes will soon be able to plug into community wind and solar farms through the first energy tariff to offer clean electricity entirely from community projects. Co-op Energy will source the electricity from 90 local renewable power projects. [The Guardian]

Small windfarm in Scotland (Murdo Macleod | The Guardian)

¶ “IRENA: Renewable Energy Must Double In 10 Years” • The International Renewable Energy Agency said that to address climate change, renewable sources need to grow from the current 26% of global power to at least 57% by 2030. This will require annual investment in the sector to double from $330 billion to $750 billion. [Gulf News]

¶ “Georgia Green Light For 108-MW Wind Duo” • Georgia’s government has approved construction of two wind farms totaling 108 MW in the European country. The approval means Georgia Capital can now finalize power purchase agreements with the government. The two wind farms are expected to be commissioned in 2022. [reNEWS]

Wind farm (Science in HD | Unsplash)

¶ “Austria Pledges To Fit 1 Million Roofs With Solar By 2030” • Austria’s new government promised a program to put PVs on a million roofs as part of its plan for climate neutrality by 2040. The governing coalition of the conservative Austrian People’s Party and the Green Party has pledged to source all its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. [Forbes]

¶ “Canada Nuclear Plant: Alert About Incident Sent In Error” • An emergency alert for an incident at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station near Toronto was sent to mobile phones in error, officials say. The warning said staff were responding to an incident at the plant, but then, almost two hours later, a second alert said the initial message was wrong. [BBC]

Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (Reuters)

Australia:

¶ “‘Perfect Storm’: The Energy Industry Struggles To Keep The Lights On” • This summer began with parts of Victoria’s grid looking very frail. With scorching forecasts and multiple power plant units taken offline for unplanned repairs, over a million households were facing blackouts. Then bushfires brought down vital interstate links. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ “Australian Firefighters Say ‘Megablaze’ Near Sydney Is Under Control” • Exhausted firefighters said the largest “megablaze” is under control, as wet weather promised to deliver a respite that is much needed. The vast Gospers Mountain fire on Sydney’s northwestern outskirts has been burning out of control for nearly three months. [The Japan Times]

Wallaby eating a carrot (NSW DPIE handout, via Reuters)

¶ “‘Port Arthur Moment’: Business Urges PM To Lead On Climate Amid Bushfire Crisis” • Business leaders have described the unfolding bushfire crisis as a “Port Arthur moment”, urging the Morrison government to adopt a co-ordinated national strategy to address climate change and aggressively reduce carbon emissions. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

US:

¶ “Largest Electric School Bus Program In United States Launching In Virginia” • Dominion Energy partnered with local Virginia school districts to begin replacing diesel buses with 100% electric school buses in phases. Thomas Built Buses Inc has been selected as the provider of all 50 of the initial electric school buses. [CleanTechnica]

Proterra Jouley Electric School Bus (Courtesy Proterra)

¶ “Natural Gas Provided False Promise, Deception – Severe Health Problems From ‘Natural’ Gas” • It is called natural gas, but hydraulic fracking makes the fuel source anything but natural. Some of the chemicals used but exempted from regulations have been proven to cause significant health problems, and they will be there for generations to come. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Holtec Pilgrim, LLC; Holtec Decommissioning International, LLC; Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station” • In response to a request from the licensee, the NRC issued an exemption to permit decommissioning companies to reduce the required level of primary offsite liability insurance for the Pilgrim nuclear plant from $450 million to $100 million. [Insurance News Net]

Have a downright delightful day.

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January 12 Energy News

January 12, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Scott Morrison Can’t Afford To Waste The Bushfire Crisis When Australia Urgently Needs Its Own Green New Deal” • The lies of the climate deniers have to be rejected. This is a time for truth telling, not obfuscation and gaslighting, writes former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. He calls for a Green New Deal in Australia. [The Guardian]

Dunn Road fire (Sam Mooy | Getty Images)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Hyundai Debuts A Vertical Take-Off Air Taxi” • Carmaker Hyundai Motor Co revealed plans at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to make electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) tilt rotor aircraft to serve as air taxis for a planned Uber passenger service called Uber Elevate. The S-A1 has a cruising speed of 180 mph and a 60-mile range. [DesignNews]

World:

¶ “Mercedes Vans Needs To Reach 50% BEV In 2020 To Escape EU Fines” • Under new EU fuel efficiency regulations, passenger cars and light vans are in different classes. Car manufacturers can’t compensate a surplus in one class to balance a deficit in the other.  To avoid fines, 50% of Mercedes vans have to be EVs this year. They were just introduced. [CleanTechnica]

Mercedes eVito

¶ “London Launching A 100% Zero-Emissions Street” • London has indicated that Beech Street will soon be a zero-emissions street, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Beech Street will go emissions-free in the spring of this year, assuming the plan is approved by Transport for London. It is a pilot program that will run for 18 months. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power Plans $10 Billion Of Investments In 2020” • Saudi Arabian utility developer ACWA Power plans to invest about $10 billion in 2020 as it eyes new projects in some 10 countries, its chief executive said. The company, which builds power and desalinated water plants, has plans to build renewable energy plants in new markets. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Transmission lines in a desert

¶ “Nuclear Safety Agency Approves Additional Spent Fuel Storage Facility” • South Korea’s nuclear safety agency said that it has approved the construction of seven additional spent fuel storage structures at the Wolsong nuclear power plant to allow for uninterrupted power generation. The state-owned utility is running out of storage space. [The Korea Bizwire]

¶ “Energy Transformation Can Create More Than 40 Million Jobs In Renewable Energy” • If renewable energy is used to its full potential, the field could employ more than 40 million people by 2050, under the International Renewable Energy Agency’s climate safe energy path, according to a report published by the agency during its 10th Assembly. [REVE]

Wind turbine blades ready for installation

Australia:

¶ “Australia Fires: PM Admits Mistakes In Handling Of Crisis” • Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed regret over his handling of the bushfire crisis ravaging the country. The PM has faced mounting criticism over his government’s response to the bushfires and its climate policy. He has been heckled severely on visits to fire-hit communities. [BBC]

¶ “Australian Megafire Engulfs Nearly 1.5 Million Acres” • Two wildfires in southeastern Australia have merged, creating one megafire that spans 2,300 square miles (6,000 square km – somewhat larger than the US state of Delaware). It is just one of at least 155 are burning in New South Wales, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. [Livescience.com]

Air tanker fighting the fire (Image: © Brook Mitchell | Getty)

¶ “Scientists Paint Australia Fires As Red Alert On Climate Change” • Large swathes of Australia are battling wildfires that have killed 27 people and torched more than 10 million hectares (25 million acres) in the wake of the nation’s hottest and driest year on record. Not every year will be this bad, one scientist said, but future years could be much worse. [Reuters]

¶ “Australia Fires: Plants Photographed Regrowing In Ashes” • The unprecedented bushfires sweeping parts of Australia have devastated huge areas of the country’s natural environment. But in some recently-burned areas, signs of life are returning, as captured by local photographer Murray Lowe, as he investigated how fire had affected the bush. [BBC]

Three weeks after a fire (Murray Lowe)

US:

¶ “Traffic On Monongahela River Slows Due To Slump In Coal Demand” • Pittsburgh’s three rivers have dropped from being the No 1 inland port in the US to fourth due to the slump in the demand for coal. Shipping on the rivers has dropped from nearly 52 million tons in the early part of this century to 27 million in 2017, an official report says. [Observer-Reporter]

¶ “Western States Face Huge Coal Mine Cleanup Liability, Study Says” • Wyoming has a colossal cleanup project on its hands. About 83,000 acres of land sit unreclaimed by coal companies in the state. It is by far the most acreage among its Western peers, according to a report by the Western Organization of Resource Councils. [Wyoming Tribune]

Eagle Butte coal mine (Carol M Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Climate Change Could Stress Mind And Body, Modesto Audience Hears. But There’s Hope” • Experts spoke at Modesto Junior College about how climate change could affect health in California’s Central Valley. More smoke from wildfires, more mold in flooded homes, and psychological effects, including despair, may be seen. But there is hope. [Modesto Bee]

¶ “Bankrupt Coal Company Blackjewel Accuses CEO Of Fraud” • Attorneys for coal company Blackjewel LLC and its creditors asked a judge to let them examine the finances of former CEO Jeff Hoops, alleging that he took millions of dollars for personal gain. They said the company was “woefully insolvent” when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. [K2 Radio]

Have a faultlessly superlative day.

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January 11 Energy News

January 11, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Australia Is Burning. The Arctic Is Melting. Yet Trump Keeps Gutting Climate Change Regulations.” • Increasingly, the world is feeling the dangerous impacts of climate change. But the Trump administration is steadfast in pursuit of one of its signature policy goals: gutting environmental regulations, including those aimed at curbing climate change. [CNN]

Smoke rising from wildfires in Australia (DELWP Gippsland | AP)

¶ “Trump Takes His War On ‘The Swamp’ To New Levels With NEPA Roll Back” • The Trump NEPA roll back will strip local residents of the power to have a say in what generating facilities, pipelines, refineries, and chemical plants are constructed in their communities, tipping the balance of power further in favor of corporations. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ “ORNL Researches Create Geothermal Energy Storage System” • Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers created a geothermal energy storage system that could reduce peak power demand by up to 37% in homes while helping to balance grid operations. The system stores excess electricity from renewables as thermal energy. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

ORNL geothermal energy storage system (ORNL image)

¶ “The Amazon Is A Key Buffer Against Climate Change. A New Study Warns Wildfires Could Decimate It” • In 2019, record fires capped a decade that saw an area of the Amazon the size of 8.4 million soccer fields lost. But authors of a new study warn that as the climate becomes hotter and drier, future fires could be far more damaging. [CNN]

World:

¶ “Fiat Chrysler Will Basically Fund Tesla’s Gigafactory 4” • Last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles made a deal to pool its fleet with Tesla’s in order to comply with Europe’s stricter emissions rules. According to a US investment bank, the deal is worth $2 billion through 2023 and will basically provide funding for Tesla’s new German factory. [CleanTechnica]

Chrysler C7 Airstream coupe, very modern
in 1936 (sv1ambo, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Chile Tenders Land For Use In Renewable Energy Projects” • To promote sustainable energy, Chile’s ministry of national assets is tendering concessions for ten plots of land for renewable projects. All plots are in northern Tarapacá and Antofagasta regions, which boast access to some of the best solar resources in the world. [BNamericas English]

¶ “Bristol Energy Launches 100% Green Products Powered By Local Generators” • In England, Bristol Energy has announced its new 100% green electricity and lower carbon gas portfolio of tariffs. They are largely powered by local wind and solar farms, as the city enters the 10 year countdown to its 2030 carbon neutral target. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Children play at a wind farm (Courtesy of Bristol Energy)

¶ “Fukushima Aims To Become 100% Renewable Energy Reliant, Nine Years After Nuclear Disaster” • The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power has been reported to have plans to be a renewable energy hub by 2040. Now, reports say that the local government has vowed to meet the area’s power needs by 100% renewable energy by 2040. [Republic World]

¶ “EDF Misses 2019 French Nuclear Power Production Target” • French state-controlled utility EDF said that its 2019 nuclear electricity generation in France fell 3.5% year on to 379.5 TWh, missing its revised production target of between 384 TWh and 388 TWh. EDF attributed the drop in nuclear power generation to a high number of nuclear reactor outages. [Reuters]

Fessenheim nuclear plant (Florival fr, Wikimedia Commons)

Australia:

¶ “Tens Of Thousands Protest Australian P M’s Climate Policies Amid Bushfire Crisis” • Thousands of activists marched in several major cities across Australia, calling on the government to act on the climate crisis and do more to stop the bushfires that continue to ravage large swathes of the country. The protests had been organized in nine cities. [CNN]

¶ “Australia Fires: Vineyard Owner’s Grief And Determination” • Australia’s deadly wildfires have devastated huge swathes of territory and left thousands homeless. Among the numerous businesses destroyed were vineyards that have taken generations to grow. The head of lobby group Australian Grape and Wine said, “I wish the worst was behind us.” [BBC]

James Tilbrook at his vineyard (James Tilbrook)

¶ “Social Media Blames Australia’s Inferno On Arsonists” • Rather than acknowledge the obvious fact that alterations in the climate have led to hotter, drier weather and made fires more probable, social media in Australia is spreading lies suggesting the fires are the result of a determined core of left wing arsonists. Reportedly, they are spread by bots. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ “California’s Renewable Energy Targets Slashed Carbon Pollution – Now There’s A Proposal To Pause Them” • Analysis shows California’s renewable energy targets helped drive a large drop in emissions and pushed the state past its 2020 climate goals early. Yet one California lawmaker wants to put a stop to the mandate, for now. [Lost Coast Outpost]

Wind turbines (Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)

¶ “Google, NV Energy Renewable Deal, One Of The Largest, Includes Rare Storage Component” • NV Energy has asked Nevada regulators for authority to procure 350 MW of solar generation and up to 280 MW of energy storage to serve a data center Google planned for Henderson. The facility is already under construction. [Utility Dive]

¶ “Climate Change Center Of Conversation At Broward Youth Summit” • At the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, there were kids everywhere talking or learning about climate change. Nearly 800 middle and high school students attended the Broward Youth Climate Summit, and many were focused on environmental issues. [NBC 6 South Florida]

Have a spectacularly enjoyable day.

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January 10 Energy News

January 10, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “GM And LG Chem’s 30+ GWh Ohio Battery Gigafactory Highlights Rapid EV Industry Progress” • A month ago, GM and LG Chem announced a joint venture to build a 30+ GWh battery factory in Ohio, and drive down battery costs in the process. The announcement shows clearly how much and how quickly the EV industry has changed. [CleanTechnica]

Cadillac EV

¶ “New Coal-Killing Energy Storage Challenge Also Dings Natural Gas” • It’s no secret that the Trump Administration has presided over the collapse of the US coal industry, but do they have to rub it in? Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced an  initiative to push the energy storage envelope farther into coal-killing territory. It will ding gas too. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Enel Green Power Smashes 3-GW Annual Capacity Mark” • Enel Green Power installed more than 3 GW of renewables worldwide in 2019, reaching a total managed capacity of around 46 GW. The 3029 MW deployed last year was a record for the Italian developer, beating the previous best set in 2018 by around 190 MW. [reNEWS]

Enel GP wind farm (Enel Green Power image)

¶ “News Corp Employee Lashes Climate ‘Misinformation’ In Bushfire Coverage With Blistering Email” • A senior News Corp employee has accused the company of “misinformation” and diverting attention from climate change during the bushfire crisis in an explosive all-staff email addressed to executive chairman Michael Miller. [The Guardian]

¶ “Saudi Arabia Awaits Bids For 1.2 GW Of Solar In Third Renewables Round” • The Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office released a request for qualifications for 1.2 GW of solar capacity. The Kingdom’s goal is to have 27.3 GW of renewables capacity by 2024 and 58.7 GW by 2030. [Renewables Now]

Solar power plant in Saudi Arabia (ACWA Power image)

¶ “Mercedes/BMW Ride-Hailing Group “Free Now” Buys 60 Tesla Automobiles” • Free Now is a mobility service owned by Mercedes and BMW jointly. A Handlesblatt report says Free Now decided to expand its fleet of electric taxis in Germany and will begin by adding 60 Teslas to its fleet of cars in Hamburg, where Free Now has its headquarters. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “ACWA Power Steps Into Azerbaijan With 240-MW Wind Project” • Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power has clinched a deal with the government of Azerbaijan to develop, build, and operate a 240-MW wind park in the former Soviet republic. Azerbaijan has a goal of diversifying its energy mix, reducing the its reliance on oil and gas. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbine (ACWA image)

¶ “Over 150 GW Of Renewable Energy Projects Installed Or In Pipeline” • India now has over 150 GW of renewable energy generation capacity either installed or in pipeline, data shared by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy shows. There are 84.40 GW of installed renewable capacity, 36.68 GW being built, and 29.58 GW tendered. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ “France Will Not Decide On New Nuclear Reactors Before End Of 2022” • The French government, which has asked state-controlled utility EDF to look into the feasibility of building six reactors, said it would not decide whether to go ahead before the end of 2022. The Energy Minister said France will shut down 14 old nuclear reactors as planned. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Nuclear power plant

¶ “Bill De Blasio And Sadiq Khan Want Your City To Dump Fossil Fuels” • The mayors of New York and London have an urgent message to the world’s cities: Ditch your fossil fuel investments now to avert a climate catastrophe. The leaders unveiled what amounted to how-to kits that would help mayors of other cities to divest from fossil fuel investments. [CNN]

US:

¶ “Bogus Basin Pledges To Use Solely Renewable Energy In 2020” • Bogus Basin Ski Resort will be using renewable energy in 2020. The nonprofit ski resort, 20 miles north of Boise, will buy an estimated 3,592 MWh of renewably sourced energy from Idaho Power this year, a press release from the utility company and Bogus Basin says. [Idaho Press-Tribune]

Bogus Basin Ski Resort (Bogus Basin image)

¶ “Trump Announces Overhaul Of Landmark Environmental And Climate Rules” • President Donald Trump announced changes to National Environmental Policy Act rules, which requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impact of projects such as the construction of mines, highways, water infrastructure and gas pipelines. [CNN]

¶ “Under Fire For Use Of Coal, Tri-State To Accelerate Closure Of Plants, Mine In Colorado And New Mexico” • With growing pressure to reduce dependence on coal, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association plans to close two coal-fired power plants and a coal mine in Colorado and New Mexico. Critics say it is not enough. [Loveland Reporter-Herald]

Craig Station (Helen H Richardson | The Denver Post)

¶ “San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay Officially Switch To Renewable Energy Program” • Two cities on California’s Central Coast are switching to renewable energy. San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay are the first of the local municipalities joining Monterey Bay Community Power in January 2020. Other cities are expected to ‘flip the switch’ next year. [KEYT]

¶ “Renewable Energy Hits ‘Transmission’ Wall In The Midwest” • Several large renewable power projects have abandoned plans to go online in the Upper Midwest because the region’s electricity grid is too congested. With massive amounts of wind power waiting to come online at the same time as coal is going offline, it’s clear that action is needed. [Toolbox]

Have a perfectly pleasant day.

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January 9 Energy News

January 9, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Pathways To Changing The Minds Of Climate Deniers” • Researchers at Stanford found that those who deny human causes for climate change can be swayed through conversations that appeal to their different identities, reframe solutions, or even embrace their climate views. They have four suggestions for breaking down barriers in conversation. [Phys.Org]

After a fire (C00 Public domain)

¶ “Trump Says America Doesn’t Need Middle East Oil. It’s Not That Simple” • President Donald Trump declared that the US no longer needs to rely on the Middle East for oil. There is no doubt that America’s historic oil boom has rewritten the rule book for the global energy industry, but the real story is much more complicated. [CNN]

Science and Technology:

¶ “It’s Official: 2019 Was The Second-Hottest Year On Record” • From France to Australia, from India to Alaska … if you stepped outside in almost any corner of the globe, you could feel it. 2019 was hot. Really hot. In fact, we just lived through the second-hottest year ever recorded, according to the European Union’s flagship climate monitoring organization. [CNN]

Cooling off in Melbourne (Saeed Khan | AFP via Getty Images)

World:

¶ “Australia’s Kangaroo Island Is A Haven For Rare Wildlife. A Third Of It Has Burned In Bushfires” • Kangaroo Island is famous for its pristine wilderness. Its protected nature reserves teem with wildlife, including endangered species. NASA estimates that 155,000 hectares (600 square miles) of the island has burned, calling it “an ecological tragedy.” [CNN]

¶ “As The Ice Melts, Greenland Considers Its Future” • Greenland is not used to being the center of attention, but last year it made the front pages of newspapers around the world. President Trump wanted to buy it. China wants a presence there. The ice is melting, and this makes mining easier. Greenland is vast, and its mines could be rich. [BBC]

Greenland’s capital, Nuuk (Getty Images)

¶ “Tesla Model 3 Shatters All Records in Historic Month And Year in the Netherlands” • December had an amazing 22,983 plug-in registrations in the Netherlands. This historic result translated into a Norway-like 54% plug-in EV share last month, pulling the 2019 plug-in share to 15% (compared to 6% in 2018). And 99% of those EVs were fully electric. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Budweiser Brewer Cheers European Power Play” • Budweiser brewer AB InBev has signed a power purchase agreement with BayWa re to cover 100% of its electricity demands in Europe. The beer giant will take 130-MW of power from two solar farms in a 10-year virtual off-take deal. BayWa says it is the largest solar deal in European history. [reNEWS]

Budweiser celebrating BayWa deal (BayWa image)

¶ “Chinese Internet Firms Falling Behind On Renewable Energy Goals: Greenpeace” • China’s internet firms have fallen behind global peers in sourcing energy from clean, renewable sources, with soaring use of internet data driving up both energy demand and carbon emissions, environmental group Greenpeace said in a report. [Reuters]

¶ “2019 Saw The Rise Of Wind Power And The Collapse Of Coal” • In 2010, Britain generated 75% of its electricity from coal and natural gas. But by the end of the decade these fossil fuels stood at just 40%. Coal generation collapsed from the decade’s peak of 41% in 2012 to under 2% in 2019. Wind energy set a new record of 26.5% for December. [The Independent]

Race Bank wind farm (PA)

¶ “Japan Studies Disposal Of Nuclear Plant Water” • Japan released a draft report on December 31 about how to dispose of treated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It covers two methods: releasing the water into the ocean after diluting it, and releasing it through evaporation. A combination of both could be used. [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

¶ “First Large Battery In Republic Of Ireland Targets Super-Fast Grid Services” • The Republic of Ireland recently got its first grid-scale battery, which will help manage volatility as the island nation ramps up renewable power plants. The Kilathmoy battery packs 11 MW and 5.5 MWh. It sits alongside a 23-MW wind farm in County Kerry. [Greentech Media]

Kilathmoy battery

US:

¶ “Tesla Is The Most Valuable Auto Company In The History Of America” • Barron’s noted on January 7th, 2020, that Tesla had become the most valuable auto company in US history. Let me repeat: Not just currently. We are talking about the most valuable American auto company in US history. Congratulations to Elon and Tesla! [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Smithfield Foods Generates RNG From Wastewater To Power North Carolina Communities” • Smithfield Foods, Inc, working with Duke Energy and OptimaBio, is producing renewable natural gas from manure at a North Carolina pork processing facility. It will help power more than 2,000 local homes and businesses. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Smithfield Foods plant (Courtesy of Duke Energy)

¶ “Study Group Proposes Modest Goals For Maine Renewable Energy Storage” • A commission that studied the potential for projects to store excess renewable power generated in Maine has recommended that the state set a short-term goal of 100 MW of capacity by 2025. The goal would send an important signal to investors and developers. [Lewiston Sun Journal]

¶ “Maine Agency Signs Off On $1 Billion Hydropower Transmission Line” • The Maine Land Use Planning Commission, which handles zoning in unregulated territories, approved a proposed $1 billion transmission line to bring hydropower from Canada to the New England power grid. It determined that the project met zoning and land use standards. [WABI]

Have a totally fantastic day.

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January 8 Energy News

January 8, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “David Suzuki: A 2020 Vision For Climate Action” • Let’s hope 2020 marks the start of a year and decade when we finally take climate disruption as seriously as the evidence shows we must. We understand the problem and know how to deal with it. Many solutions exist and more are being developed, but failing to act decisively makes everything more difficult. [Straight.com]

Pipes for pipeline (Getty Images)

¶ “Why You Should Care About The National Climate Bank” • The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that an annual investment of $2.4 trillion is needed in the energy system alone until 2035 to limit temperature rise to below 1.5 °C from pre-industrial levels. This kind of climate cash needs transformative thinking. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “The Bushfires Aren’t Rocket Science, They’re Climate Science” • Global warming, and the changes in climate associated with it, is due to the fossil fuels we’re burning: oil, natural gas, and the biggest culprit of all, coal. That is not complicated. We need only to wake up and look out the window to see the ever more obvious changes in the climate. [Newsroom]

Inferno

Science and Technology:

¶ “Perdue Farms’ New Meat-Packing Foam Dissolves In Your Sink” • Not all locations recycle foam, so it’s not a perfect solution to the packaging waste problem.Perdue Farms will start packaging some of its meat products in a more earth-friendly way with compostable foam made of cornstarch that dissolves in water or in a landfill. [CNN]

¶ “Study Shows Coal Kills People. Imagine That!” • A new study by Jennifer Burney of the University of California and published in the journal Nature Sustainability explores the relationship between coal plant emissions and human mortality both nearby and downstream from those facilities. It also looks at coal’s effects on crops. [CleanTechnica]

USDA inspector (USDA image)

World:

¶ “Australia fires: How the world has responded to the crisis” • Bushfires in Australia, have left a trail of destruction in their wake. They have razed almost 2,000 homes, and killed at least 25 people and hundreds of millions of animals since they began in September. People in Australia and abroad have been eager to find ways to offer assistance and support. [BBC]

¶ “Iran Attack: Crude Oil Prices Rise After Iraq Missile Attacks” • Oil prices have risen further after two bases hosting US troops in Iraq were hit by ballistic missiles. Brent crude was up by 1.4% at $69.21 per barrel in the middle of the Asian trade, easing back from earlier gains. Global stock market prices were sent lower on concerns over the conflict. [BBC]

Flaring gas (Getty Images)

¶ “Burned Koalas Are Overflowing Australian Hospitals” • Thousands of koalas have been badly injured by the bush fires in Australia to the point where hospitals are overflowing. Artisans have mobilized to get creative when it comes to comforting these innocent victims of the fires. This article has links showing where and what to donate. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Pakistan To Elon Musk: We Want A Tesla Factory” • Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, has sent a message to Elon Musk: “Dear Elon Musk your next destination may be Pakistan where 68 percent of the world population lives within 3.5 hours flight radius from Islamabad,” he shared on Twitter. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory (Tesla image)

¶ “Belgian Clean Power Output Grows 17%” • Renewable energy generation in Belgium grew 17% in 2019, according to data from the country’s transmission system operator Elia. Wind and solar power rose from 9.82 TWh in 2018 to 11.52 TWh last year. The company said the majority of the electricity came from solar in the summer and wind in the winter. [reNEWS]

¶ “Danish Solar Power Firm To Invest €300 Million Here” • A Danish solar power company, together with its Irish partner, is announcing plans to invest €300 million in the sector in Ireland. Obton, a business specializing in solar PVs, and Shannon Energy will develop up to 500 MW of solar projects here over the next five years. [RTE.ie]

Solar array

¶ “Japan Changes Fukushima Cleanup” • Japan has changed its plan for cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear plant. The change further delays the removal of used nuclear fuel that has remained in cooling pools since the 2011 disaster. The removal process is difficult, and TEPCO, is aiming to complete the task within 30 to 40 years. [VOA Learning English]

US:

¶ “Dominion’s Planned US Offshore Wind Project Could Be World’s Largest At 2.64 GW” • Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy said that Dominion Energy named it the preferred supplier for what could be the largest offshore wind farm in the world, at 2.64 GW. Siemens said model and number of turbines remain to be determined. [Power Engineering Magazine]

Siemens Gamesa offshore wind turbine (Siemens Gamesa)

¶ “US Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fell In 2019 Due To Less Coal Consumption, Data Shows” • After rising sharply in 2018, US greenhouse gas emissions fell an estimated 2.1% in 2019, analysis of preliminary figures published by the Rhodium Group shows. The fall is almost solely due to reduced use of coal for generating electricity. [CNN]

¶ “Sununu’s Net Metering Plan Tees Up Another Renewable Energy Clash in Concord” • New Hampshire Gov Chris Sununu has a new plan to expand renewable energy net metering for towns and businesses. It is an alternative to a plan he has blocked the past two years. But advocates of that earlier plan are not pleased. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

Have an enchantingly beautiful day.

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January 7 Energy News

January 7, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “How To Travel By Train – And Ditch The Plane” • A string of horrifying climate-related disasters brought an environmental theme to many people’s New Year resolutions. Many resolved to reduce their carbon footprints by flying less, or cutting planes out completely. Flygskam – Swedish for “flight-shame” – has become commonplace. [BBC]

Trans-Siberian Express (Getty Images)

¶ “How States Will Continue To Drive Climate Action In 2020” • Will the US make climate progress in 2020? If last year is any indication, the answer will emerge from states and cities where progress in tackling carbon pollution is accelerating, even in the face of the pro-polluter Trump administration’s efforts to turn back the clock. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ “Australia Fires: ‘I Lost My Home. The Shock Will Never Fully Set In'” • “There isn’t really any way to describe the intensity of the fires.” Gabriel Kam’s family home was recently destroyed by the bushfires sweeping across Australia. Since September at least 24 people have died and the fires have destroyed more than 1,500 homes in the country. [BBC]

Kangaroos escaping the flames (Getty Images)

World:

¶ “Sony Shocks – Announces Electric Car” • There have been rumors for years about electric cars from Apple, Google, and Samsung (outside of the Samsung-Renault partnership in South Korea). I don’t recall any rumors about a Sony electric car. But Sony just unveiled an electric car concept at CES 2020, and it shocked the world. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Cornwall’s Keeping It Local With Green Energy Revolution” • Cornwall is one of the leading counties in Britain’s burgeoning green economy. It has up to 1600 hours of sunshine a year, giving it solar potential, and it has abundant coastline and advantageous conditions for windpower. But it also has premium potential for geothermal energy. [Energy Saving Trust]

Sea pinks on the coast of Cornwall (Getty Images)

¶ “EU Plans ‘Big Increase’ In Green Gas To Meet Climate Goals” • Production of biogas, biomethane, and “green” hydrogen will have to increase by at least 1,000% by 2050 to reach the EU’s climate neutrality objective for that year, an EU official has said. Renewable gases today already represent around 7% of gross inland energy consumption. [EURACTIV]

¶ “Renewables Beat Fossil Fuels On 137 Days In Greenest Year For UK Energy” • Energy produced by the UK’s renewable sector outpaced fossil fuel plants on a record 137 days in 2019 to help take the country to its greenest year. But growth of UK’s low-carbon electricity production was hampered in 2019 by outages at aging nuclear power plants. [The Guardian]

Solar array (Steve Parsons | PA)

¶ “India Becomes Second Largest Market For Corporate Renewable Power” • Indian corporates are increasingly adopting renewable power to operate, and the country has become the second largest growth market for corporate renewable power purchase agreements after the US. For the first half of 2019, India had a global share of 7.4%. [EnergyInfraPost]

¶ “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Drop In Spain As Power Plants Ditch Coal” • Spain has taken just one year to reach a goal that was expected to require a decade. The government had predicted that by 2030 coal would no longer be used in power plants to generate electricity, yet this objective was all but achieved last year. [EL PAÍS in English]

Closed coal mine in Asturias (Alvaro Fuente | Getty Images)

US:

¶ “Las Vegas Taxi Company Orders Hundreds Of Teslas” • Kaptyn, which has 872 taxis among its total of 1,400 vehicles in Las Vegas, launched 30 Teslas in its taxi service in the city. That, however, is just a soft launch of its Tesla fleet. The number of electric vehicles in the fleet will be in the hundreds by sometime in February. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “200-MW Wind Power Project Goes Online In Starr County, Texas” • Duke Energy Renewables announced that its 200-MW Mesteño Windpower project in Starr County, Texas began commercial operation on December 31, 2019. It is Duke Energy’s fourth wind generation facility in Starr County and its eleventh in Texas. [Environment + Energy Leader]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ “Around 10,000 More US Deaths Last Year From This Silent Killer” • Air pollution killed nearly 10,000 Americans in 2018, and 2019 must have seen a similar total. It is an alarming fact that no one really seems to have paid much attention. We should all understand that thousands of Americans die prematurely each year due to rising air pollution. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “German Firm Powers Up Solar Farm In Heart Of Texas Oil Field” • German utility RWE has completed construction of a 100-MW solar farm in heart of the West Texas oil patch. The facility, southwest of Midland-Odessa in the Permian Basin, has a long-term contract with SK E&S, a South Korean natural gas and renewable power company. [Energy Voice]

Solar array

¶ “Renewable Electricity Generation Surpasses Coal For First Time” • Electricity generation from renewable sources exceeded coal-fired generation in April of last year, marking the first that has happened, the Energy Information Administration’s EIA’s Electric Power Monthly said. Renewables provided 23% of the electricity; coal provided 20%. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ “Growing Group Of States Backs Rhode Island’s Climate Suit Versus Big Oil” • Over a dozen states filed an amicus brief supporting Rhode Island’s climate lawsuit against fossil fuel companies. The coalition of states is weighing in to support Rhode Island as it seeks to hold big oil companies accountable for climate change impacts. [Climate Liability News]

Have a fascinatingly splendid day.

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January 6 Energy News

January 6, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “A History Of Climate Change Science And Denialism” • Reading recent media reports, you could be forgiven for thinking that climate change is a sudden crisis. Nevertheless, scientists have understood the greenhouse effect since the 19th century, and the potential for human-caused global warming for decades. Denialism has a history. [History News Network]

Global warming

Science and Technology:

¶ “Battery Recycling Will Be The New New Thing, And JB Straubel And Kore Power Are Leading The Way” • Nearly 11 million tons of lithium-ion batteries are expected to reach the end of their useful life by 2030. Elements in them, including nickel, lithium, cobalt, and others, won’t disappear, however, and they can be recovered. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “New Satellites Are Changing Climate Science” • Traveling around the planet at 15,660 mph, NASA’s ICESat-2 aims a six-beam, green-spectrum laser toward Earth’s surface, constantly measuring the glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice, oceans, and tree canopies far below. It is one of several new satellites giving us new insights into climate change. [Mother Jones]

Launch of ICESat-2, Sept 15, 2018, (Bill Ingalls | NASA | Getty)

World:

¶ “Australia Fires: Rain Brings Relief But Huge Blazes Expected Ahead” • Sooty rain fell on Australia’s east coast, from Sydney to Melbourne, with “torrential” rain reported in some parts of New South Wales. But officials warned it would get hot again soon and huge fires in Victoria and NSW could meet to create a larger “mega blaze.” [BBC]

¶ “Denmark Passes Magic 50% In Renewable Electricity Generation Milestone” • 2019 was a record year for renewable electricity generation in Denmark. National media reports that half of Denmark’s electricity came from from renewables. The Horns Rev 3 offshore wind farm went online in 2019, accounting for much of the increase. [CleanTechnica]

Hornsea One offshore wind farm (Courtesy of Ørsted)

¶ “Onsite Renewables Vital For Refugee Camps Says UN” • A report from the UN states that onsite renewables can supply refugee communities cost-effectively with reliable electricity. There are currently almost 26 million refugees in the world, and the study says that unreliable energy exposes them to additional risks. [Power Engineering International]

¶ “Irish Voice Wind Energy Support” • More than three-quarters of Irish people are in favor of wind energy, according to a survey carried out by Interactions on behalf of the Irish Wind Energy Association. The poll found that 79% back wind power, with 52% strongly in favor of the technology. Only 4% oppose wind energy, with 2% strongly opposing it. [reNEWS]

Wind farm in Ireland (Energia image)

¶ “MGen Unit To Start Work On 50-MW Philippine Solar Project This Month” • A consortium led by Philippine power producer Meralco PowerGen Corporation expects to begin building works on a 50-MW solar park in Bulacan province this month, a top official said. The San Miguel solar park will sell its output to Meralco over 20 years. [Renewables Now]

¶ “JRE Commissions 44-MW Solar Park In Fukushima” • Japan Renewable Energy began commercial operation of a 44-MW solar park in Fukushima prefecture, according to information on the company’s website. The PV plant is expected to generate enough electricity to provide for the power needs of about 13,200 households. [Renewables Now]

Solar park in Japan (Minoru Karamatsu, Creative Commons)

¶ “Japan To Transform Fukushima Into Renewable Hub, But Activists Skeptical” • A project sponsored by the state-owned Development Bank of Japan and Mizuho Bank seeks to transform Fukushima Prefecture, where three nuclear reactors melted down in 2011, into a center that will power the region with 100% renewable energy by 2040. [Green Queen Media]

US:

¶ “Police Department Adds 2020 Tesla Model 3 And Explains Why” • Asked why he chose the Model 3, Police Chief Koskinas says he “believes in being green.” However, the car’s unmatched performance for the money, its 5 star safety rating, its top-of-the-industry collision avoidance technology, and its low lifetime cost also were factors. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla police car for Westport, Connecticut (image via Twitter)

¶ “California Offers Up To $9,500 To Purchase Used Or New Electric Vehicle, Focus On Lower-Income Motorists” • New EV incentives help California residents with lower incomes improve air quality and fight climate change. They can now get $9,500 in EV incentives in certain regions, or even $14,000 under some specific circumstances. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “With New Democratic Leadership, General Assembly Faces Flood Of Energy Proposals” • The week after Democrats were swept to power in Virginia’s General Assembly, environment and clean energy activists struggled to get their sea legs in the new ocean of legislative possibilities that suddenly opened up before them. [Virginia Mercury]

Dominion Energy coal-fired power plant (Ryan Kelly)

¶ “Innovative New Orleans School Puts Focus On Environment, Climate Change” • A high school in New Orleans is preparing students for careers in coastal protection and restoration, anticipating a future with ongoing climate change and sea level rise. New Harmony High School opened in 2018 and has about 100 south Louisiana students. [WBRZ]

¶ “Energy Storage 2020: It’s Not Just About Lithium-Ion Batteries Any More” • The DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA-E, is funding research by ten organizations with a goal of creating long term energy storage systems that cost 5¢/kWh or less. Five of them are scheduled for completion in 2020 and the rest in 2021. [CleanTechnica]

Have a laudably fruitful day.

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January 5 Energy News

January 5, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Ten Cool Solar Power Stories You May Have Missed” • Too much cleantech news is a good thing, but it sometimes means I need to stuff a bunch of big stories into one article. Here’s a roundup of some cleantech stories no one wanted to take and write full pieces about. This particular roundup is 100% focused on solar power. [CleanTechnica]

STEAG solar array (Photo: Aleks Velde, courtesy of STEAG)

¶ “Nuclear Power Is ‘Clean’ – If You Ignore All the Waste” • Nuclear power generates electricity without greenhouse gases or other air pollutants. But it hasn’t been extensively deployed to fight climate change because of safety fears, the high cost of construction and, perhaps most significantly, nuclear power’s hazardous waste. [Mother Jones]

¶ “Plan Your Plot For 2020: Think About Seeds And New Beds” • It may be the depths of winter, but spring is coming. Order seed this month to avoid missing out on more interesting varieties. Support small suppliers if you can; organic if possible. You can maybe start off hardier seed in a propagator, or sow late-winter leaves if you have a cold frame. [The Guardian]

Treviso-style chicory (Photo: Allan Jenkins | The Observer)

¶ “Australian Bushfires Point To An Ominous Pattern” • Scenes playing out across Australia are apocalyptic. Bushfires have burned millions of acres and ravaged more than 1,000 homes in New South Wales alone. The pictures may look like something out of a dystopic science fiction film – or even Dante’s Inferno – but this is now Australia’s reality. [CNN]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Tesla Has Two Of Australia’s Top Three Safest Cars Of 2019” • In the latest annual ranking from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, two out of the top three safest cars in Australia were electric vehicles. ANCAP said the top 3 safest cars for 2019 were the Tesla Model X, Tesla Model 3, and Mercedes-Benz CLA, which ranked highest. [CleanTechnica]

Crash testing a Tesla (Photo courtesy IIHS)

¶ “Lithium For Tesla Battery Uses Less Water Than 11 Avocados” • Reportedly, 3,840 liters (1,104 gallons) of water are evaporated for a 64-kWh battery. According to the director of the Helmholtz Institute for Electrochemical Energy Storage, this is the amount of water used to producte in 250 grams of beef, 10 avocados, or 30 cups of coffee. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Australia Fires: A Visual Guide To The Bushfire Crisis” • Record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought have fueled a series of massive bushfires across Australia. The fires, burning since September, have intensified over the past week. High temperatures and strong winds are forecast for the weekend, creating further fire risk. [BBC]

How one fire can start another fire miles away

¶ “North Wales Town Set To Become The Greenest In The Country” • Corwen is building a ground-breaking energy project. The town already has its own community hydro-electric project fed by the Pen y Pigyn Reservoir. But now it wants to boost its energy output by signing up 60 local households that have their own generating capacity. [North Wales Live]

¶ “The World’s Largest Floating Wind Turbine Just Came Online” • The largest floating wind turbine to date went online off Portugal. One of the three platforms that will make up the WindFloat Atlantic off-shore wind farm was grid connected with a 20-km (12.4-mile) cable on New Year’s Eve. Together, the three will power about 60,000 homes. [ScienceAlert]

Floating wind turbine (Principle Power image)

US:

¶ “Fifteen New Electric Articulated Buses Deployed In NYC – 500 Planned To Serve All Five Boroughs” • New York City’s MTA has deployed the first phase of its new all-electric articulated bus fleet. The 2020–2024 Capital Plan includes $1.1 billion to acquire 500 new electric buses to serve all 5 boroughs. This first phase includes 15 buses. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Avangrid Betting Big On Renewable Energy” • Avangrid is pushing forward with multi-billion-dollar initiatives to create two wind farms off the coast of Nantucket, about 30 miles south of Cape Cod. Together, they would add more power to the New England grid than the company’s controversial $1 billion Maine transmission project. [Lewiston Sun Journal]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “Ten Puerto Rican Schools Receive Resilient Microgrids” • The Rocky Mountain Institute, Kinesis Foundation, and Save the Children have installed ten renewable microgrids in 10 schools in the mountainous region of Puerto Rico. Many of the schools that received microgrid systems were without power for six months after the hurricanes of 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Rocky Mountain Power To Expand Amount Of Wind Power Serving Its Customers By End Of 2020” • Rocky Mountain Power, which is part of PacifiCorp, announced that it’s moving forward with its “Energy Vision 2020” initiative. To do so, by the end of this year it will significantly expand the amount of wind power serving its customers. [KUTV 2News]

Wind turbines (Screenshot: Rocky Mountain Power)

¶ “Native American Tribe Leads The Microgrid Revolution In California” • The tsunami of 2011, which led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, also flooded parts of California. It made the Blue Lake Rancheria Native American tribe realize how vulnerable they were to power outages, and the tribe has built a microgrid for its casino. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Target Has Installed 500 Solar Power Systems” • According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Target has been one of the top US corporate solar power installers for 5 straight years. In 2015, it committed to achieving 500 solar power installations by 2020. In December of 2019, Target announced that it reached its goal (a little bit ahead of schedule). [CleanTechnica]

Have an altogether elevating day.

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January 4 Energy News

January 4, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Oil And Petrochemical Companies Want YOU To Pay To Protect Them From Climate Change!” • Not content with ruining the Earth with billions of tons of CO₂ and plastic waste, oil and petrochemical companies want the federal government to build enclaves to protect their refining facilities from rising sea levels and more powerful storms. [CleanTechnica]

Motiva refinery Port Arthur, Texas (Motiva image)

Science and Technology:

¶ “NTU Scientists Have Discovered A Method To Break Down Plastic Waste Using Sunlight” • According to a press release, a research team led by an assistant professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University found a way to harness light energy to convert dissolved plastic into formic acid, a chemical with many uses. [SAYS]

¶ “Groundbreaking Study Finds ‘Fingerprint’ Of Human-Caused Climate Change In Global Daily Weather” • Scientists can now detect the “fingerprint” of human-caused climate change in a global perspective of daily weather patterns, according to a groundbreaking analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change. [Common Dreams]

After Hurricane Maria (Photo: Mario Tama | Getty Images)

World:

¶ “Adani Green Switches On 75-MW Wind Park In Gujarat” • India’s Adani Green Energy Ltd put a 75-MW wind farm online in the state of Gujarat, it said in a bourse filing. The plant will sell electricity to state-owned utility Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd for ₹2.85/kWh (€0.0356/kWh, 3.97¢/kWh) under a power purchase agreement. [Renewables Now]

¶ “Boost To Renewable Energy: MNRE Proposes ‘Bundling’ Scheme” • India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is working out a way to supply round-the-clock power from wind and solar plants. It would to sell renewable energy and thermal power together in a ‘bundle’ to deliver renewable energy in an uninterrupted electricity supply. [EnergyInfraPost]

Solar panels (Bart Speelman | Flickr)

¶ “Japan Nuclear Regulator Effectively Made Safety Measure Decision Behind Closed Doors” • After Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority met behind closed doors with KEPCO, experts argue that such hearings are in effect a decision-making process of the NRA, violating the Public Records and Archives Management Act. [The Mainichi]

¶ “Turkey Hits New Renewable And Hydro Output Records In 2019” • Turkey’s Solar Energy Investors Association said that Turkey generated around 44% of its electricity from renewable sources last year. Turkey set new annual renewable electricity and hydroelectricity generation records in 2019 according to an industry leader. [Daily Sabah]

Wind turbines (AA photo)

Australia:

¶ “Mallacoota: How people survived in the fire-hit beach town” • Most people who were in Mallacoota or from areas around the town hunkered down on the beach. Some stayed at their homes, wetting them down and checking for embers. As the fire drew nearer, “it sounded like a jet engine, a far-away plane over the hill that we were on,” one man said. [BBC]

¶ “Australia Fires: Troops Called To Tackle Fires” • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced 3,000 reserve troops will be deployed to help tackle raging bushfires across the country. Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Mr Morrison told reporters, “We have seen this disaster escalate to an entirely new level.” [BBC]

Hot tinder countryside (AFP image)

¶ “Australia’s Fires Could Change The Country Forever” • The natural rhythms of Australia’s environment include wildfires, but scientists haven’t seen anything like this before. At least 12 million acres of land have already been scorched and more than a hundred blazes are still active, but the fire season has yet to reach its peak. [NBCNews.com]

¶ “Australia Fires: How Do We Know How Many Animals Have Died?” • There is a widely-reported estimate that almost half a billion animals have been killed by the bush fires in Australia. The figure came from an expert on Australian biodiversity at the University of Sydney, who released a statement explaining how he had reached it. [BBC]

Emergency worker and koala (Reuters image)

US:

¶ “Tesla Hits 2019 Guidance – Delivers 367,500 Vehicles, Grows 50% Over 2018” • Tesla released its Q4 2019 vehicle production and deliveries results, delivering about 112,000 vehicles in Q4 and about 367,500 vehicles in 2019 overall, which is a 50% increase over 2018 deliveries. Tesla’s annual guidance was for 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “120 GW Of Energy Storage By 2050: We Got This!” • Low cost energy storage is true gamechanger. About 15 years ago, experts with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory were looking at an ambitious scenario of 20% penetration. Today they’re saying that 80% or more renewable energy is doable, and even 100% is conceivable. [CleanTechnica]
Massive solar plus energy storage project in Hawaii

¶ “Albuquerque Lays Out 2020 Renewable Energy Plan” • Just a few days into the new year and Albuquerque’s 2020 resolution is clear: Go green. First, it was the ban on plastic bags that began January 1. Now the city, which averages 280 sunny days a year, is also taking advantage its climate by a number of moves toward solar power. [KRQE News 13]

¶ “Hawaii Electric, PGV New Agreement Could Lower Electric Bills” • An agreement between Hawaiian Electric and Puna Geothermal Venture will lower electric bills on the Island of Hawaii and increase its renewable energy. PGV was shut down in May 2018 due to the Kilauea eruption, but it could resume operations this year if all goes well. [Big Island Now]

Have a graciously evolving day.

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January 3 Energy News

January 3, 2020

Science and Technology:

¶ “Belching In A Good Way: How Livestock Could Learn From Orkney Sheep” • One of the Orkney islands, North Ronaldsay, is home to 50 people and 2,000 sheep. In the 19th Century, the islanders built a stone wall to confine the flock to the shoreline, where it survived on seaweed. That special diet could hold the key more climate-friendly livestock farming. [BBC]

Fat sheep living on seaweed (Fionn McArthur, Start Point Media)

¶ “Did Climate Change Cause Australian Bushfires? Scientists Answer Questions Around Devastating Disaster” • Australia’s unprecedented wildfires are supercharged thanks to climate change, the type of trees catching fire, and weather, experts say. Lightning starts some, and these fires are so extreme that they trigger their own thunderstorms. [TVNZ]

World:

¶ “Enel Chile Shuts Down 158-MW Coal Unit As Planned” • Enel Generacion Chile SA disconnected its 158-MW coal-fired unit at the Tarapaca power plant on December 31 in line with a schedule authorized by the Chilean Energy Commission. The now-closed plant represented 25% of Enel’s total coal-fired power generating capacity in Chile. [Renewables Now]

Tarapaca power plant (Enel Chile image)

¶ “Fossil Fuels Vs Renewable Energy: EIB Takes Sides” • Since the Paris Agreement, Canadian, Chinese, European, Japanese, and US banks have all continued to fund fossil fuels. Over the last three years, they have lent the industry $1.9 trillion. But the world’s largest public lender, the European Investment Bank, has set a date to stop. [Investment U]

¶ “MNRE To Invest ₹4 Lakh Crore To Meet 175-GW Renewable Energy Target” • Power and Renewable Energy Minister RK Sing said India’s renewable energy target of 175 GW would require an investment of ₹4,14,581 crore ($62.3 billion), and a non-banking financial institute under the Ministry of Renewable Energy will see this is financed. [Elets]

Solar panels in India (Prashanthns, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “India Identifies Offshore Wind Energy Potential Of 70,000 MW Along Gujarat, Tamil Nadu Coasts” • India’s offshore wind potential is estimated at 70,000 MW, most of which is in coastal Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said. MNRE has plans to develop its first offshore wind farm in Gujarat. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ “Global Wind Power Players See Japan As Next Money-Spinner” • Multinational wind energy companies are quickly putting down stakes around Japan. Nuclear power has become almost anathema since the earthquake-triggered disaster in 2011, but the government also wants to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels from the Middle East. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Wind turbines in Japan (Kansai explorer, Wikimedia Commons)

Australia:

¶ “Australia Solar And Storage News – In Your Face, ScoMo!” • While the Australian government under Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to paddle furiously backwards when it comes to promoting renewable energy and addressing climate change, the transition to zero emission electricity is gathering speed throughout the nation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Residents Vent Fury At Australian PM Amid Wildfires” (Video) • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison faced heat from people living in the middle of the bushfire danger zone in New South Wales. After vacationing in Hawaii while the fires raged, he finally visited one of the areas of devastation. He heard people rage, and he left without saying anything. [CNN]

Furious at the Prime Minister (Nine Network Australia)

¶ “Australia Fires: Navy Rescues People From Fire-Hit Mallacoota” • The Australian navy has evacuated around 1,000 tourists and residents who were trapped in the fire-ravaged town of Mallacoota on the Victoria coast. The evacuees will be taken to Western Port, the navy said, around 16 hours’ voyage down the coast. [BBC]

US:

¶ “Amazon ‘Threatens To Fire’ Climate Change Activists” • A group of Amazon employees said the company threatened to fire some of them for speaking out on environmental issues. They had called for the e-commerce giant to do more to tackle climate change. Amazon said its policy about employees making public comments is not new. [BBC]

Walkout by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice at
its headquarters in Seattle in September (Getty Images)

¶ “PSC Approves Mon Power Proposal To Terminate Contract With Morgantown Plant” • West Virginia’s Public Service Commission approved a plan to allow Mon Power to pay a Morgantown power plant operator $60 million to terminate an agreement to purchase electricity from a coal-burning power plant through 2027. [West Virginia MetroNews]

¶ “Arcadia Brings Affordable Clean Energy To Methuen” • Clean energy company Arcadia launched its first community solar project for Massachusetts in Methuen. Teaming up with Madison Energy Investments, Arcadia is building a solar array on Aegean Dr for residents who aren’t able to install solar panels on their own homes. [nshoremag.com]

Solar array (Photo: Kat Carney)

¶ “Trump Administration Plans 2020 Approvals For Major Projects” • The Trump administration is poised this year to do what congressional Democrats and other critics of the president’s “energy dominance” campaign have been demanding for a long time: Advance large-scale renewable energy projects on federal lands. [E&E News]

¶ “Two Large Enel Renewable Energy Plants In The US Start Operations” • Enel Green Power North America said operations have started at two of the company’s US renewable energy plants. One is the 252-MW first phase of the Roadrunner solar project in Texas; the other is the 66-MW Whitney Hill wind project in Illinois. [Environment + Energy Leader]

Have an unimaginably superb day.

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January 2 Energy News

January 2, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Politicians Stand In The Way Of A Green Energy Revolution” • Renewable energy is now so cheap that installation worldwide is happening faster than governments have allowed for in their national plans for action, the International Renewable Energy Agency said. IRENA says the barrier to tackling climate change is political, not technical. [Truthdig]

Wind farm (Ian Sane, CC BY 2.0)

¶ “Want To Ban New Gas And Diesel Cars? Look To Sweden To See How It’s Done” • What would it take for a country to ban new gasoline and diesel cars? Look no farther than the government of Sweden, which is in the midst of a study to offer proposals on just such a topic. Details are emerging in a report is to be presented by 1 February 2021. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Australia Fires: New South Wales Declares Week-Long State Of Emergency” • The premier of New South Wales has declared a week-long state of emergency in response to the escalating bushfire threat. High temperatures and strong winds are forecast for the weekend, leading to “widespread extreme fire danger” in the eastern Australian state. [BBC]

Police delivering supplies at Mallacoota (Victoria Police)

¶ “Sebastian Kurz-Led Conservatives To Form Coalition Government With Greens In Austria” • Austria’s conservatives led by Sebastian Kurz agreed to form an unprecedented coalition government with the Greens, capping almost three months of negotiations. It will mark the first time the Green party has been in power. [WION]

¶ “Jakarta Floods: ‘Not Ordinary Rain’, Say Officials” • At least 21 people have died in flooding in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, after the city had its most intense rainfall since the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency began supplying records in 1996. The agency measured 377 mm (14.84 in) of rainfall in one day at an airport in East Jakarta. [BBC]

Rescuing an infant (Muhammad Iqbal | Antara Foto via Reuters)

¶ “Obrador Administration Rolling Back Energy Reform In Mexico” • Mexican President Obrador, who came to office late in 2018, wants state-owned energy companies to have more control over the country’s power projects. He rolled back moves from the previous administration, which had opened Mexico’s energy markets to competition. [POWER magazine]

¶ “Danish Wind Delivers Record Year” • With new wind farms and average winds, wind power delivered almost 47% of last year’s electricity in Denmark, beating the previous record of over 43% in 2017, according to industry association Wind Denmark. Total output from Danish wind farms was 16.0 TWh last year, up from 13.9 TWh in 2018 and 14.8 TWh in 2017. [reNEWS]

Offshore wind turbine (Vattenfall image)

¶ “₹1,228 Crore Dues To Renewable Power Firms Cleared In December” • Andhra Pradesh distribution companies (discoms) are making all-out efforts to clear the dues of renewable power developers. Energy Department said out of ₹2,255.97 crore ($339 million) owed, the discoms cleared ₹1212.28 crore ($182 million) in December. [The New Indian Express]

¶ “German Solar Grows 30% In 2019” • The solar market grew by about 30% in 2019 with almost 4 GW of new projects installed, nitial analysis by the German solar industry association BSW said. The association said falling PV prices with increased power prices, intensifying climate debate, and growing electromobility were the main reasons for growth. [reNEWS]

Solar array (APPA | Unsplash)

¶ “2019 Was Australia’s Hottest Year On Record – 1.5°C Above Average Temperature” • The year 2019 was the hottest on record for Australia with the temperature reaching 1.52°C above the long-term average, latest data from the Bureau of Meteorology confirms. It was a year of crippling drought, record heatwaves, and devastating bushfires. [The Guardian]

¶ “Prince William Unveils ‘Earthshot Prize’ To Tackle Climate Crisis” • Prince William announced what Sir David Attenborough called “the most prestigious environment prize in history” to encourage climate crisis solutions. The “Earthshot prize” will be awarded to five people with answers for climate problems every year over the next decade. [The Guardian]

Sir David Attenborough commenting (Reuters)

US:

¶ “Trump Administration Says It Will Approve Largest Solar Farm In US” • Federal officials plan to approve a massive, 690-MW solar farm with energy storage in the desert outside Las Vegas, paving the way for a $1-billion project that will provide electricity to Nevada residents served by billionaire Warren Buffett’s NV Energy. [Bryan-College Station Eagle]

¶ “Kansas’ Embrace Of Wind Energy Helps It Reduce CO₂ Emissions” • Kansas has been able to reduce its CO₂ emissions for a 10th straight year, largely due to the rapid adoption of wind energy and a slow move away from coal powered electricity. The Kansas News Service reports that about 36% of all electricity produced in Kansas is from wind. [KSHB]

Smoky Hills Wind Farm (Drenaline, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Shiloh Industries To Power Technical Center, Two Stamping Plants With 100% Renewable Energy” • Shiloh Industries has joined DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program, committing to power three facilities with 100% Michigan-made clean energy. The move will offset the equivalent of nearly 4,000 metric tons of CO₂ emissions. [mitechnews.com]

¶ “Controversy Continues To Swirl Around Uranium Enrichment Contract” • The chairs and ranking members of two House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittees asked the DOE to justify an award of a $115 million contract to Centrus Energy to demonstrate technology for producing a specialized nuclear fuel for advanced reactors. [Physics Today]

Have an unambiguously jolly day.

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January 1 Energy News

January 1, 2020

Opinion:

¶ “Australia’s Angry Summer: This Is What Climate Change Looks Like” • Summer used to be something we yearned for: long, lazy days spent by the beach or pool, backyard barbecues, and games of cricket with family and friends. But summer has become a time of fear, with heatwaves, fires, and evacuations. Australia has a changed climate. [Scientific American]

Fire fighting helicopter (David Gray | Getty Images)

¶ “Twenty Reasons Why 2019 Gave Us Climate Hope” • For all of the unfortunate events that happened this year, we also saw an equal (and growing) opposite reaction. People all around the world stepped up for the climate like never before.Technology and economics are making the solutions to the crisis more feasible than ever. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “We Know This Disaster Is Unprecedented – No Amount Of Scott Morrison Spin Can Hide It” • There is a message carefully woven into everything Australia’s prime minister says about the fires. It is that they are not extraordinary, not unprecedented. But we know that this fire disaster is unprecedented, and no amount of spin can hide it. [The Guardian]

Fire wreckage (Sean Davey | AFP via Getty Images)

World:

¶ “Australia Is Burning And Tesla Owners Are Trying To Help” • Australia is burning and thousands are facing burning fires that ravage their communities and leave behind apocalyptic scenes. Tesla’s Starlink technology is not ready to help restore Australia’s communications yet, but Tesla owners, and others, ares stepping up to the job. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Singapore’s Clean Power Growth May Beat Expectations: Report” • Thanks to government efforts to promote the sector, growth in Singapore’s clean power may beat expectations in the long run, Fitch Solutions Macro Research said in a report. But the pace is slow for now, with a lack of private sector enthusiasm and slowing power consumption. [The Straits Times]

Rooftop solar system in Singapore (ST file photo)

¶ “Zero-Carbon Energy Outstrips Fossil Fuels In Britain Across 2019” • With a dramatic decline in coal-fired power and a rise in renewable and low-carbon energy, 2019 was Britain’s cleanest energy year on record, according to National Grid, which owns and operates the transmission network in England and Wales, and runs the Scottish networks. [The Guardian]

¶ “Australia Now Has Its First State Run On 100% Renewable Electricity” • From 1 January 2020, the Australian Capital Territory achieves something no other Australian state or territory has. “The ACT will officially be powered by 100% renewable electricity,” the territory’s climate change minister Shane Rattenbury told SBS News. [SBS]

Solar farm in ACT (SBS News image)

¶ “Second WindFloat Atlantic Platform Sets Sail” • The second of three platforms of the Windplus consortium’s 25-MW WindFloat Atlantic floating project off Portugal has set off from the Port of Ferrol in Galicia. Upon arrival at its final destination 20 km off the coast, it will be installed next to the first floating platform, which was deployed in October. [reNEWS]

¶ “From Red Seaweed To Climate-Smart Cows: New Zealand Leads The Fight Against Methane” • For Dr Suzanne Rowe, who is breeding strains of sheep that emit less methane, there is no more important work. She says, “New Zealand has really become a global leader in this space and there’s a lot of buzz around at the moment – it’s hugely exciting.” [The Guardian]

Thoughtful cow (William West | AFP | Getty Images)

US:

¶ “The Largest Passive House In North America: 154 Low-Income Housing Units (46 For Formerly Homeless)” • The largest US residential building built to the Passive House US standard and the largest passive house building in North America came about at the end of 2019, with units for low-income tenants. The design even addresses storm resiliency. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “In Mississippi, The Costs Of Coastal Flooding Are Adding Up” • First Street Foundation research found that between 2005 and 2017, flooding erased nearly $16 billion of real estate appreciation in coastal areas from Maine to Texas. Researchers did not even calculate losses in Louisiana due to the complexity of issues in that state. [CleanTechnica]

House built to code for floods and hurricanes (Nexus Media)

¶ “Enel Will Bring Almost 1 GW Of Clean Electricity Online In US During 2020” • Enel brought two wind projects online in the US during 2019, totaling 318 MW. The Italian energy company is not resting on its laurels, however. Enel Green Power has six wind farms under construction, which will bring installations for the US in 2020 to nearly 1 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “A Peak Inside the Unisphere, One of the World’s Largest Net-Zero Buildings” • The head of United Therapeutics, Martine Rothblatt, would not yield on the company’s new headquarters. When designers warned that building a net-zero building in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland would be a formidable task, she replied, “I don’t care. Figure it out.” [CleanTechnica]

The Unisphere (United Therapeutics image)

¶ “Renewable Energy Could Top Natural Gas In New Capacity Added In US In 2019” • According to the SUN DAY Campaign, data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Energy Information Administration for the first ten months of 2019 show renewable energy sources are on track to place first for new US generating capacity in 2019. [Solar Builder]

¶ “Push For US Uranium Production Opposed Near Grand Canyon” • The Trump administration wants to encourage US production of uranium. That could affect a temporary ban now in place on uranium mining in and around Grand Canyon. A bill to make that ban permanent passed the House and was introduced before the Senate. [KTAR.com]

Have an enjoyably productive day.

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December 31 Energy News

December 31, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “With Coal Under Fire, 2020 Could Be A Big Year For Wind Power In Japan” • One day, resource-deprived Japan may no longer have to import its energy, nor rely on nuclear power or coal, thanks to a renewable source with vast potential: offshore wind power. A law allowing offshore turbines to operate for up to 30 years may bring that day closer. [The Japan Times]

Formosa 1 Offshore Wind Project in Taiwan (JERA Co)

¶ “How Energy Storage Could Revolutionize Industries In The Next 10 Years” • Over the last ten years, a surge in lithium-ion battery production drove down prices to the point that for the first time in history electric vehicles became commercially viable from the standpoint of both cost and performance. Next comes utility-scale storage. [CNBC]

World:

¶ “Australian Wildfires Force Thousands To Flee To The Beach” • Thousands of people had to take refuge from wildfires on a beach in southeast Australia, as fires swept through the town. About 4,000 residents and visitors were forced to evacuate Mallacoota, Victoria, authorities said. Roads were cut off, and there was no way in or out of the town. [CNN]

Mallacoota, pitch dark at 10:00 AM (Jason Selmes)

¶ “Tesla Says Shanghai Gigafactory Already Producing 1,000 Model 3s Per Week” • Tesla China’s general manager said that 1,000 Model 3s are already being produced each week, with 280 units per day having been demonstrated. This production level comes less than 12 months since Tesla broke ground on the Shanghai Gigafactory site. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Atomic Waste Dump In Marshall Islands To Be Investigated” • Radioactive debris from dozens of US cold war atomic bomb tests in the Marshall Islands is stored in a concrete dome now threatened by rising sea levels. The defense bill just approved by President Trump requires an investigation by the US DOE of the dome’s condition.  [BBC]

Nuclear bomb test in the Marshall Islands, 1946 (Getty Images)

¶ “India Cold Wave: Delhi Reels From Coldest Day In More Than A Century” • India’s capital Delhi has recorded its chilliest day since 1901, when record tracking began. On 30 December, the maximum day temperature dropped to 9.4°C (49°F) and levels of pollution peaked in thick fog. The previous record, 9.8°C (49.6°F) was on 2 January 2013. [BBC]

¶ “Moscow Brings In Artificial Snow For New Year In Mild Winter” • In Moscow, authorities have dumped artificial snow in the city center for New Year festivities, as this is now the Russian capital’s warmest December since 1886. The mild Russian winter is seen as more evidence of global warming, though seeing snow delivered by truck amused residents. [BBC]

Artificial snow in Moscow (Getty Images)

¶ “India Has Installed 84 GW Of Renewable Energy Capacity So Far: MNRE” • India’s renewable energy capacity crossed 84-GW mark by the end of November this year, fresh data released by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy showed. To that date, slightly over 6 GW of renewable capacity had been installed in the country. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ “Endesa Asks To Close Coal-Fired Plants In Spain To Make Way For Renewables” • Endesa SA petitioned Spanish authorities to allow it to close two coal-fired power plants because they are no longer competitive. Analysis indicates that converting to biomass is not economically or environmentally acceptable. The plants are to be replaced by renewables. [Renewables Now]

Wind farm in Spain (Endesa image)

¶ “Railway Land To Be Given For 500 MW Solar Power Plants To Meet Its Traction Needs” • The railways will offer its vacant land to install 500-MW of solar capacity to meet its energy needs, its board chairman said. This is in addition to installations of 500 MW of PVs and about 200 MW of windpower already being developed. [Economic Times]

US:

¶ “US DOE FAST Competition For Pumped Storage Picks Four Winners” • At a hydropower convention in April, the DOE announced a competition to reduce cost and time for building pumped storage. About 30 competitors put forward proposals and pitched them in October. Now, the DOE has announced the four winners. [CleanTechnica]

Water power reservoir (DOE via Shutterstock)

¶ “Clean Energy Goals, DER Strategies, EV Growth To Shape 2020 Utilities Industry Outlook: Deloitte” • Electric utilities will seize the opportunity to expand their role in leading the clean energy transition while improving the customer experience in 2020, Deloitte forecasts in its 2020 Power and Utilities Industry Outlook. [Daily Energy Insider]

¶ “New Mexico Congresspeople To Improve Electrical Transmission, Amid Push For Renewable Energy” • New Mexico congresspeople introduced federal bills to improve transmission infrastructure, with hopes it can enable renewable energy. Sen Martin Heinrich (D) and Rep Deb Haaland (D) introduced a pair of companion bills. [Carlsbad Current-Argus]

Raising a transmission tower (Xcel Energy image)

¶ “Despite More Renewable Energy, Oregon’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Continue To Rise” • In 2020, Oregon’s electricity providers will be required to produce a record 20% of their energy from such renewable sources as solar and wind. Fossil fuels are being replaced by renewables. But total emissions in the state are still on the rise. [Jefferson Public Radio]

¶ “Is There More Trouble Ahead For Plant Vogtle Expansion? In Georgia, experts Testify That Serious Challenges Remain” • Expert witnesses made clear to the PSC that it will be extremely challenging for the two Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors to be completed by the scheduled dates, and costs may increase again. [Clean Energy News]

Have an astoundingly uncomplicated day.

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December 30 Energy News

December 30, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “The Lost Decade: How We Awoke To Climate Change Only To Squander Every Chance To Act” • We may see 2009 to 2019 as the “lost decade,” a time when the world awoke to the reality of climate change only to squander every chance to take action. Now, many scientists fear the targets we need to hit to avoid catastrophe are slipping out of reach. [HuffPost]

Venice flooding (Filippo Monteforte | AFP via Getty Images)

¶ “Green New Deals For The World Are Green Good Deals” • World leaders at the UN Madrid climate talks failed to agree on a path forward. The core of the problem is the belief by some leaders that solving global warming will be expensive and drain the economies of their countries. However, new research indicates that this belief is incorrect. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “What’s Behind Big Oil’s Promises Of Emissions Cuts? Lots Of Wiggle Room” • Like never before, energy companies are publicly acknowledging the threat posed by climate change and the need for society to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But at the same time, oil and gas production in the US and globally continues to soar. [InsideClimate News]

Oil Exploration Rig (Omar Torres | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “Pumped Hydro Social License, Pt 1: Wind Energy Experience Says Don’t Expect You Have Full Approval” • The US has 40 pumped storage sites, providing 95% of all energy storage in the country, and 50 more are planned. But they are not always accepted by the local people, and they often have to fight for local approval. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ “The Option For Low-Speed Airborne Transportation” • A large, helium-filled 21st-century airship with many potential applications, including renewably powered west-to-east freight transportation, is being developed by Lockheed Martin. Other developers are looking into modern hot-air craft for similar purposes. [The Maritime Executive]
(Westbound travel uses more energy because of winds.)

Lockheed Martin airship (Lockheed Martin image)

¶ “Decarbonization At Center Stage In Mining As Renewables-Plus-Storage Become Cost Competitive” • Because many mines are in remote locations, powering them is expensive and usually based on diesel oil. Declining costs for wind, solar, and energy storage have increasingly made clean energy an economically attractive option. [Greentech Media]

World:

¶ “Australia Fires: Fires Worsen As Every Australian State Hits 40°C” • Scores of fires are burning out of control across Australia amid a heatwave that has seen temperatures exceed 40°C (104°F) in every state. In one popular holiday region, about 30,000 people were urged to flee, but then evacuations became too risky as fires neared major roads. [BBC]

Remains of a car (Getty Images)

¶ “Honda CEO Peers Into The Future, Sees Nothing But Piston Power From Here To Eternity” • Takahiro Hachigo, CEO of Honda Motor Company, shared his take on the future of cars in a year-end interview with Automotive News Europe. He said he believes hybrid vehicles will play a critical role, but he does not believe customers want EVs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “First Ming Yang 10-MW Giant Produced” • Chinese company Ming Yang Smart Energy finished its first nacelle for a 10-MW offshore wind turbine. The MySE8-10MW series anti-typhoon machine was produced at the company’s Mingyang Yangjiang Smart Manufacturing Center in Yangjiang, China. Production is set to begin in 2020. [reNEWS]

Ming Yang 10-MW nacelle (Ming Yang Smart Energy)

¶ “Solar Set For Boom After A Gloomy 2019” • Indian solar installations in 2020 are set to exceed 10 GW after a year hit by political uncertainties, module price increases associated with safeguard duty, and a lower number of awarded tenders. But the outlook for battery energy storage installations for solar projects remains bleak. [pv magazine India]

¶ “Swedish Nuclear Power Reactor Shuts Down For Good” • The nuclear power reactor of Ringhals has been officially shut down. And next year, another of the four reactors will be shut down as well, according to The Local Sweden. The decision to close the reactors was based purely on business, declining profitability, and increased costs. [PoliticalLore.com]

In the Ringhals plant

US:

¶ “Energy Stocks Are The Biggest Losers Of 2019 – And The Decade” • Although America is now the world’s largest producer of both crude oil and natural gas, energy stocks have been losers. Big ones. For the decade, the energy sector is up a paltry 34%, according to Refinitiv. By comparison, tech stocks have soared and are up nearly 400%. [CNN]

¶ “Heavy-Duty Hydrogen: Fuel Cell Trains And Trucks Power Up For The 2020s” • The first hydrogen rail project in the US will be in California, where the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority plans to operate a FLIRT H2 train from Swiss supplier Stadler, starting in 2024. Hydrogen is also going into use as a fuel for large trucks. [Forbes]

Hydrogen-powered Nikola truck (Nikola And Anheuser-Busch)

¶ “Democratic Candidates And Their Clean Energy Plans” • Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have made detailed and courageous proposals to return the US to the Paris Agreement and to redirect federal expenditures toward the enormous task of mitigating the climate crisis before it’s too late. Here are some of the positions of other major candidates. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Minnesota Firms Grow An Industry Focused On Renewable Energy, Conservation And Software Analytics” • Donald Trump may have taken aim efficiency and renewable energy, but they are economic and environmental winners. Small businesses in those fields and with related software are Minnesota’s economic growth leaders. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Have a tremendously agreeable day.

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December 29 Energy News

December 29, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “With A Million Species At Risk, What Do We Save?” • A decade-long project to save one of the world’s most endangered birds has finally found success, as two chicks hatched. But with an estimated million species at risk worldwide and nothing like the money and resources to save them all, how do conservationists choose the few they can save? [BBC]

Spoon-billed sandpiper chick (WWT image)

¶ “The Future Of Energy Is Being Shaped In Asia” • A Frenchman is credited with being the first to discover the photovoltaic effect that produces electricity from sunlight. The first solar panel was built in the US. But when Abu Dhabi decided to build the world’s largest individual solar power project, they looked east for help, to China and Japan. [The European Sting]

¶ “UAE’s Nuclear Program Could Lead To Nuclear Arms Race, Disaster, Expert Says” • The nuclear program of the United Arab Emirates could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and its lack of crucial safety features could lead to a nuclear disaster, one expert told the British Telegraph. The plant is to begin operating in 2020. [The Times of Israel]

UAE nuclear reactor (Arun Girija | WAM via AP)

Science and Technology:

¶ “How Air Pollution Messes With Your Mind” • The air we breathe could be changing our behaviour in ways we are only just starting to understand. Emerging studies show that air pollution is linked to impaired judgement, mental health problems, poorer performance in school and most worryingly perhaps, increased levels of crime. [BBC]

World:

¶ “Thousands Sign Petition To Halt ‘traumatic’ Show” • Over a quarter of a million people have signed a petition calling for Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks to be cancelled and the money spent on fighting fires that threaten the city. The display should also be cancelled as it people are dealing with “enough smoke in the air.” [BCC]

Sydney’s New Year fireworks in 2018 (Getty Images)

¶ “There’s A Texas-Size Area Of Hot Sea Water Off The Coast Of New Zealand” • Satellite imagery shows a massive area of ocean water at well-above-average temperatures in the South Pacific Ocean east of New Zealand. Driven by climate change, the water in the area is about 5°C (9°F) “warmer than average for the latitude and time of year.” [CNN]

¶ “BMW i4 Will Likely Have 330+ Miles Of EPA Range” • BMW has begun releasing details about the i4 sedan it intends to bring to market in 2021. According to CNET Road Show, its dual motors will be able to push it to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4 seconds. More impressively, it will come with a projected range of 600 km (373 miles). [CleanTechnica]

BMW iVision concept (Image courtesy of BMW)

¶ “Volkswagen Increases 2023 & 2025 EV Production Targets” • Volkswagen Group announced increased targets for its electric vehicle production and sales. Previously, it said its intention was to produce and sell 1 million fully electric vehicles in 2025. The target year for that is now 2023, while the 2025 target has increased to 1½ million. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Keppel Bay Tower To Be Fully Powered By Renewable Energy From 2020” • On January 1, Keppel Bay Tower will become the first commercial building in Singapore to be fully powered by renewable energy, Keppel Corporation has announced. Keppel’s property arm Keppel Land is the owner and operator of Keppel Bay Tower. [The Business Times]

Keppel Bay Tower (Keppel Corporation image)

¶ “REN21: Renewables In Cities Can Ignite Global Change” • Cities are responsible for 75% of emissions globally, yet according to the Renewables in Cities 2019 Global Status Report from REN21 they can resolve most of those emissions problems by switching to renewables. Doing so will bring a number of other benefits along the way. [Sustainability Times]

¶ “Danish Farmers Divided Over Plan To Flood Their Lands To Cut Emissions” • Peat may seem like a fringe issue in the battle against climate change, but according to a recent study by Aarhus University, flooding cultivated former peatlands could reduce Denmark’s emissions by 1.4 million tonnes of CO₂ per year. That is roughly what Copenhagen emits. [The Guardian]

Lille Vildmose bog in Jutland (Photo: Mona Frederiksen)

¶ “The Clean Energy Finance Corporation: Lazarus With A Triple Bypass” • Over the past two weeks, government agency reports have given a series of ringing endorsements to renewable energy and underscored its integral role in Australia’s future wellbeing. The Australian Energy Market Operator and the Department of Environment were two sources. [Michael West News]

US:

¶ “Atlis Shows Us How To Make A More Conventional Electric Truck” • Atlis Motors, based in Mesa, Arizona, is building electric trucks conventinally. Instead of building a unibody truck, the company started with a frame that includes the battery and drivetrain. Attached to this is everything else needed to carry nearly any body on the top. [CleanTechnica]

Atlis modular frame (Image by Atlis Motor Vehicles)

¶ “Training Sparks Economy With Linemen, Manufacturing Jobs” • Workforce development and training kicked into a higher gear in 2019 across Arkansas in recent months, and those efforts are beginning to pay dividends as we reach the end of the year. Some are getting work as utility linemen. Others in solar and wind energy development. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]

¶ “Turning Skiers Into Climate Voters With The Advocacy Potential Of The NRA” • With rising temperatures threatening to limit the skiing season and even put resorts out of existence, major ski companies are turning to their customers for help in the fight against climate change. Their goal is to turn millions of snow-lovers into climate voters. [InsideClimate News]

Have a gleefully rewarding day.

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December 28 Energy News

December 28, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “From Global Warming To Plastic Pollution, This Was The Decade When People Learned The Planet Was Facing A Climate Emergency” • This was the decade when science demonstrated climate change was happening beyond any reasonable doubt. Record high temperatures, droughts, floods, and storms were all plainly visible to anyone who looks. [iNews]

Spanish farmland (Miguel Riopa | AFP | Getty)

¶ “2019 Was A Pivotal Year For Energy” • In the years ahead, 2019 could go down in the history books as a pivotal year in the energy transition. It has been  a year that saw grid parity tipping points. The hype around US shale finally burst. Climate change became increasingly top-of-mind for the energy sector. And the capital markets started shifting. [OilPrice.com]

¶ “Renewable Energy Producers Will Be Hurt Most By Strengthening CFE” • Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has developed plans to curb private participation in the Mexican electricity market as part of an effort by the government of President López Obrador to consolidate power generation in state hands. [Mexico News Daily]

Transmission lines and towers

Science and Technology:

¶ “Submarine To Explore Why Antarctic Glacier Is Melting So Quickly” • An international team of scientists at the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica is preparing to drill through more than half a kilometer of ice into the dark waters beneath. They plan to lower down a torpedo-shaped robotic submarine to explore with hopes to find out why it is melting so fast. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ “Industry Analysts Expect EV Sales To Soar In UK & EU Beginning In 2020” • Auto analysts in Europe and the UK think the prices of EVs will continue to fall in much the same way they did for microwaves and cell phones. According to a report by The Guardian, 2020 is poised to be the Year Of The Electric Car, at least in Europe. [CleanTechnica]

MINI Cooper EV (Image courtesy of MINI)

¶ “Survey of UK investors shows serious interest in renewable energy in 2020” • Renewable energy is the top investment sector for investors in the United Kingdom, a GraniteShares survey revealed. Almost a third of respondents believe that renewables are the best sector to put their money into in 2020, reflecting a surge in optimism. [Solar Builder]

¶ “Turkey Jumps Into The EV Market” • Turkey jumps into the EV market by unveiling its first “fully” domestically made electric vehicle, with goals of producing up to 175,000 EVs a year. This will cost around $3.7 billion over the next 13 years. It is refreshing to see another country getting more serious about electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

Turkish President Erdogan with TOGG EV (via Twitter)

¶ “Australia Suffers Worst Of China’s Coal Curbs After Earlier Boom” • Australia is bearing the brunt of China’s year-end coal import restrictions, ceding market share to other exporters including Russia and Mongolia. Shipments had soared earlier in 2019, when Chinese imports from Australia climbed to record levels. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ “Australia Bushfires Taking Toll On Public Health” • Australia’s “terrible” air quality is taking a toll on public health. Hospitals are crowded with patients suffering heart and lung damage, said an expert. “The air quality over Sydney and Canberra, the capital of Australia, has been appalling,” a scientist at the Climate Science Centre of Australia said. [Anadolu Agency]

Fighting a bushfire

¶ “German Nuclear Exit Continues As Planned With Next Reactor To Close Dec 31” • Germany’s planned phasing out of nuclear power will continue with the closure of the 1.5-GW Philippsburg 2. Federal environment minister, Svenja Schulze, said in a statement that the consensus in Germany behind the nuclear phase-out was “rock solid.” [S&P Global]

¶ “Denmark Moves Ahead With Renewable Projects” • Ørsted and its partners have funding of $5.2 million from the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme for a hydrogen project, they said. A 2-MW electrolysis terminal with hydrogen storage will be powered by Ørsted’s 3.6-MW offshore wind farm at Avedøre. [Energy Reporters]

Ørsted offshore wind farm (Image via YouTube)

US:

¶ “Coal Miners Celebrate After Passage Of American Miners Act Of 2019” • Coal miners celebrated after a last minute passage of a government spending bill. The bill avoids another government shutdown, but more important for the miners and their families, it includes a long-awaited plan to save their pension and health care funds. [WDVM 25]

¶ “NW Energy Shareholder Files Suit Claiming Utility Excluded Climate Proposal From 2020 Proxy” • A NorthWestern Energy shareholder is suing the company for omitting his proposal from its 2020 proxy materials. He said the utility is moving toward a “fossil-fuel-intensive train wreck” that shareholders have an interest in reversing. [Missoula Current]

Transmission system (The Nature Conservancy | Kili Yuyan)

¶ “Leftover Holiday Food Converted To Renewable Energy” • Over the holiday season there’s an increase in the amount of waste produced, with a large percentage of that waste being food. In New York, the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority says their Food 2 Energy program allows residents to recycle scraps of unwanted food. [WUTR/WFXV]

¶ “Glendale Water & Power To Purchase Solar And Battery Energy Storage” • The Glendale City Council passed a resolution to enter into a 25-year Power Sales Agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority for 25 MW of solar power and 12.5-MW/50-MWh of battery storage at the Eland 1 Solar and Storage Center. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Have a fundamentally flawless day.

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December 27 Energy News

December 27, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Frugal Innovation Offers An Opportunity To Democratize Electricity” • One of the islands of Vanuatu is testing ‘Power Blox,’ grid-tied modular power cubes that deliver renewable energy. They can be expanded as needed by the community, without damaging the environment. The more blocks you add, the stronger the grid becomes. [UNDP]

Working with Power Blox (Photo: UNDP Vanuatu)

¶ “Darren Springer & Rebecca Towne: Renewable Energy Standard Is Driving Emissions Reductions” • Vermont’s renewable energy standard is beginning to make meaningful changes in the challenging areas of heating and transportation, which are the greatest source of Vermont carbon emissions and need our focused effort. [vtdigger.org]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Floating Solar On Pumped Hydro, Part 1: Evaporation Management Is A Bonus” • There are several pros and cons to putting floating solar on pumped hydro reservoirs: evaporation control, panel efficiency, reuse of transmission connections, volatile water levels, shadowed reservoirs, water movement, and relative cost. [CleanTechnica]

Pumped storage hydro reservoir in Michigan

¶ “Renewable Natural Gas Creating Opportunity to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions” • Organically derived renewable natural gas has the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions in the world’s most carbon-dependent industries. RNG from biological waste can be easily deployed by utilities and for transportation. [Investing News Network]

¶ “California, Climate Change And The Trauma Of The Last Decade” • The wildfires were more destructive. The drought was the longest on record. In 2015, the Sierra snowpack reached its lowest level in 500 years, but the storms, when they finally came, unleashed more water than our dams could contain. California is experiencing climate change. [Los Angeles Times]

Woolsey fire, 2018 (Wally Skalij | Los Angeles Times)

¶ “Counting The Cost 2019: A Year Of Climate Breakdown” • Christian Aid published the report, Counting the Cost 2019. It identifies fifteen of the most destructive droughts, floods, fires, typhoons and cyclones of 2019, each of which caused damage of over $1 billion. Seven of the events cost more than $10 billion each. [Reliefweb]

World:

¶ “EGPE Switches On 50 MW Of Wind In Galicia” • Spanish utility Endesa SA announced that its renewables unit Enel Green Power Espana has connected to the grid 50 MW of wind farms in Spain’s Lugo province. The company invested €61 million ($67.6 million) in the 21 turbines installed. The wind farms are expected to produce 185 GWh per year. [Renewables Now]

Endesa’s Enel Green Power Espana wind parks

¶ “At Over ₹844 Million, DISCOM Dues To Power Generators In October Up 54% YOY” • Outstanding dues owed to power generators by distribution companies (DISCOMs) at the end of October 2019 stood at ₹844.45 billion ($11.83 billion), up by ₹297.76 billion ($4.17 billion) or 54% from the same period last year. [Mercom India]

¶ “Progress In Estonian-Latvian Joint Project For Renewable Energy” • The Estonian government made a decision to review issue of a construction permit to create a wind turbine park in the Gulf of Riga. This would allow Estonia and Latvia to implement a joint renewable energy project, according to an Eesti Energia representative. [bnn-news.com]

Wind turbines (SIPA | Scanpix)

¶ “Taiwan Sees Increasing Renewable Energy Generation, Say MOEA” • Taiwan recorded renewable energy generation of 13 GWh during January-October 2019, increasing 22.4% on year and taking up 5.6% of total electricity output, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In the first nine months of 2019, 1.340 GW of PVs were approved. [Digitimes]

¶ “Australian Miners Hit By Lowest Thermal Coal Price In More Than A Decade” • Australian coal exporters have experienced the biggest annual drop in thermal coal prices in more than a decade over the course of 2019. This raises doubts about the industry’s projections that demand will grow. The spot price of thermal coal is down more than a third. [The Guardian]

Price of coal (Darren England | AAP)

¶ “Removal Of Spent Nuclear Fuel At Fukushima Daiichi Delayed Up To Five Years” • The Japanese government decided to delay the removal of spent fuel from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s No 1 and No 2 reactors by up to five years, casting doubt on whether it can stick to its schedule to dismantle the crippled complex. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ “Renewables Account For 100% Of Oct 2019 Capacity Additions In US” • The US put into service 722 MW of new power capacity in October, 2019, and all of it was renewable, the latest monthly report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission shows. For January through October, slightly less than 50% of new capacity has been natural gas. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines in Texas (Xcel Energy)

¶ “Despite SUV Craze, Tesla Model 3 Dominates US Luxury Vehicle Market” • Of the the top-selling luxury vehicle in the US in the first half of 2019, only two were sedans. The Tesla Model 3, however, beat the others in the field by a huge margin. The only other sedan on the top 10 list was the Mercedes C-Class, and rest were all SUVs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Tri-State Tells Colorado Regulators They Lack Jurisdiction In Contract Dispute With Electric Co-ops” • Two Colorado utilities filed complaints with state regulators in November, saying Tri-State won’t name the amount of money it would take to get out of their contracts. Now Tri-State is telling the regulators they have no authority in the case. [The Denver Post]

Have a magically inspiring day.

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December 26 Energy News

December 26, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Statistic Of The Decade: The Massive Deforestation Of The Amazon” • The Royal Statistical Society’s International Statistic of the Decade is meant to capture the zeitgeist of this decade. On December 23, the winner was announced: There were 8.4 million soccer fields of land deforested in the Amazon basin over the past decade. [Down To Earth Magazine]

Amazon rain forest

¶ “As Fracking Companies Face Bankruptcy, US Regulators Enable Firms to Duck Cleanup Costs” • In over their heads with debt, US shale oil and gas firms are now moving from a boom in fracking to a boom in bankruptcies. This trend could put the US taxpayers on the hook for paying to shut them down properly and clean up the drilling sites. [EcoWatch]

¶ “Oil Sector May Be Entering Final Decade Of Growth” • The decade coming to a close will be remembered for a shale drilling revolution that transformed the United States into the world’s biggest oil producer. But the oncoming 2020s may well go down in history as the decade when the world’s demand for crude oil peaked for good. [Houston Chronicle]

Oil pump jack (Jonah M Kessel | STF | NYT)

Science and Technology:

¶ “The Fracking Industry’s Methane Problem Is A Climate Problem” • While CO₂ gets a bad rap when it comes to climate change, about 40% of global warming actually can be attributed to the powerful greenhouse gas methane, according to the 2013 IPCC report. A new report links increasing amounts of methane in the atmosphere with fracking. [NationofChange]

¶ “The Last Battery Breakthrough Story Of 2019” • The latest battery breakthrough announcement comes from researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. A research team developed a solid polymer-based electrolyte that can heal itself if it is damaged. It can also be recycled without the use of harsh chemicals or high temperatures. [CleanTechnica]

University of Illinois polymer battery (JACS image)

World:

¶ “NTPC to invest ₹50,000 crore to add 10 GW solar energy capacity by 2022” • India’s state-owned power giant NTPC is planning to add 10 GW of solar energy generation capacity by 2022. This entails an investment of around ₹50,000 crore ($7.5 billion), which is to be funded mainly by green bonds, a source has said. [Business Today]

¶ “Record High Temperatures Cast Gloom Over Festive Season In Moscow” • Russia’s capital saw record high temperatures in December, and snow is not predicted until the end of the month. Moscow hit 6.2°C (43.2°) on Dec 24, the warmest temperature recorded for that date. Lack of snow put streets under a gloomy pall, despite holiday decorations. [CNN]

Moscow (Alexander Zemlianichenko | AP)

¶ “Fuel Supply By Coal India To Power Sector Drops 9% To 291 MT In April-November” • The supply of coal by state-owned Coal India to the power sector registered a decline of 8.9% to 291.4 million tonnes in April through November. A government official recently blamed the extended monsoon for the loss of coal output for some months. [Times Now]

¶ “Typhoon Phanfone: Philippines Counts Cost Of Deadly Storm” • Typhoon Phanfone has killed at least 10 people in the Philippines, leaving a trail of devastation through the center of the country. The storm, also known as Ursula, carried gusts of close to 190km/h (118 mph) and made landfall several times across various islands, officials say. [BCC]

Ormoc, Leyte province (AFP photo)

¶ “Fukushima Water Plan Sparks Fears Over Safety” • Concerns have been expressed in China and South Korea over a Japanese proposal to dump massive amounts of radioactive water from the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. Experts have called for greater transparency on the plan from the Japanese government. [ecns]

¶ “India Set To Cross 100-GW Renewable Energy Capacity Mark In 2020” • India is all set to cross the 100-GW renewable energy capacity mark in 2020 and can make rapid strides towards the ambitious 175-GW clean energy target. To achieve this by 2022, the government must keep a close eye on key issues and deal with those well in time. [Financial Express]

Renewable energy

US:

¶ “NorthWestern Says It’s Running Short On Power; Climate Activists Say We’re Running Out Of Time” • At a cramped meeting before the Montana Public Service Commission, a crowd of climate activists radiated suspicion as an energy planner for NorthWestern Energy presented a plan that would increase use of gas. [The Bozeman Daily Chronicle]

¶ “After A Rough Year, Farmers And Congress Are Talking About Climate Solutions” • The Midwest floods of 2019 revealed another benefit of sustainable agriculture: fields farmed with conservation practices recovered faster from flooding. Farmers saw the difference, and now they are taking their new knowledge to congress. [InsideClimate News]

No-till field with cover crops on the left, conventional
farming on the right (Rob Myers | University of Missouri)

¶ “Fairfax Solar Plan Could Spur Change To Virginia Law Meant To Shield Dominion Energy From Competitors” • Fairfax County is moving to buy energy from contractors who would install solar panels on over 100 county buildings. It is part of a growing effort to undo Dominion Energy’s protections against competition. [Washington Post]

¶ “Colorado Springs Utilities Joining Energy Pact That Will Save Millions, Increase Renewables” • Colorado Springs Utilities this spring will join a power provider pact that is expected to save millions of dollars annually, help reduce customers’ bills, and increase use of renewable energy. The pact will reduce the curtailment of renewables. [Colorado Springs Gazette]

Have a certifiably merry day.

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December 25 Energy News

December 25, 2019

Science and Technology:

¶ “Scientists Struggle To Save Vital Seagrasses From Coastal Pollution” • Seagrasses grow along coastlines nearly everywhere around the world, and they can store twice as much carbon in a given area as temperate and tropical forests. But the over 70 species of seagrasses in coastal habitats are among the most poorly protected. [The Weather Channel]

Lobster (Tay Evans | MA Division of Marine Fisheries via AP)

¶ “Want To Fight Climate Change? Plant Mango Trees” • Love mangoes? If you do, you have reason to celebrate. A study by scientists of the Indian Council for Agriculture Research found that mango orchards in the country have sequestrated 2.85 lakh tonnes (285,000 metric tons, 314,000 tons) of carbon from the atmosphere. [The New Indian Express]

World:

¶ “With Most Electricity From Renewables, South Australia Has Lowest Utility Cost” • The latest monthly report on emissions from the Australia Institute shows that over the past two months, South Australia got 65% of its electricity from wind and solar, more than any other state. Customer utility bills will average $65 lower this year than in other states. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbines (Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica)

¶ “Australian Councils Are Piling On The Climate Emergency Bandwagon” • At least eight councils across Australia declared climate emergencies in December. The declarations vary, but most acknowledge the major threat posed to communities and the urgent action required by all levels of government with commitments to local action. [Solar Quotes]

¶ “CCP Seeks Ban On Use Of Wheat Straw As Fuel” • The Competition Commission of Pakistan has recommended that provincial governments ban burning wheat straw in fields and for fuel. Wheat straw is the main raw material in the production of pulp and paper and constitutes approximately 85% of the total cost of low-quality paper. [The Express Tribune]

Wheat (Reuters image)

¶ “In Indonesia’s Provinces, Ditching Coal For Renewables Would Cut Carbon And Costs: Study” • In Indonesia, a major producer and consumer of coal, politicians often argue that continued reliance on the highly polluting fossil fuel remains an economic necessity. A recent analysis of four Indonesian provinces refutes this view. [Mongabay.com]

¶ “Law Enforcement Boosts Renewable Energy Utilization In China” • Effective enforcement of China’s renewable energy law facilitated rapid development of the sector, a report says. The power generated by renewable energy amounted to nearly 1.87 trillion kWh in 2018, accounting for 26.7% of China’s total power output in the year. [ecns]

Wind farm in Xinjiang (Photo: Xinhua)

¶ “Hokkaido Electric Miscalculated Radioactive Materials for 31 Yrs” • Hokkaido Electric Power Co erroneously calculated the amounts of radioactive substances contained in the gas released from a facility at its Tomari nuclear power plant for 31 years. The actual amounts of such substances were about two times larger than reported. [Nippon.com]

US:

¶ “Washington State Ferries, Second-Largest Ferry Network, Switching From Diesel To Batteries” • Washington State Ferries is the second-largest ferry system in the world. Now, it is switching that system from diesel to batteries. Three Jumbo Mark II ferries, which together use 5 million gallons of fuel per year, will be upgraded first. [CleanTechnica]

Puget sound ferries (Grace from Seattle, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Ohio Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Nuclear Bailout Law Referendum Case” • The Ohio Supreme Court has voted 4-0 to hear the case filed by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts. OACB wanted to overturn the law that subsidizes Ohio’s two nuclear power plants and two coal fired plants, but says its petition circulators were followed and blocked. [WHSO]

¶ “Rivian Raises $1.3 Billion In Latest Funding Round” • Rivian has not even begun building pre-production versions of its RiT electric truck and R1S electric SUV, but it raised almost $3 billion in 2019, capped by its most recent funding round, which added $1.3 billion. This latest round was led by T Rowe Price, a major investor in Tesla. [CleanTechnica]

Rivian electric truck (Photo courtesy of Rivian)

¶ “Another Oil Major Bails On Marcellus Shale” • Beginning in 2019, signs of weakness in parts of the shale oil business began to take shape in the massive retrenchment of the service industry that powered shale growth. This trend became even more clear when Chevron said it would write down and put on the auction block its Marcellus shale assets. [OilPrice.com]

¶ “New Regulations Announced For Peak-Use Power Plants” • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new regulations to reduce emissions in peak-use power plants Monday in a press release. The new regulations will lower the threshold for NOx emissions. Peak-use power plants have until 2023 to 2025 to find cleaner energy sources. [NEWS10 ABC]

Albany at peak-use time

¶ “Judge: DTE Energy’s Long-Term Plan Is Flawed” • DTE Energy missed the mark on proposed long-term energy plan, an administrative law judge ruled. A number of groups intervened in the case, pointing to what they call DTE’s use of bad data and flawed modeling to produce results that understate the benefits of renewable energy. [Michigan Radio]

¶ “ACUA, Pleasantville To Build One Of State’s First Community Solar Projects” • The Atlantic County Utilities Authority and the Pleasantville Housing Authority plan to build one of New Jersey’s first community solar projects on a landfill in Egg Harbor Twp. The 2-MW project got its approval through a Board of Public Utilities pilot program. [Press of Atlantic City]

Have an ordinary, good old-fashioned, perfect day.

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December 24 Energy News

December 24, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Our Pathetically Slow Shift To Clean Energy, In Five Charts” • Even with dropping costs, the swift growth in renewables hasn’t added up to major changes in the massive global energy system or reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. Clean technologies have mostly met rising energy demands, but not so far cut into fossil-fuel infrastructure. [MIT Technology Review]

Wind turbines (Thomas Reaubourg Jr | Unsplash)

¶ “Fact-Check: Five Things Trump Got Wrong About Wind Turbines” • President Donald Trump kicked off his holiday week with a speech to young conservatives. He touted his knowledge of wind power, saying “I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody I know.” Then he made a series of claims that were false or misleading. [CNN]

¶ “How Is Australia Tackling Climate Change?” • Scientists around the world are looking aghast at the politics of climate change in Australia. It’s one of the most vulnerable countries on the planet to rising temperatures, yet there is still denial among the country’s leaders about the impacts of rising CO₂ levels on events like the current wildfires. [BBC]

Bushfire in the backyard (Getty Images)

World:

¶ “In Asia Pacific The Climate Crisis Is Happening Now, Not In The Future” • Asia and the Pacific are already feeling the harsh reality of the climate crisis. The toxic smog, flooding, landslides, cyclones, bushfires, droughts, and deadly heatwaves of 2019 were not anomalies. Scientists say weather events are more extreme because of climate change. [CNN]

¶ “Australia fires: The Thousands Of Volunteers Fighting The Flames” • “We’re doing it because it’s a passion” said Daniel Knox. “It’s a brotherhood.” He is one of thousands of Australians who’ve dropped their ordinary lives to battle the nation’s raging fire crisis. He said, “When that photo was taken of me, I had done a 15-hour shift out there.”  [BBC]

Daniel Knox in controlled burn (Daniel Knox | Andrew O’dwyer)

¶ “Ørsted Divests “Loss-Making” LNG Business” • Danish renewable energy giant Ørsted announced that it has signed an agreement with leading global natural resources company Glencore to divest itself of its liquefied natural gas business, describing it as “loss-making” and projecting that it will “remain so for years to come.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Latest European Onshore Wind Auctions Prove Technologies’ Importance” • Recent energy auctions show the increasing importance of onshore windpower in the EU.  WindEurope, the European trade association for wind energy, has highlighted several recent onshore wind energy auctions which all delivered competitive prices. [CleanTechnica]

Wind turbine (RES image)

¶ “Reactor Anti-Terror Upgrades To Boost LNG, Coal Demand In 2020” • Analysts expect four of Japan’s nine operating reactors to close temporarily next year while utilities make the changes required by stricter anti-terrorism rules adopted after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. To cover the capacity loss they will have to buy more coal and natural gas. [The Japan News]

US:

¶ “Who’s Gonna Win The Race For Floating Offshore Wind Turbines, Maine Or California?” • California is used to grabbing the clean tech spotlight with its massive onshore wind farms, but it looks like Maine could nail down bragging rights to the first US floating offshore wind farm. This is despite the fact that  Maine already has 75% renewable electricity. [CleanTechnica]

Floating offshore wind turbine (Maine Aqua Ventus image)

¶ “New Mexico State Senators Seek To Tax EVs And Renewable Energy” • With the 2020 New Mexico legislative session coming up, legislators are pre-filing bills for consideration. Two of these bills seek to tax electric vehicles and renewable energy. The details are worth a look, however. One exempts up to 500 kWh per day of personal generation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “States Vowed to Uphold America’s Climate Pledge. Are They Succeeding?” • With actions already taken by 25 states, 534 cities, counties, tribes, businesses, and organizations, emissions could fall 25% below 2005 levels by 2030. That’s just under the Obama administration’s original Paris commitment, though five years later than the 2025 deadline. [InsideClimate News]

Herald Square, New York (Gary Hershorn | Getty Images)

¶ “Enel Unleashes 450-MW Texas Giant” • Enel Green Power North America has started operations at its 450-MW High Lonesome wind farm in Texas. The $720 million project is expected to generate about 1,900 GW-hours of electricity a year. With a 12-year power purchase agreement that was signed, the project, will be expanded to 500 MW. [reNEWS]

¶ “Renewables Are A Bright Spot In Texas’ Tumultuous Energy Market” • A survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas estimates about 8,100 Texas oil-and-gas-sector jobs might soon disappear in another oil downturn. But it’s not all bad news, especially for the renewable energy market. Texas produces 20% of all US wind power. [Texas Standard]

Texas wind farm (Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon | KUT)

¶ “2019 Was A Big Year for Renewable Energy In New York” • When Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act into law in July, it made New York State a national leader in the broader fight against climate change. No state has a more aggressive emissions reduction target. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

¶ “Appeals Court Orders Further Review For Minnesota Power Natural Gas Plant” • Minnesota regulators need to take another look at the environmental effect of a natural gas plant Minnesota Power wants to build in Wisconsin, the state Court of Appeals ruled Monday. The ruling is a setback for the $700 million project. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Have an outstandingly triumphant day.

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December 23 Energy News

December 23, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “Why Energy Retailers Could Benefit From Giving Power To The People” • When it comes to accelerating the take up of renewable energy, the idea of a two-sided market, in which consumers are rewarded for buying and selling energy in real-time, could be the solution the world’s energy markets have been looking for. [Forbes]

Getting to the other side (Jacek Dylag)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Lockheed Martin Tests Innovative Flow Battery Technology” • Lockheed Martin announced that it is partnering with TC Energy to develop energy storage systems based on Lockheed Martin flow battery technology. They say the ingredients are not toxic or expensive but have sufficient energy storage capability to be commercially viable. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Aquila Adds 43 MW Of Finnish Wind” • Aquila European Renewables Income Fund is to acquire a construction-ready wind farm in Finland in a €36.7 million deal. The Korkeakangas onshore wind farm construction project is expected to have a capacity of over 43 MW. It is scheduled to be fully operational in December 2021. [reNEWS]

Wind farm (Science in HD | Unsplash)

¶ “Audi Announces €12 Billion For EV Development, BMW €400 Million For 2021 iNEXT Production” • Audi, part of now EV-aggressive Volkswagen Group, has set aside about €12 billion to put into e-mobility between 2020 and 2024. By contrast, BMW, is to invest around €400 million in its Dingolfing plant for production of the BMW iNEXT. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Iberdrola To Put $500 Million Into Australian Wind Energy And Solar Farm” • Iberdrola predicts renewables will take “much more relevant position” in Australia in coming years and hopes to develop further projects. Iberdrola’s head of renewables said that in the new year the company would also probably increase its target for renewable energy greatly. [REVE]

Iberdrola wind turbine

¶ “Rajasthan Unveils Solar, Wind And Hybrid Energy Policy” • Rajasthan’s Chief Minister launched the two energy policies for his state, one for solar energy and the other for wind and hybrid energy. This gives a major boost to India’s efforts towards reaching its target of 175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022, in which states have a crucial role to play. [Elets]

¶ “ADB To Roll Out $1 Billion For Clean Energy Investments In The Pacific Region” • The Asian Development Bank is planning to roll out nearly $1 billion of energy investments across the region during the 2019-2021 period. The bank seeks to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. It also aims to maximize access to energy for all. [Mercom India]

Not much, but it’s home

¶ “Saudi Arabia’s Al Rushaid And France’s Optimum Agree To Build Solar Plant Systems” • Saudi Arabia’s Al Rushaid Group signed a joint venture agreement with France’s Optimum Tracker to build components and systems of solar plants in the kingdom. The venture will receive an initial investment of 200 million Saudi riyals ($53 million). [The National]

¶ “Renewable Energy Will Power 100% Of This Beverage Giant’s Operations” • Australian beverage giant Lion has committed to power all of its operations with renewable energy by 2025. The announcement is the latest in the unveiling of Lion’s eco-friendly strategy after saying in November it would be the first Australian carbon-neutral brewer in 2020. [The Rising]

Quincy Lion

¶ “Australian PM Scott Morrison Backs Coal Industry Amid Wildfire Crisis Climate Change Row” • Embattled Australian prime minister Scott Morrison insisted his government would not “walk away” from the coal industry, just as authorities warned the wildfires crisis could rage for months. About 200 fires were burning in four states. [Evening Standard]

¶ “Government Proposes Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Water Release Into Sea Or Air” • The Japanese ministry of economy and industry has proposed gradually releasing or allowing to evaporate massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The idea was proposed to a body of experts. [Japan Today]

Liquid processing systems at Fukushima Daiichi (AP file)

US:

¶ “US Military Precariously Unprepared For Climate Threats, War College And Retired Brass Warn” • The US Department of Defense, with a presidential administration that rejects science and ignores climate risks, has been slow to respond to them. That is raising concerns from both military think tanks and Congress’s watchdog agency. [InsideClimate News]

¶ “Elizabeth Warren Shifts On Nuclear Power – No Longer Totally Against It, Apparently” • “We’ve got to stop putting more carbon into the air,” Warren said in the primary debate. “We got to get the carbon out of the air and out of the water. And that means that we need to keep some of our nuclear in place,” she said. “I will not build more nuclear.” [NewBostonPost]

Nuclear power plant (Dukovany | Wikipedia)

¶ “Renewables Embraced By Standing Rock, Other Tribes” • With publicity from the Dakota Access pipeline protest still fresh in people’s minds, Indigenized Energy and other nonprofits worked together to build and launch a solar farm on Standing Rock. In doing so, they became the latest American Indian tribe moving into green energy. [Albuquerque Journal]

¶ “US Navy Orders Two Portable Backup Battery Systems From Northern Reliability” • The US military operates all over the world, often in places where no electrical grid is available to power its equipment. This situation makes small, portable microgrids, using a combination of solar panels and battery storage, the ideal solution. [CleanTechnica]

Have a mystifyingly magnificent day.

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December 22 Energy News

December 22, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “How The White House Killed Clean Energy Tax Credits” • The decision to leave tax credits for solar energy and electric vehicles out of the $1.37 trillion spending deal came from the White House just as negotiations were nearly over, according to sources close to the issue. And Democrats are being accused of letting it happen. [GreenTech Media] (Thanks to Tad Montgomery.)

White House at night (Photo: Ted, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ “Climate Change Contributing To Increase In Extreme Weather Events, Says Expert Report” • Extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and heavy rainfall are increasingly likely because of human-caused climate change, according to a report by climate experts that was released at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. [physicsworld.com]

¶ “Amazon Forest Regrows Much Slower Than Previously Thought” • Regrowth of Amazonian forests after deforestation could be much slower than previously thought, a study shows. The findings made significant impacts on global climate change predictions due to the ability of secondary forests to ingest carbon from the atmosphere. [Nature World News]

Amazon tributary (Pixabay image)

World:

¶ “Lilium Jet Accomplishes 3-Minute Test Flight” • The Munich-based aviation startup Lilium Jet released a video of its successful 3-minute test flight. Lilium says it will next test the aircraft at higher speeds, with this test phase reaching 100 km/h (62 mph). Lilium’s second testing phase will focus on completing a full transition to wing-borne flight. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Nord Stream 2: Germany And Russia Decry US Sanctions” • Germany and Russia have reacted angrily to sanctions approved by US President Donald Trump on a gas pipeline between the two countries. The sanctions target firms building Nord Stream 2, an undersea pipeline that will allow Russia to increase gas exports to Germany. [BBC]

Nord Stream 2 pipeline (Reuters)

¶ “The Global Price Tag For 100% Renewable Energy: $73 Trillion” • A global effort to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050 would cost nations $73 trillion upfront. But the expense will pay for itself in under seven years, and create 28.6 million more full-time jobs, according to a new report from researchers at Stanford University. [Yale Environment 360]

¶ “A Floating Nuclear Power Plant Has Started To Produce Electricity In A Remote Region Of Russia” • Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom announced that the Akademik Lomonosov started to produce electricity in the “isolated Chaun-Bilibino network” in the port of Pevek, Chukotka, which is in the Far East area of Russia. [EnerCom Inc]

Akademik Lomonosov (Alexander Ryumin | TASS | Getty Images)

¶ “AP High Court Orders Discoms To Clear Arrears Of ₹1450 Crore Of Renewable Power Producers” • The Andhra Pradesh high court directed state-run power distribution companies to pay ₹1,450 crore ($218 million) to solar and wind electricity producers towards arrears to be paid to them for the power they have supplied. [Hindustan Times]

US:

¶ “Half Of Queen Liliuokalani Campus’ Load Taken On By Renewable Energy” • Over 55% of the Queen Liliuokalani Campus’ load is powered by renewable energy, Hawaii Pacific Solar announced. The local solar company recently designed and installed two PV systems, one on a roof top and one as a parking lot canopy. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

Solar canopy (Hawaii Pacific Solar image)

¶ “Virginia Wind Energy Firm Proposes To Erect 30 Turbines In Western Washington County” • A wind energy firm based in Virginia is proposing to erect 30 turbines in western Washington County, spread out around land owned by the state of Maine, in Township 18. They plan to install Vestas turbines with capacities of 4.2 MW. [Bangor Daily News]

¶ “SSAB Americas To Start Making Fossil Fuel-Free Steel” • SSAB Americas aims to start making steel by 2022 at a mill in Montpelier, Iowa, with a process powered entirely by renewable energy. The company, a subsidiary of SSAB in Sweden, operates mini-mills with electric arc furnaces that turn recycled scrap metal into new steel. [nwitimes.com]

SSAB steel mill (Courtesy image)

¶ “Powering Up Wilmington With ‘Smart’ Meters” • Starting in January, Duke Energy Progress will install 170,000 “smart” electric meters in the Wilmington area of North Carolina. This will include parts of Brunswick and Pender counties. The work will go on through the year. Customers will be able to monitor their energy use with aps. [StarNewsOnline.com]

¶ “Roughly 1.7 GW Of US Nuclear Power Capacity Set To Retire In 2020” • Indian Point Unit 2, in New York state, and Duane Arnold Unit 1, in Iowa,  are to retire in 2020, with little potential for postponement, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. Their combined capacity is about 1.7 GW. They are being replaced with wind and gas. [S&P Global]

Have a fantastically auspicious day.

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December 21 Energy News

December 21, 2019

Opinion:

¶ “A Year Of Resistance: How Youth Protests Shaped The Discussion On Climate Change” • Fridays for Future now estimates that more than 9.6 million strikers in 261 countries have participated in climate strikes. And Greta Thunberg herself has met with hundreds of communities and numerous heads of state. But she was not the first to strike. [Phys.org]

Climate strike (Shutterstock image)

¶ “100% WWS Part 1: Jacobson’s New Study Displaces 99.7% Fossil Energy With Massive Savings” • Mark Z Jacobson and team of scientist at Stanford have just released a new study covering 143 countries representing 99.7% of fossil fuel CO₂ emissions. It’s an update and maintains the mix of technologies. Like the earlier studies, it omits nuclear and CCS. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Scientists Created A New Sponge That Could Clean Up Oil Spills” • The secret to cleaning up water contaminated by oil may lie in the cheap, common polyurethane foam used in mattresses, enhanced with a special coating. In a study published in Nature Sustainability, Scientists found the material consistently captured almost all of the oil in under three hours. [Grist]

Oil cleanup (Lakruwan Wanniarachchi | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ “Renewable Hydrogen Will Drink The Fossil Fuel Milkshake” • Hydrogen is a zero-emission fuel but is usually manufactured by using fossil fuels. Hydrogen gas can be pried loose from water by electrolysis, but that has always been impractical because it takes too much energy. But now, wind and solar are here in force, and renewable hydrogen comes with them. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ “Australia Fires: A Visual Guide To The Bushfires And Extreme Heat” • Australia is grappling with massive bushfires fueled by record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought. Fires in New South Wales have already burned at least 2.7 million hectares (7.4 million acres – Vermont is 6.16 million) this season, destroying over 700 houses. Here is a visual guide. [BBC]

Australian bushfires (Getty Images)

¶ “Rolls-Royce Electric Airplane Unveiled And Ready To Race” • Rolls-Royce wants to build the world’s fastest electric aircraft and has now begun integrating its electrical propulsion platform into it. The plan is for the e-plane to reach over 300 mph (480+ km/h) by late spring 2020. The airplane, the ACCEL, was unveiled at the Gloucestershire Airport. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Id Mjahdi Is Africa’s First Fully Solar-Powered Village” • A small village in Morocco, Id Mjahdi, is the first village in Africa to become completely solar powered. Cleanergy, a Moroccan solar company, chose to redo the village because it literally needed everything. People typically used a candle one hour each night and walked miles for water. [CleanTechnica]

Id Mjahdi (Image via Twitter)

¶ “Netherlands Supreme Court Orders Government To Cut Carbon Emissions 25%” • On December 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands became the first to order a national government to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to address the ongoing threat of climate change. We note that much of the Netherlands is below sea level. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “US Investor Partners On Greek Wind Quartet” • Enora and Quantum Energy Partners affiliate 547 Energy International European Holdings are developing four wind farms totaling 135 MW in the Greek region of Macedonia. The partners secured four 20-year power purchase agreements with the country’s Regulatory Authority for Energy. [reNEWS]

Wind farm (Master Wen | Unsplash)

US:

¶ “Christianity Today Calls On Evangelicals To Dump Trump” • The editor in chief of Christianity Today, a magazine that caters to the evangelical community, called for the removal of Donald Trump from office. Why is CleanTechnica reporting on this? Because of the Trump administration’s mulish refusal to deal with environmental issues. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “After Nearly A Decade Of Anxiety Over Pensions, Coal Miners See Light At The End Of The Tunnel” • Union coal miners and retirees breathed a collective sigh of relief after the US Senate passed a spending bill that includes support for miners’ pensions. The pensions had been at risk because of the coal industry’s downturn. [89.3 WFPL News Louisville]

Coal Miners Statue in Kentucky (J654567, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “New York’s Solar Capacity Surpasses 2-GW Mark” • The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that 2 GW of solar capacity has been installed across the state. This means NY is now able to power 244,000 homes using solar energy. As many as 12,000 solar jobs may have been created since 2011. [Smart Energy]

¶ “Con Edison Climate Study Details Projected Impacts To Energy Systems Through The 21st Century” • Extreme heat, coastal storm surge, inland flooding, and more violent storms are the most significant climate-driven impacts to Con Edison’s energy delivery systems and its customers through the 21st century, a report from the utility says. [EIN News]

Have a happily compatible day.

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