Posts Tagged ‘photovoltaic’

December 26 Energy News

December 26, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Ho Hum. Air Pollution Is Harming Your Children. So What Else Is New?” • Thanks to the billions of dollars spent by fossil fuel companies, a significant portion of the population believes Al Gore is a raving lunatic, climate scientists are just hired guns with big salaries, and climate change is a Chinese hoax. But we know pollution hurts our children. [CleanTechnica]

Playing in smog

¶ “Looking for a Shred of Good News on Global Warming? Consider the Explosion of Cheaper Clean Energy” • It is clear that 2018 was a terrible year for Earth’s climate, with long lists of weather events and dire assessments. While it may seem there is nothing to be optimistic about, there is one very good reason for hope: renewable energy. [Common Dreams]

¶ “How Twelve Communities Are Fighting Climate Change and What’s Standing in Their Way” • Tiny Imperial Beach is suing Big Oil. College students are educating their generation and their elders. Regulators and business owners are finding new ways to expand clean energy, and states are starting to commit to 100% renewable energy. [InsideClimate News]

Exposed to rising sea levels – Imperial Beach,
California (Credit: David Hasemyer | ICN)

Science and Technology:

¶ “‘It’s Warm Water Now’: Climate Change Strands Sea Turtles on Cape Cod shores” • Every year, as ocean temperatures off Cape Cod drop below 10°C (50°F), dead and stricken sea turtles that failed to migrate south wash up on the shore. In the 1980s, the numbers averaged in the dozens. Today, the number has risen to well over a thousand. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ “Fresh Capacity Addition in Thermal, Hydro Power Tanks 69% in April to November” • In India, additions of thermal and hydro capacity hydro power plunged 69% in the period of April to November, as renewables gained momentum. One industry source attributed the decline to fear of stranded assets and difficulty accessing finance. [Business Standard]

Emissions

¶ “Another First for East Africa as Round-the-Clock Hybrid Power Grids Start Operations” • Uganda is set to be East Africa’s first country to use hybrid solar and hydrogen technology to power areas not on a national grid. Tiger Power signed an agreement for a hybrid plant to power 3,000 households and businesses in three villages. [The East African]

¶ “Karnataka Now Number One in Renewable Energy Production” • With 12,640 MW in cumulative installed capacity of renewable energy, Karnataka this year became number one state in India in enhancing its renewable energy capacity. It is the only state in the country to have added over 5265 MW of installed solar capacity. [Deccan Chronicle]

Solar plant in Tumakuru district

¶ “Five-year Jail Terms Sought for Ex-TEPCO Execs over Nuclear Crisis” • Five-year prison terms were sought for three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc for their alleged failure to prevent the Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. [Kyodo News Plus]

¶ “2018: The Year of Day Zero and the Mega-Drought” • In 2018, Cape Town, South Africa, one of the wealthiest cities in Africa, faced the prospect of running out of water. This city of four million people was counting down the days to “Day Zero,” when their taps would be dry. Conservation measures have put off reaching Day Zero, for now. [DeSmog]

A sign (Photo courtesy of the University of New South Wales)

US:

¶ “Solar Farm Approvals on Deck; BN Group-Buy Matches First” • McLean County, Illinois, is on track to have 18 solar farms considered for state approval this spring, after another group-buy program for small-scale solar development. County officials will consider four farms in January in addition to fourteen already approved. [Bloomington Pantagraph]

¶ “Local Group Pushes for 100 Percent Clean, Renewable Energy in Athens” • When it comes to climate change, if the federal government does nothing about it, then we must do it ourselves. A new group, 100% Athens, is pushing for Athens-Clarke County to get all of the electricity for Athens from renewable energy resources. [Flagpole Magazine]

Solar farm in Tennessee (Credit: Thomas R Machnitzki)

¶ “Report Sounds Cautionary Warning for Future of Navajo Generating Station” • A report from the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said the Navajo Transitional Energy Co can expect to lose about $170 million during the years of 2020-2027 because of its investment in the coal-burning Four Corners Power Plant. [Navajo-Hopi Observer]

¶ “Regulators Approve NV Energy Plan to Build Six New Solar Power Plants” • With little fanfare or discussion, Nevada regulators have unanimously approved a major energy supply plan that will result in construction of six major solar projects and conditionally retire one of the state’s two remaining coal-firing power plants by 2021. [Sparks Tribune]

Have a fabulously delightful day.

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December 22 Energy News

December 22, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “Government Continues to Fail in Fight Against Climate Change, Free Market Steps-Up” • The Trump Administration’s environmental policy is as consistent as it is depressing. Time after time, on issue after issue, the White House and the executive branch officials have sided with big polluters and dirty energies. [American Legal News]

Wind farm (AdobeStock image)

¶ “The Climate Change Debate – An Insider’s Perspective” • For climate scientists, the idea that humans are altering our climate system is similar to gravity in that it is considered a fundamental concept on which all new geoscience research is based. Despite what deniers claim, Scientists stopped debating the idea a long time ago. [Rutland Herald]

Science and Technology:

¶ “Rabbit Gene Turns Houseplant into Air Detoxifier” • Scientists at the University of Washington made the golden pothos, a houseplant, remove toxic gases from the air by inserting a rabbit gene called CYP2E1 into its DNA. The plant’s DNA was altered by adding a gene from a rabbit, enabling the plant to break down volatile organic compounds. [CNN]

Golden pathos (Mark Stone | University of Washington)

¶ “Bill Gates-Led Fund Is Investing in a Startup to Build a Cheap Battery Using a ‘Refrigerator on Steroids'” • The Boston-based startup Malta thinks it has one answer for energy storage. At a time when lithium-ion battery packs cost, on average, $176/kWh, the Malta system could be as low as $12.7/kWh, though it does have much reduced efficiency. [Quartz]

World:

¶ “e.GO Plans to Boldly Go Where No EV Startup Has Gone Before” • Tiny e.GO Mobile, an electric car startup based in Aachen, Germany, says delivery of its Life no-frills EV will begin in April. The Life will have a range of 75 to 114 miles, a top speed of 72 to 94 miles per hour, and be priced between $18,000 and $22,500. [CleanTechnica]

e.GO Life

¶ “Volkswagen Must Sell 1.8 Million EVs a Year to Meet 2030 EU Emissions Goals” • Volkswagen head Herbert Diess told the press last week that to meet the EU’s stricter new emissions goal, his company will need to sell 1.8 million EVs a year in Europe by 2030. This is 600,000 more electric cars a year than it had been planning to sell. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Wind, Solar Cheaper than Coal, and Responsible for Falling Energy Price Outlook” • Major reports from Australia’s chief energy institutions point to the importance of the economic benefits of solar and wind power. A report from the energy market operator and the CSIRO finds that renewables are the cheapest new-built power. [pv magazine Australia]

Solar and wind power (Image: Pixabay | Public Domain)

¶ “Swedish Housing Block Powered 100% by Sun and Hydrogen” • The world’s first completely energy self-sufficient housing complex is located in Vårgårda, Sweden. The complex now runs entirely on solar energy and stored hydrogen as the result of a Danish-Swedish partnership between Better Energy and Nilsson Energy. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

US:

¶ “Tucson Electric Power Turns to Sheep to Eliminate Unwanted Vegetation at Solar Facilities” • Tucson Electric Power’s large solar arrays need plenty of sun, so the weeds can’t grow too high. Weeds proliferate underneath the solar panels, so TEP keeps the crop under control by using sheep instead of lawn equipment or herbicides. [Inside Tucson Business]

Tucson Electric Power solar array (Courtesy photo)

¶ “Coal-Fired Power Plant Retirements Picked Up in 2018” • Utilities and organizations with onsite energy generating plants continued to phase out coal-fired plants in 2018. Announcements made thist the year included plans to switch to renewables. The organizations moving away from coal range from universities to businesses. [Energy Manager Today]

¶ “Ormat’s McGinness Hills Phase 3 Geothermal Plant Begins Operations” • Ormat Technologies has announced the start of commercial operations at a geothermal plant, McGinness Hills Phase 3, in Nevada. The combined capacity of the three units at the McGinness Hills geothermal plant is said to have increased to 138 MW. [Power Technology]

Geothermal power plant (Credit: Christopher Porter)

¶ “PUCN Approves Largest Clean Energy Investment in Nevada History” • The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approved NV Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan. The plan will bring 1,001 MW of new renewable energy projects to Nevada, including, for the first time, 100 MW of battery storage capacity, according to NV Energy. [KRNV My News 4]

¶ “Wind Energy Capacity to More Than Double in Wyoming after Years of Stagnancy” • Seven projects that will more than double Wyoming’s windpower capacity are under way. Six other states are also on pace to double capacity, including Arkansas, New Mexico, and Maryland, according to the American Wind Energy Association. [Wyoming Public Media]

Wind turbines in Wyoming (CGP Grey, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “DOE Signs on to INL Small Reactor Project” • The DOE Office of Nuclear Energy announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to use an INL small modular reactor for national research in a new program called “JUMP,” a Joint Use Modular Plant. The research is focusing on integrated energy systems. [LocalNews8.com]

¶ “Public Meeting to Be Held on Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station Decommissioning Plan” • Federal nuclear regulators will hold a public meeting in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to discuss the plan proposed for decommissioning the Pilgrim Nuclear station. The NRC scheduled a public meeting for January 15 and will accept comments until March 21. [Wicked Local]

Have a superbly edifying day.

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December 21 Energy News

December 21, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “The Farm Bureau: Big Oil’s Unnoticed Ally Fighting Climate Science and Policy” • While big oil and gas companies provided the cash for anti-regulation campaigns, the farm lobby offered up a sympathetic face: the American farmer. For more than three decades, the Farm Bureau has aligned agriculture closely with the fossil fuel agenda. [InsideClimate News]

Agriculture and fossil fuels

Science and Technology:

¶ “‘We Are at War’: New York’s Rat Crisis Made Worse by Climate Change” • City officials report an increasing number of calls from residents complaining about rats, and warn that milder winters help them feed and mate longer into the year. And as winters warm, more frequent outdoor activity by humans adds to the litter rats thrive upon. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ “New Offshore Wind Farms Push UK Renewables to Record” • Almost a third of the UK’s electricity came from renewable sources between July and September, as wind turbines and solar panels helped achieve a quarterly record for green energy. Renewables provided 33.1% of electricity for the quarter, up from 30% the year before. [The Guardian]

Offshore wind farm (Photo: Peter Byrne | PA)

¶ “Renewable Energy Meets over 70% of Scotland’s Needs” • The Scottish Government released data for 2017 showing that renewable electricity sources were able to meet 70.1% of Scotland’s energy demand, up from 54.4% in 2016. The rise is largely attributed to more wind being used to produce renewable electricity in 2017. [Energy Voice]

¶ “Power Bills Drop $28 a Year Thanks to Renewable Policy, Since Dumped by the Government” • A report by the Australian Energy Market Commission expects electricity prices generally to be stable or falling over the next two years due to a pipeline of new renewables. But the federal government is dumping emissions targets. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Wind farm (Photo: Joe Armao)

¶ “Brazil’s Wind Generation Rises 7.3% in Early Dec” • Brazil’s wind power output in the first half of December has increased by to 4,867 average MW, show preliminary figures released by the Power Trading Chamber. Wind power’s share went up to 7.3% from 6.8% a previous year, according to CCEE data published in the InfoMercado Semanal. [Renewables Now]

¶ “Australia to Miss 2030 Emissions Targets by Vast Margin, Coalition’s Projections Reveal” • According to data from the federal government, Australia will miss its 2030 emissions reduction targets, with an emissions reduction by 2030 of 7% from 2005 levels. Australia’s Paris agreement target calls for a 26% to 28% emissions reduction. [The Guardian]

Emissions (Dave Hunt | AAP)

¶ “Households Converting to Solar Power Now Exempt from Self-Produced Energy Tariffs under New European Union Renewable Energy Plans” • To achieve more aggressive targets following COP24, EU lawmakers have urged homeowners to switch from traditional grid-based energy sources to producing their own energy. [AltEnergyMag]

US:

¶ “New Jersey Moves to End Solar RECs, Take Next Steps Toward 100% Renewables” • The next phase of solar development in New Jersey will require a new initiative beyond SRECs, say officials, as part of the state’s goals of moving to 100% renewable energy. The state’s current renewable portfolio standard has a goal of 50% renewables by 2030. [Utility Dive]

Solar array

¶ “Connecticut Favors Revolution” • Connecticut regulators have approved a 20-year power purchase agreement for 200 MW of electricity from Ørsted’s Revolution offshore wind farm. Revolution, which will be located in federal waters between Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard, will also supply 400 MW of power to Rhode Island. [reNEWS]

¶ “LG Electronics Enrolls Five Facilities in Purely Green Sustainability Program” • RPD Energy arranged the supply of wind energy and concurrent Renewable Energy Certificates for five LG Electronics USA facilities in Texas, Illinois, and New Jersey. The LG facilities are served under the Purely Green affinity program. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind turbines

¶ “US Congress Support of Green New Deal Growing with Sunrise Movement Momentum” • With goals to reduce carbon emissions through massive, rapid deployment of zero-carbon generation, the Green New Deal is gaining momentum. Forty 40 members of Congress already signed on and every week more are committing to the effort. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Vestas Wins American Tall Order” • Vestas has received an order for an undisclosed 202 MW wind project in the US. The company will supply 56 of its V136-3.45MW turbines in a 3.6-MW power optimised mode. Delivery commences in the third quarter of 2019, followed by commissioning in the fourth quarter of next year. [reNEWS]

Wind turbine (Vestas image)

¶ “EPA Improves Process to Site Renewables at Formerly Hazardous Sites” • The EPA announced updates to a mapping tool under its RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative, to help communities, developers, and other stakeholders site renewable energy on current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites. [North American Windpower]

¶ “SCANA to Offload Historic Charleston Office, Cayce Land to Pay for Customer Refunds” • Soon SCANA will give up a dozen pieces of property, including a plantation where its executives and directors hunted ducks and held retreats, to refund to its electric customers a fraction of what they paid for two unfinished nuclear reactors. [Anderson Independent Mail]

Have a magically propitious day.

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March 22 Energy News

March 22, 2018

Science and Technology:

¶ Under a memorandum of understanding, shipping operator Star Bulk will conduct a two-year study to assess the feasibility of installing solar panels, batteries, and other renewable energy technology provided by Eco Marine Power. The study will examine power from renewable sources for selected ship types on specific routes. [The Motorship]

Shipping

¶ Scientists from Princeton University proposed a plan in the journal, Nature, to stabilize the continental ice shelves that extend outward from Greenland and Antarctica. They say focusing on those areas will be less expensive and more effective than building sea walls around continents and would buy time to examine other actions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens Gamesa and start-up Stiesdal Storage Technologies are developing thermal energy storage that uses excess wind, solar, and other renewable energy to heat a “pack bed” of crushed rocks to as high as 600° C. The heat can be used to generate electricity to be sold at prices far below those from gas peakers or batteries. [Recharge]

Siemens Gamesa demonstration project (Siemens Gamesa)

World:

¶ The government of New South Wales identified three priority renewable energy zones that potentially have seven times the capacity of the state’s coal-fired power plants. In a submission to the Australian Energy Markets Operation, it said developing them “could unlock 77,000 megawatts of new generation capacity.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ The UK offshore wind industry committed to working with the Government on a “transformative” sector deal that could spur £48 billion in new investments in the country’s infrastructure and increase offshore wind capacity to 30 GW by 2030. The deal is expected to  reduce costs for electricity by 9% while more than doubling industry employment. [CleanTechnica]

Offshore wind farm (Shutterstock image)

¶ In a step towards a cleaner environment, the number of coal-based fired power plants under development has seen a steep decline, especially in India and China, according to a report by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and CoalSwarm. The report warns, however, that emissions from operational plants are still far too high. [Business Standard]

¶ Chinese new energy giant BYD has kicked off its bus chassis production operations in Brazil with the launch of a new electric bus model in the nation’s capital, Brasília. The new BYD D9W was introduced at the 8th World Forum on Water, marking the launch of BYD’s bus chassis production facility in Campinas, Brazil. [CleanTechnica]

BYD D9W

¶ Tesla and Fluence are to build two new big battery storage installations in Victoria, with some funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Tesla will build a 25-MW/50-MWh battery to be near the 60-MW Gannawarra solar farm. Fluence will build a 30-MW/30-MWh grid-connected battery at the Ballarat terminal station. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Tesla has deployed its Powerpack batteries to the Philippines, helping a local solar company construct a 2-MW/2-MWh micro-grid for the town of Paluan, which has been notoriously suffering from power outages for years. The project went online back in December, giving the town round-the-clock electric power for the first time. [Teslarati]

Celebrating solar panels and batteries (Credit: Solar Phils)

US:

¶ Renewable energy is getting cheaper and more popular, even among Republican voters, and that makes now a better time than ever for conservative candidates to support clean energy policies. At the annual Michigan Conservative Energy Forum in Lansing, Republicans rallied around renewable energy and free-market principles. [Energy News Network]

¶ In January, the natural gas tanker Gaselys pulled into a port near Boston. In came from the UK, where it had just topped off. It had come because a series of cold snaps had momentarily made gas prices in New England the highest in the world. The ship’s cargo included gas from Russia. “Sanctions? What sanctions?” teased a Russian tweet. [E&E News]

Russia’s Yamal LNG project (Yamal LNG image)

¶ From Maine to Florida, the winds blowing off the Atlantic Coast could be the power source for a clean energy future, according to a report, Wind Power to Spare: The Enormous Energy Potential of Atlantic Offshore Wind, released by Environment America and Frontier Group. So far, only one wind farm is operating in the country. [Environment America]

¶ Microsoft announced what it calls “the single largest corporate purchase of solar energy ever in the United States,” buying 315 MW from two new solar projects in Virginia as part of its ongoing renewable energy efforts. The power will come from 750,000 solar panels spread across 2,000 acres at the Pleinmont I and II projects. [GeekWire]

Microsoft’s renewable energy footprint (Microsoft Image)

¶ The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved unanimously a $1.6 billion plan to build two massive wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border. The vote is a key step needed for Xcel Energy to move forward with its plans. Texas regulators are expected to act on the proposal in the coming weeks. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ Opposition to a deal for the US to provide nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia is growing after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a nuclear weapon if Iran did. The reaction in Washington, from members of congress of both parties, is increasingly opposed to the deal. [South China Morning Post]

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January 29 Energy News

January 29, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The past 30 years in Europe have likely been the warmest in over two millennia, new research says. The study used tree ring records and historical documents to reconstruct yearly temperatures going back 2,100 years. It says European summers have warmed 1.3° C between 1986 and 2015. [BBC]

Two thousand years of summer temperatures

Two thousand years of summer temperatures

World:

¶ Ignite Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Rwanda to provide off-grid solar power systems to 250,000 households by 2018. Media reports say Ignite Power is expected to install up to 1 million distributed solar systems at a cost of nearly $50 million. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Senvion has commissioned 14 of its 2-MW turbines for a second wind farm around the city of Nowy Staw, 50 kilometres south-east of Gdańsk, Poland. The wind farms are operated by RWE Innogy. With 36 turbines in total, they are Senvion’s biggest wind project in Poland. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Senvion wind turbines.

Senvion wind turbines.

¶ As private companies bite the bullet and write off billions of dollars off the value of oil, gas and coal assets in the face of declining demand, plunging costs and the growth in renewable energy sources, a new call has gone out for Australia’s state governments to do the same with their network assets. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Indian Ministry of New & Renewable Energy have stated that a global solar power coalition will raise $1 trillion to increase renewable energy capacity around the world, Climate Action reported. The Indian government initiated the International Solar Alliance which has 120 member countries. [ESI Africa]

¶ Renewable energy company Siemens announced two orders for onshore wind projects in Ireland. Siemens will supply 36 Siemens turbines to the Cloosh Valley Wind Farm, adding 108 MW to its capacity and 20 SWT-3.2-101 wind turbines for the Irish Sliabh Bawn Wind Farm in County Roscommon. [Greentech Lead]

Siemens wind turbines in Scotland

Siemens wind turbines in Scotland

¶ India’s Union Minister of State for power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy has said, 30,000 MW more capacity of Thermal Power has been added during last 20 months. He said India’s Coal production has increased by 9.6% which has resulted in remarkable reduction in coal imports. [Indiainfoline]

¶ According to Global Construction Review, France is planning to pave 621 miles of its roads with polycrystalline silicon solar cells over the next five years. If the initiative is successful, it could produce enough power for about 5 million people’s homes — roughly 8% of the country’s population. [Mic]

Solar roadways in the Netherlands. Source: Peter Dejong/AP

Solar roadways in the Netherlands. Source: Peter Dejong/AP

¶ The Solar Energy Corporation of India announced a 750-MW solar power park in Gujarat. According to recent media reports the project will be developed by Gujarat Power Corporation Limited. The state government has identified around 1,500 acres of land for the solar park. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The number of Scottish businesses generating their own locally-generated renewable energy doubled in 2015, according to analysis of Renewable Heat Incentive data by Raggnar, the renewable energy provider. Last year, 1,245 Scottish business added 421 MW of clean capacity. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Scottish industry doubles use of renewable energy in 2015

Scottish industry doubles use of renewable energy in 2015

US:

¶ The California Public Utilities Commission narrowly ruled in favor of a successor program to net metering. The decision preserves many of the basic features of retail-rate net metering. It rejects utility attempts to change the program in ways that would make customer-sited solar less attractive. [pv magazine]

¶ EDF Renewable Energy has signed an agreement to supply Salesforce with 24 MW of wind energy from its Salt Fork Wind Project in Texas. The virtual power-purchase agreement advances Salesforce’s commitment to power 100% of its global operations with renewable energy. [Windpower Engineering]

Vestas will supply 87 of their V100 2.0-MW wind turbines for the Salt Fork wind project.

Vestas will supply 87 of their V100 2.0-MW wind
turbines for the Salt Fork wind project.

¶ A group of companies has filed a proposal to diversify New England’s energy supply via the Vermont Green Line transmission project. The partners say the proposal, “The Wind and Hydro Response,” is designed bring clean power to Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. [North American Windpower]

¶ Hawaii can reach its 100% renewable energy goal by 2045 at a reasonable cost, an energy expert said at the Electric Utility Consultants Inc Fifth Annual Power Summit in Waikiki. Energy storage is looked at as very important, but some say it is not the entire solution. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

¶ Entergy Corp, which has already closed one money-losing reactor, said a proposal from New York regulators to save an upstate nuclear plant comes too late. The New York Public Service Commission plan, unveiled on January 25, would allow nuclear plants to receive credits for zero-emission power. [Bloomberg]

January 28 Energy News

January 28, 2016

World:

¶ Australia’s power sector is at risk of a “utility death spiral” due to its reliance on coal, according to a report by the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise. Utilities in the US, Japan and Germany are similarly exposed. The risk is partly from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. [Sydney Morning Herald]

The bad bets we have made on fossil fuels will haunt us for decades. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

The bad bets we have made on fossil fuels will haunt us for decades. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

¶ The UK will add 1 GW of new energy storage capacity by the year 2020, IHS forecasts. The main driver of growth will be renewables, combined with rising electric rates, an established network of solar installers, the launch of a frequency regulation tender, and increasing money for energy storage research. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Berlin-based storage company Younicos will upgrade a 5-MW battery plant in Germany so that it is capable of restoring grid after a blackout. Its functionality will now be extended to make it capable of black starts, full islanding mode, and integrating renewables to enable grid restoration during failures. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Total global corporate funding in the wind sector hit a record $15.4 billion in 2015, according to Mercom Capital Group. The figure raised by public companies, which includes venture capital/private equity, debt financing, and public market financing, is up by $3.6 billion from the $11.8 billion funded in 2014. [CleanTechnica]
¶ Not only has Chile’s solar industry cut emissions of the global warming gas carbon dioxide, but it has also helped slash some of the highest electricity costs in Latin America. Those benefits have come at no expense to the government, which refused to offer any of the subsidies that drained resources elsewhere. [Bloomberg]

¶ SoloPower Systems has completed its first commercial-scale installation in South Africa. Their ultra-light weight PV modules are up to 85% lighter than traditional PV panels, which allows for installation on rooftops with limited load-bearing capacity. Many commercial buildings in South Africa have such limited capacity. [CleanTechnica]

SoloPower photo.

SoloPower photo.

¶ Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is not over after five years after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered the meltdowns. Kan disputes the idea that the situation at the plant is under control. “The accident is still unfolding,” he said. [The Japan Times]

US:

Wind generators on a wind farm near Hartland, Minn. Minnesota. Photo by David Brewster.

Wind generators on a wind farm near Hartland, Minn. Minnesota. Photo by David Brewster.

¶ The American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s Washington-based trade group, reported that 2015 was its third-best year because of major expansions especially in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa. In a major shift, Iowa leapt ahead of California as the No. 2 wind-power state. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ Invenergy today announced that it has signed a 225-MW wind power purchase agreement with Google to provide the tech giant with renewable energy to help support its data center operations. The agreement with Google includes the sale of wind energy from the Bethel Wind Energy Facility in Texas. [Your Industry News]

¶ Clean Line Energy announced an agreement with the City of Tallahassee, Florida, that states Tallahassee’s intention to purchase up to 50 MW of low-cost wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region. The clean energy would be delivered via the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ New analysis from PSE Healthy Energy and University of California at Berkeley finds that increased deployment of renewable energy is the best way to meet or even surpass Clean Power Plan targets, as recent scientific measurements of methane leaks from natural gas systems have found high rates of leakage. [Akron Beacon Journal]

Sun and transmission lines. Photo by Dennis-Wilkinson via flickr.

Sun and transmission lines. Photo by Dennis-Wilkinson via flickr.

The Value of Transmission, a report published by the Southwest Power Pool, analyzed the value provided by 348 transmission upgrades that required capital investment of almost $3.4 billion. They resulted in a reduction of over $240 million in fuel costs during the first year alone, along with other benefits. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Fort Hood will break ground this week on a new solar-panel farm, part of a project that will provide 40% of the post’s energy. The Army signed the $497 million agreement with Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy to bring more solar and wind energy to Fort Hood, officials announced last Wednesday. [The Killeen Daily Herald]

¶ After the Windsor, Vermont, Selectboard voted, 5-0, to oppose a solar project on 40 acres at a prison farm, state and Green Mountain Power officials acknowledged the project is dead. GMP spokeswoman Kristin Carlson said the power company will not proceed with an application to the Public Service Board. [Valley News]

¶ The Senate is debating what has been dubbed the Energy Policy Modernization Act, and it is rare instance of bipartisan cooperation. It would support programs for building efficiency and expanding hydropower and geothermal projects, but it gives a lot of support to fracking and gas pipelines. [Houston Chronicle]

 

January 27 Energy Week

January 27, 2016

Opinion:

Paris Agreement Unleashes $16 Trillion of Investment in Renewables and Cleantech • If you ever needed proof that we are truly embarking on a renewable energy revolution, then look no further than the latest report from one of the most respected credit ratings agencies in the world. [EcoWatch]

TckTckTck @tcktcktck - Renewable energy, clean tech & green finance poised for $16.5 trillion post-Paris take-off http://bit.ly/1ZH1T0E

TckTckTck @tcktcktck – Renewable energy, clean tech & green finance poised for $16.5 trillion post-Paris take-off http://bit.ly/1ZH1T0E

Switch to Clean Energy Can Be Fast and Cheap • Even when optimizing to cut costs and limiting themselves to existing technology, scientists showed that renewables can meet energy demands and slash carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 80% below 1990 levels, while saving money. [Scientific American]

World:

¶ China has launched an aggressive 3 GW target to expand the country’s high-efficiency rooftop solar installations. Such a renewable energy footprint will hopefully help reduce the widespread impacts of China’s too-visible air pollution. China would increase use of modules with high-energy conversion solar cells. [CleanTechnica]

Yingli plans to set up a 300-megawatt solar panel plant near Bangkok. Image via China Daily

Yingli plans to set up a 300-megawatt solar panel plant
near Bangkok. Image via China Daily

¶ Plans to build what could be Scotland’s first major offshore wind farm took a step forward with the announcement that an equity consortium is now in place to build the massive £2 billion Neart na Gaoithe project. The equity consortium is led by power company InterGen and includes Siemens Project Ventures. [Herald Scotland]

¶ Vietnam will shelve the equivalent of 70 large coal power plants following an announcement from the Prime Minister that the country would drop all further coal-fired power plant projects and move towards cleaner energy. Vietnam had the biggest plans for coal-fired power plants in Southeast Asia. [Scoop.co.nz]

¶ Bhutan is now generating electricity using the wind in addition to water. Wind powered electricity was provided for over 300 houses with the inauguration of two 300-kw wind turbines in Rubesa, Wangdue. The Asian Development Bank provided a grant of $2.7 million. [Kuensel, Buhutan’s National Newspaper]

Blowing in the wind: The two turbines will generate enough electricity to power 300 houses.

Blowing in the wind: The two turbines will generate
enough electricity to power 300 houses.

¶ Spain did not install a single megawatt of wind power capacity in 2015, which has not happened since the 1980’s, the Spanish Wind Energy Association said Tuesday. Spanish wind equipment manufacturers have survived through exports while the government has been hostile to wind power. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The Hinkley Point nuclear plant could be delayed after EDF postponed yesterday’s meeting where the company was due to finally decide whether to invest. The decision to invest in Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in decades has been put off due to funding difficulties. [Central Somerset Gazette]

¶ The Chilean renewable energy association Acera estimates that the country has the capacity to meet its entire electricity demand with renewable energy sources by 2050, based on current market conditions and data. The projection takes falling costs of green technologies such as wind and PVs into account. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Chile. Featured Image: Pablo Rogat/Shutterstock.com

Wind farm in Chile. Featured Image: Pablo Rogat/Shutterstock.com

US:

¶ Southern California Edison got approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to go ahead with a new $22-million electric vehicle charging station pilot program, according to recent reports. The program aims to install about 1500 charging stations within its service territory by in the near future. [CleanTechnica]

¶ About 33,700 GWh of new renewable generation must be added to New York’s fuel mix to have 50% of its power from renewable sources by 2030, as mandated by the new clean energy standard, the Public Service Commission staff said. Robust energy efficiency is also required to meet the goal. [Platts]

¶ Renewable Energy Group (REG) and ExxonMobil have launched a project to study the production of biodiesel by fermenting renewable cellulosic sugars from sources such as agricultural waste. REG developed technology that uses microbes to convert sugars to biodiesel in a one-step fermentation process. [ICIS]

Renewable Energy Group has technology that uses microbes to convert sugars to biodiesel in a one-step fermentation process similar to ethanol manufacturing. (Jim West / imageBROKER / REX Shutterstock)

REG has technology to use microbes to convert sugars to biodiesel
in a one-step fermentation process similar to ethanol manufacturing.
(Jim West / imageBROKER / REX Shutterstock)

¶ More than two dozen states asked the Supreme Court to put on hold on the Clean Power Plan after their request for a similar pause was rejected by a lower court last week. Led by West Virginia and Texas, the 26-state coalition filed its bid for relief with the nation’s highest court on Tuesday. [Bloomberg]

¶ Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he’ll reinstate the state’s energy standards if legislators try to further cut them. Kasich signed a bill in June 2014 that froze Ohio’s renewable energy requirements for two years. In September a 12-member legislative committee recommended the standards stay frozen indefinitely. [Columbus Business First]

¶ The Nevada Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approved three new renewable energy agreements to boost solar generation capacity in the state by 129 MW. The deal involves 20-year power purchase agreements for two new solar plants. The plants will be constructed in Clark County.
[Reno Gazette Journal]

January 26 Energy News

January 26, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Energy storage costs could decrease up to 70% in the next 15 years, according to a report, E-Storage: Shifting from Cost to Value. The report also explains a number of previously unquantified values of energy storage, such as improved grid reliability and predictability of generation needs. [CleanTechnica]

Sandia.gov photo

Grid storage installation. Sandia.gov photo

¶ Two global industry giants, DuPont and Archer Daniels Midland, have just announced a new “breakthrough” process for producing a high performance, 100% biodegradable bioplastic building block. A side-effect is that with these companies in the mix, the lobbying dynamics could begin to shift dramatically. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ In a move aimed to generate energy savings, reduce air pollution, and bring power to rural areas, India’s Maharashtra state is set to implement an off-grid energy scheme. The state’s chief minister said the government is promoting solar off-grid energy policy to encourage use of new and renewable energy.” [PennEnergy]

¶ Navigant Research predicts that 346.1 GW of distributed solar PV will be installed globally between 2015 and 2024, producing $668.5 billion in revenue for the industry. An additional 289.4 GW of utility-scale (or non-distributed) solar is also expected to come online during the forecast period. [CleanTechnica]

Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity and Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024

Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity and Revenue
by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024

¶ Asia Biogas, which builds waste-to-power plants, has just started commercial operation of a project in the Thai tourist region of Krabi. The project will export 12,300 MWh per year of clean renewable energy to one of Thailand’s most beautiful regions, according to the company’s chief executive. [Irish Times]

¶ A Norwegian company has proposed setting up a 300-MW solar power plant in Sri Lanka and is waiting for more clarity on regulations for renewable energy projects, officials said. The company has done a feasibility study for generating 300 MW of solar energy and scaling it up to 900 MW. [EconomyNext]

¶ The UK faces a 40% to 55% electricity supply gap if the government implements its plans to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025 on top of retiring ageing nuclear power stations, according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. It is unrealistic to fill the gap by building gas or nuclear plants. [reNews]

Coal. Image by sxc

¶ Vietnam’s Prime Minister signalled a reduced role for new coal-fired power stations in the country’s forthcoming power plans and an expanded role for renewable energy. He said, “There is a need to closely monitor environmental issues, especially in stringent monitoring of coal-fired power plants.” [End Coal]

¶ A French union has published a set of last-minute challenges to EDF over its plans to build an £18 billion nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, with just days to go before an expected final investment decision. People close to the deal said they expected the decision on Wednesday. [Financial Times]

US:

¶ States could drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector in the next 15 years, if they ramped up their investment in renewables such as wind and solar, according to a study from scientists at UC Boulder and NOAA. It found costs could be kept in check while meeting demand increases. [Fox News]

Turbines blow in the wind south of Cheyenne, Wyoming. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Turbines blow in the wind south of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

… Scientists created a simulator that uses data from wind and solar weather models to determine where the best places to collect energy are in the country. The simulator then calculates the easiest ways to transfer that energy from where it was gathered to where it’s needed. This can reduce CO2 emissions by 80%. [The Denver Channel]

¶ The US Supreme Court upheld a major Obama administration electricity-markets regulation that encourages big power users like factories to cut consumption at peak times, rejecting a challenge brought by electric utilities. The court, ruling 6-2, reversed a 2014 decision by a US Court of Appeals. [Business Insider]

¶ Soon after SolarCity acquired solar panel maker Silevo in the summer of 2014, it announced the construction of a 1.2-million-square-foot ‘Solar Gigafactory’ in Buffalo, New York. The Buffalo solar gigafactory aims to start producing solar cells in 2016, with a ramping up to 1 GW of annual capacity by 2017. [Treehugger]

Solar gigafactory. SolarCity image.

Solar gigafactory. SolarCity image.

¶ Xcel Energy Inc launched the first element of a sweeping new plan that executives say will upgrade the state’s power grid and give customers more choice in how they source and use energy. The plan would greatly boost the amount of renewable energy, both wind and solar power, on Colorado’s grid. [Denver Sun Times]

¶ New Hampshire is among the states leading the charge on renewable energy, according to SmartAsset. Overall, the state ranked fourth in the nation. The rankings were based on renewable energy generation and growth, per-capita carbon emissions and solar energy incentives. [New Hampshire Business Review]

January 25 Energy News

January 25, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ A new study found that the melting Greenland ice sheet might affect a key aspect of global ocean circulation, which in turn could drive changes in Earth’s climate. It is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. It’s a massive ocean current system that’s critical to the stability of our climate. [Newsweek]

A map of the surface currents (solid curves) and deep currents (dashed curves) that form a portion of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. USGCRP / R. Curry / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

A map of the surface currents (solid curves) and deep currents (dashed curves) that form a portion of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. USGCRP / R. Curry / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

¶ Some researchers suggest northern sea ice can bounce back and continue its role as refrigerator of the world. One has shared a vision for restoring sea ice at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last month. More than 20,000 scientists attend the weeklong meeting. [Alaska Dispatch News]

World:

¶ Despite much of Australia being seemingly perfect for large scale solar, it has been slow in coming to the sun-drenched country. That could be set to change with the official opening of two plants that AGL Energy managing director and CEO says “signals the birth of large-scale solar in Australia”. [Gizmag]

Together, the Nyngan (pictured) and Broken Hill plants will produce around 360,000 MWh of renewable energy annually

Together, the Nyngan (pictured) and Broken Hill plants will produce
around 360,000 MWh of renewable energy annually

¶ Russia’s economy contracted by 3.7% in 2015, according to preliminary figures published by the country’s statistics service. Retail sales plunged by 10% and capital investment fell by 8.4%. The economy has been hit hard by the extraordinary collapse in oil prices, which have fallen by 70% in the past 15 months. [BBC]

¶ Facebook announced today that it plans to open a new data center in Clonee, Ireland. The name is EU2 because it’s the second data center in the European Union, after one in Sweden. This data center will run on 100% clean, renewable wind power, and it will use new and possibly disruptive computing technology. [ETCIO.com]

¶ The government of the Indian state of Gujarat government has identified around 1,500 hectare land to set up a 750-MW solar park. This will be the biggest solar park in the country after the 590-MW capacity solar park, the country’s first and Asia’s largest, was set up in Charnka village of Patan district in 2012. [The Indian Express]

This will be the biggest solar park to come up in the country after the 590 MW capacity solar park, the country’s first and Asia’s largest solar park, was set up in Charnka village of Patan district in 2012.

A much smaller solar installation in India.

¶ Five years ago, investments in the Australian renewable energy market would have been considered niche, but the market has grown very quickly. Now, 20% of the market for infrastructure is in renewable power assets, with growth driven by fundamental secular shifts. And the coal industry is the loser. [Investment Magazine]

¶ The minister responsible for Germany’s energy transition from coal and nuclear to renewables says solar and wind energy have clearly won the technology race. He said Germany’s task now is to focus on integration, digitizing the grid, and on storage, efficiency, transport, and building and industrial heat. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Lifting nuclear sanctions against Iran will boost the nation’s efforts to curb fossil-fuel emissions, one of its vice presidents said. Iran, which plans to sell 1 million barrels of oil a day, hopes to increase use of windpower, solar, and technology to curb greenhouse gases from power plants, homes and factories. [Business Mirror]

Wind farm in Xinjiang, China Wikimedia Commons

Wind farm in Xinjiang, China Wikimedia Commons

¶ Two armed ships set off from the northwest of England this week to sail round the world to Japan on a secretive and controversial mission to collect a consignment of plutonium and transport it to the US. The cargo of plutonium, one of the most toxic substances known, has no currently known commercial use. [eco-business.com]

US:

¶ In California, Castoro Cellars installed a project that will allow the winery to run 100% on solar power. The 625-kW system installed by REC Solar, covers nearly three acres. It will have produce over 1 million kWh per year and eliminate a monthly electric bill estimated to be $20,000 per month. [Solar Novus Today]

¶ Ceres, a Boston-based nonprofit organization focused on sustainability leadership, launched a new version of its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Sustainability Disclosure Search Tool. The tool helps users explore the disclosures oil and gas companies give to investors about carbon asset risk. [Triple Pundit]

Image credit: Flickr/Ken Hodge

Image credit: Flickr/Ken Hodge

¶ The work to switch to a renewable system in which thousands of customers are the energy producers increasingly is taking place in Western Pennsylvania, where universities, federal research centers and private companies are embarking on projects aimed at wiring together renewable sources and batteries. [Tribune-Review]

¶ Despite interest from communities across the state and reliable sunrays during peak summer months, Nebraska has shied away from solar power. A bill proposed in the Nebraska Legislature could make it easier for communities to begin generating their own renewable energy by offering grants of up to $150,000. [WOWT]

January 24 Energy News

January 24, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Lake Poopó is more than 12,000 feet above sea level on Bolivia’s semi-arid Andean plains. Even though the lake has dried up before, according to experts, this time the recovery will no longer be possible. “This is a picture of the future of climate change,” a glaciologist says. (The lake’s area was about 250,000 acres.) [Laurel Leader Call]

Fishing boats on what was once Lake Poopó's shore.

Fishing boats on what was once a shore.

World:

¶ Based on research done by Stanford University, led by Mark Z. Jacobson, The Solutions Project is popularizing the maps and plans. It has created infographics highlighting which future energy mix will theoretically be the best to achieve the zero-emission target for each of these 139 countries. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché has been selected by Hecate Canada Storage II, LLP to deliver a 13-MW/53-MWh system. Leclanché will team with Deltro Energy Inc on the project. It will stand as one of the largest grid ancillary storage services systems in North America. [CleanTechnica]

Emission-free grid stability via Deltro

Emission-free grid stability via Deltro

¶ Alberta is looking at changing regulations so people who generate their own wind or solar electricity can earn money selling the excess electricity back to the grid. Sinking oil prices have prompted the Alberta government to look at diversifying the economy to lessen its dependence on oil and gas revenues. [CBC.ca]

¶ The government of Bangladesh has set a target to generate 2,000 MW renewable energy by 2021, up from the current generating capacity of 405 MW. The new target of renewable energy would be 10% of the total electricity generation in 2021 and would increase to 20% in 2030. [Financial Express Bangladesh]

¶ Fuel supplies to landlocked Nepal have been blocked for months at the Indian border, initially by protests over a new constitution. Now, Nepal is suffering rolling power cuts for up to 14 hours a day. The government has turned to renewable power sources, mainly solar and wind, for a solution. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Solar panels on the roof of the offices of the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre in Kathmandu (Photo by Deepak Adhikari)

Solar panels on the roof of the offices of the Alternative Energy
Promotion Centre in Kathmandu (Photo by Deepak Adhikari)

¶ A broken submarine cable and a drought have left Tasmania with electric supply problems. Stakeholders point out that Tasmania is one of the best places in the world to harvest wind, hydro and solar energy. The Environment Minister said the government would consider adding renewable power. [Tasmania Examiner]

¶ Ecotricity introduced the concept of making green gas from grass in Britain early last year and if the company’s application to Winchester City Council is accepted, the Green Gas Mill will pump £3 million into the local economy every year for twenty years. It would also power 4,000 homes. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ The Philippines is now the largest and fastest-growing producer of electricity from wind power among the 10 countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a former Senator said in a news release. Its coastlines and mountains give the country very rich wind resources. [InterAksyon]

Wind farm in Bangui. Photo from tourism.gov.ph

Wind farm in Bangui. Photo from tourism.gov.ph

¶ The Japanese government has used taxpayer money to provide over ¥16.2 billion ($136.34 million) in subsidies to local governments for promoting so-called pluthermal power generation using mixed oxide fuel (MOX). The project is a key part of the country’s nuclear fuel cycle policy. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ This week voters in the village of Hyde Park and the town of Stowe each approved building community-based solar projects. Once online, the projects will help the small municipal electric departments meet the new renewable energy standards Vermont passed into law last year. [Vermont Public Radio]

Blue skies over the Village of Hyde Park are a welcome sight for a community that just approved a 1-MW solar project. Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Blue skies over the Village of Hyde Park, a welcome sight for a community that just approved a 1-MW solar project. Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

¶ Within the next two years, construction will begin to convert six dams along the Muskingum River, in Ohio, to hydropower. The six sites will provide an average of 4 MW of power, which is sufficient to power more than 2,000 homes. Converting the six dams will cost about $118 million. [Zanesville Times Recorder]

January 23 Energy News

January 23, 2016

Opinion:

¶ Coal Prices Won’t Rebound Anytime Soon on Supply Surplus • The decline in coal prices was not only caused by oversupply, but due to a drastic decline in coal demand. Several major consumers, including China, have been producing sufficient coal for their domestic use, so international sales have fallen. [Economic Calendar]

Coal prices have been declining over the past few years.

Coal prices have been declining over the past few years.

Not in my backyard • At every turn, efforts to support Vermonters turning to renewable energy run into neighbors who object to changes they would bring. Vermont’s drive toward renewable energy will likely be scuttled by what may rapidly be becoming the new state motto: “not in my backyard.” [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

World:

¶ Germany piloted a new system for setting the price paid for electricity from ground-mounted PV arrays in 2015. Instead of receiving a set feed-in tariff, parties bid in solar auctions for a share of 500 MW of capacity. The federal minister for economic affairs and energy said the pilot auctions a “complete success.” [CleanTechnica]

Renewable energy systems in the community of Freiensteinau, Hesse, Germany. Photo by CarstenE. CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Renewable energy systems in the community of Freiensteinau, Hesse, Germany. Photo by CarstenE. CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Oil prices spiked 9% to close at $32.19 a barrel on Friday. It represents a dramatic rebound from Wednesday. Crude crashed to $26.19 a barrel Wednesday, the lowest level since April 2003. Since then, oil has surged a remarkable 23%. There didn’t appear to be an obvious trigger for the rebound. [CNN]

¶ The latest auction of solar energy capacity in India has achieved a new record low price of ₹4.34/kWh (6¢/kWh). It is the lowest price obtained so far in India, which aims to install more than 100 GW of solar by 2022. The energy minister said solar tariffs are now cheaper than coal-fired generation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Global solar PV installation for 2015 increased 34% over 2014 numbers, reaching an estimated 59 GW by the end of the year. This, according to preliminary numbers from GTM Research published today. GMT expects the US and China to lead the way towards a total installation of 64 GW in 2016. [CleanTechnica]

President Barack Obama and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada (right) at Nellis Air Force Base. Photo by Pete Souza. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

President Barack Obama and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada (right) at Nellis Air Force Base. Photo by Pete Souza. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The Australian renewable energy industry has long struggled to bring its products to apartment dwellers. Now, a trial scheme in Sydney will see solar installed in a multi-unit residence and the electricity sold back to tenants through power-sharing. The technology and legal framework could serve as models. [ABC Online]

¶ Germany imported 54 million tonnes of hard coal in 2015, 4% less than in the previous year, coal importers’ lobby VDKI said. The figure was close to VDKI’s earlier forecasts, which has cited weaker demand from power generators and the steel industry as reasons for the decline. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ Construction of the world’s largest floating solar power plant, set to cover an area of the Yamakura Dam reservoir the size of 37 football fields, has begun in Japan. The plant, scheduled for completion in March 2018, will generate an estimated 16,170 MWh per year, enough to power approximately 4,970 households. [Newsweek]

Rendering of the 13.7MW plant on the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Rendering of the 13.7MW plant on the Yamakura
Dam reservoir in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

¶ The UAE Minister of Energy said during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week that he would like the UAE to export renewable power, rather than fossil fuel, to Europe. Experts said this is highly achievable, but only if the UAE implements a climate change and renewable energy policy at the federal level. [Khaleej Times]

US:

¶ Subsidizing Iowa corn is the opposite of fiscal conservatism, but politicians generally find a way to evolve on the subject when they get to Iowa. This year Ted Cruz has hung tough. Perhaps it’s because he’s close to Big Oil, which wants the gas tanks for itself. But whatever the reason, he’s paying the price. [Bismarck Tribune]

¶ A controversial plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions in Oregon that failed a year ago is back, jostling with another ambitious plan from environmental groups and utilities. The new plan would replace the greenhouse gas reduction goals passed in 2007 with a series of enforceable limits. [OregonLive.com]

Oregon's largest source of greenhouse gases, PGE's Boardman coal plant, will close in 2020. (The Oregonian/Brent Wojahn)

Oregon’s largest source of greenhouse gases, PGE’s Boardman
coal plant, will close in 2020. (The Oregonian/Brent Wojahn)

¶ The Sierra Club says it has launched a new initiative, the #ReadyFor100 campaign, which will challenge 100 cities across the US to commit to 100% clean energy. With 2.4 million members and supporters, the group will harness its grassroots power to urge mayors to commit to 100% clean energy. [North American Windpower]

¶ New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo has directed the public service commission to ensure that the state achieves its goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. The public service commission has now formally stated that it will expand its plan to include the contributions of the nuclear plants. [World Nuclear News]

January 22 Energy News

January 22, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Tens of thousands of dead birds have washed up on the beaches of Alaska’s Prince William Sound, an unexplained mass die-off. They are a sign the ecosystem was being troubled by abnormally warm ocean water off the coast of Alaska, a sign that some experts say may be related to the changing climate. [CNN]

Common Murres. Photo by Richard Crossley. CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Common Murres are dying. Photo by Richard Crossley.
CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Companies involved in the RE100 campaign are, on average, halfway toward meeting their 100% renewable energy goals, according to a new report published by The Climate Group and CDP.Those in the information and communication technology sector are, on average, 64% of the way there. [Solar Industry]

¶ Tasmania is in the grip of an energy crisis as drought reduces output from its hydro-electric dams and an undersea power cable, providing up to 40% of its power needs from Victoria, is shut down. The Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union secretary blames the government’s anti-renewable policies. [Green Left Weekly]

Musselroe wind farm.

Musselroe wind farm.

¶ The UK government plans to do more to increase the proportion of renewable energy used to heat the nation’s buildings and fuel its cars, trucks and trains as it strives to meet binding European Union targets by 2020. The UK must get 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020 to meet its EU target. [Bloomberg]

¶ Humanity must stop burning coal, oil and gas to power global economies or face an irreversible climate catastrophe, scientists, business chiefs and analysts warned at a gathering in the Swiss Alps. If we can come close to limiting average temperature increases to 1.5° C, we may avoid tipping points. [The Rakyat Post]

A senior insurance executive says the planet will simply be uninsurable in 50 years if nations do nothing to prevent climate change. AFP file pic

Disappearing glacier. A senior insurance executive says nothing will be insurable in 50 years if nations do nothing on climate change. AFP file pic

¶ In an effort to become the largest exporter of nuclear-energy technology, China has started building a reactor housed in a floating vessel, which is scheduled to be finished by 2020. If that sounds alarming, brace yourself: More than 100 additional nuclear reactors are planned for the next decade. [PortNews IAA]

US:

¶ The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission granted a site permit for the 100-MW North Star solar project of developer Community Energy Solar. By law, Minnesota public utilities must produce at least 1.5% of retail electricity sales from solar energy by 2020. The facility would power about 20,000 homes per year. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar panels. Author: Oregon Department of Transportation. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Solar panels. Author: Oregon Department of Transportation.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ Green Mountain Power, in Rutland, Vermont, offers an “extreme energy makeover” that can go as far as customers want in scaling down their energy use, even going off the power grid, CEO Mary Powell said. At the same time, Green Mountain has lowered electric rates three times in the past four years. [Madison.com]

¶ 2015 marked a banner year for solar power in North Carolina as Duke Energy companies set a record for the solar PV capacity they added in the state. The total comes to more than 300 MW, enough to power about 60,000 average homes at peak production. About half the capacity belongs to Duke. [solarserver.com]

The 13 megawatt Camp Lejeune PV facility is Duke Energy’s first solar project located at a military base. Courtesy: Duke Energy Renewables.

The 13 megawatt Camp Lejeune PV facility is Duke Energy’s first solar
project located at a military base. Courtesy: Duke Energy Renewables.

¶ Building on big plans for renewables unveiled during his recent State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, has announced the New York State Public Service Commission’s approval of a 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fund. The fund is to attract and leverage third-party capital. [Solar Industry]

¶ The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a request from Texas and other states to block President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, leaving the climate change rules in place while courts hear a legal challenge. The court wrote that the stringent requirements for a stay were not met. [Texas Tribune]

Photo by Thomas Bougher

Photo by Thomas Bougher

¶ Switch, a Las Vegas data center provider, known there for its massive high-security campus, will buy power for a new data center as bundled energy and Renewable Energy Credits from Consumers Energy, the Michigan utility that serves the area where the new data center is being built. [Data Center Knowledge]

¶ After seven years of promoting the benefits of adding wind energy to the US electricity mix, the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition announced that it will pair its advocacy work for wind with work for solar energy as well. The group has taken a new name, the Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition. [Windpower Engineering]

The Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition will join wind and solar to lower costs, increase jobs, and support the growth of US renewables.

The Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition will join wind and solar
to lower costs, increase jobs, and support the growth of US renewables.

¶ The Town of East Hampton, New York, is commitment to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Now, a study is under way on the feasibility of creating a microgrid that would generate power for critical facilities and have the ability to separate from the electrical grid in the event of power outages. [East Hampton Star]

¶ California-based Pattern Energy has announced it has completed construction on the 150-MW Amazon Wind Farm Fowler Ridge project in Indiana. The 150-MW Fowler Ridge wind farm will provide 100% of the electricity generated to Amazon Web Services to power the company’s datacenters. [CleanTechnica]

January 21 Energy News

January 21, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Last year was the warmest since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA and NASA. While many expected 2015 would finish in first place, the margin of victory was startling. Global temperatures were 1.62˚F (0.90˚C) above the 20th century average, passing the previous record by 20%. [CNN]

Arctic sea ice decline September 1979 to May 2015. Image by NSIDC. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Arctic sea ice decline September 1979 to May 2015.
Image by NSIDC. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ The Russian ruble has just collapsed to its lowest ever level, as oil sank below $27 a barrel to its lowest level since September 2003. Earnings from oil and gas exports make up roughly half of government revenues. To balance its budget, the country needs to be able to sell oil for $82 per barrel. [CNN]

¶ Falling oil prices are driving investments in renewable power in oil-producing countries. With oil at below $30 a barrel, countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran and Kuwait are looking to curb fossil fuel use at home to maximize export profits, and so they seek alternative energy sources for electricity. [The Guardian]

Visitors at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2016. Photograph: Ali Haider/EPA

Visitors at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2016. Photograph: Ali Haider/EPA

¶ Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa SA announced three orders from India totalling 130 MW. The company will supply a total of 65 units of its G97-2.0 MW turbine. Gamesa will build two wind farms, one of 50 MW and one of 30 MW, and will supply 50 MW of turbines to a third wind farm. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ An international consortium has been formed to fund and develop a commercial floating wind farm in the Atlantic waters off the coast of Portugal near Porto. This follows the successful trials of a prototype floating generator unit developed by WindFloat which has been operating for four years. [Maritime Journal]

¶ Australian utility AGL and global solar PV manufacturer First Solar have completed Australia’s two largest solar PV plants, doubling the country’s total solar PV capacity. The 102-MW Nyngan and the 53-MW Broken Hill solar projects, have a total of 2,044,140 solar panels feeding the grid. [CleanTechnica]

AGL solar array

AGL solar array

¶ GE Renewable Energy has announced that it secured 1.4-GW of firm and unconditional wind turbine supply orders in the month of December. The agreements call for GE’s wind technology to supply more than 20 new wind projects across seven different countries. About half of the sales were outside the US. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ A former TEPCO executive who feels guilt over the 2011 nuclear disaster is behind the start-up of a tomato farm which opened in the devastated region. Eiju Hangai, whose previous employer operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is now president of Minami-Soma Fukko Agri KK. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ The Cambodian government should invest more in sustainable energy, with a focus on solar power, experts told a conference on energy security yesterday, adding that this could reduce both the country’s dependence on large-scale hydropower projects and coal-fired plants and its emissions of carbon dioxide. [Khmer Times]

Tangled power cables are commonplace in Phnom Penh, like the ones above on Street 63. KT/ Mai Vireak

Tangled power cables are commonplace in Phnom Penh,
like the ones above on Street 63. KT/ Mai Vireak

¶ Seven of the 24 countries across the world with weapons-grade nuclear materials scored a zero in their ability to protect their nuclear facilities from a cyberattack, according to a new study by the Nuclear Threat Initiative. This is the first time the NTI included a threat of cyberattacks in its report. [BuzzFeed News]

US:

¶ Oil is in free fall. Last year, 42 US energy companies went bankrupt, owing more than $17 billion, according to a report from law firm Haynes & Boone. The four biggest US banks have set aside at least $2.5 billion combined to cover souring energy loans and may have to increase that amount. [Bloomberg]

¶ UK-based Renewable Energy Systems announced the sale of the 198-MW Bluestem wind project in Oklahoma to a unit of US energy major Exelon Corp. RES will immediately start building the wind farm in Beaver County. Vestas Wind Systems will supply 60 of its V117-3.3 MW turbines for the project. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Oklahoma. Author: U.S. Department of Agriculture. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Wind farm in Oklahoma. Author: U.S. Department of Agriculture.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ A climate change program including New York and other northeastern states won’t be enough for the states to reach 2030 goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions unless more is done, a report warned.The report coincided with an announcement that 2015 was the hottest year on record. [Albany Times Union]

¶ US wind and solar developer Apex Clean Energy Holdings LLC said it has signed a power purchase agreement with the US Army for 65.8 MW of wind and solar capacity. The Army will buy electricity for Fort Hood in Texas and is expected to save about $168 million over the contract’s 28-year term. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind turbines in Texas. Author: Will De Freitas. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

Wind turbines in Texas. Author: Will De Freitas. License: Creative
Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

¶ Local officials from communities around Vermont are demanding a greater say in the siting of wind and solar energy projects. The Vermont League of Cities and Towns on Wednesday brought local officials and activists from around the state to the Statehouse to express their concerns. [Beaumont Enterprise]

January 20 Energy News

January 20, 2016

Opinion:

Why An Overflowing Oil Supply Won’t Drown Renewable Energy
Growth
• Conventional wisdom posits that continuously cheap oil also poses a threat to the development of renewable energy. But for the most part, oil doesn’t compete with renewables, which are still growing in the face of cheap oil. [Huffington Post]

 A barrel lies in a pool of oil at a damaged petroleum plant after an earthquake in Indonesia. Spencer Platt via Getty Images


A barrel lies in a pool of oil at a damaged petroleum plant after an earthquake in Indonesia. Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Science and Technology:

¶ The cost of storing energy in batteries could fall by as much as 70% over the next 15 years as new solar battery technology and other technical advances drive prices down, the World Energy Council said. Grid-scale electricity storage would make the variable supply of renewable sources more flexible. [Times of India]

¶ Carbon capture and sequestration is expensive because each step, capture, distribution, and sequestration, is expensive. According to an organization which promotes carbon capture and sequestration, it will cost $120-$140 per ton of CO2. This means 16.8¢/kWh to 19.6¢/kWh extra for electricity. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The door is beginning to close on growth markets for small-scale diesel, as the cost of renewable energy has dropped to the point where it meets, and often beats, diesel on both price and performance. IRENA has just announced a new $46 million round of new funding for renewable energy projects. [CleanTechnica]

Solar installation at Vanuatu via IRENA.

Solar installation at Vanuatu via IRENA.

¶ According to analytics company IHS, battery cost reductions, government funding programs, and utility tenders all contributed to a 45% increase in the global energy storage pipeline in the fourth quarter of 2015. The analysis also says the pipeline of planned battery projects and flywheel projects reaches 1.6 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ If Saudi Arabia and the five other Gulf Cooperation Council members make good on renewable energy targets, that would keep 400 million barrels of oil in the desert in 2030. They would benefit by preserving vital water stocks and using solar potentials, the International Renewable Energy Agency says. [Climate Home]

Shams 100-MW concentrated solar plant in Abu Dhabi, UAE (Flickr/ Masdar Official)

Shams 100-MW concentrated solar plant in Abu Dhabi, UAE (Flickr/ Masdar Official)

¶ China’s emissions of carbon dioxide produced as a result of using coal for electricity generation probably fell 2% in 2015, as a push by the world’s most populous nation to tackle climate change resulted in less of the fuel being burned. Carbon emissions were reduced by 144.9 million metric tons. [Bloomberg]

¶ Russian government officials are revisiting an idea that was all but junked by President Vladimir Putin in 2010: the notion that renewable energy could be profitable business for the country. A Deputy Energy Minister announced a goal of increasing Russia’s reliance on renewables by 10 times by 2035. [Bellona]

The Mikhail Ulyanov Tanker docks with the Prirazlomnaya platform to onload oil. (Photo: Gazprom)

The Mikhail Ulyanov Tanker docks with the Prirazlomnaya platform to onload oil. (Photo: Gazprom)

US:

¶ Green Mountain Power announced today the year-end operational results for Kingdom Community Wind in Lowell. In 2015, the 21-turbine project generated enough electricity to power 26,700 homes for a year. That’s an increase of 7% over the previous year or enough energy to power an additional 1,800 homes. [Vermont Biz]

¶ The US DOE announced it will fund up to $220 million of R&D projects to modernize America’s aging power grid infrastructure over the next three years. DOE also released a strategic blueprint that informs and guides a national research and development agenda involving a consortium of DOE National Laboratories. [Energy Collective]

Natural resources at NREL's campuses are managed appropriately to ensure research needs are met while protecting native wildlife and vegetation. NREL

Natural resources at NREL’s campuses are managed appropriately to ensure research needs are met while protecting native wildlife and vegetation. NREL

¶ The US DOE awarded two $6 million cost sharing grants as the first installments of what could be, over time, up to $80 million in funding for design work on advanced nuclear reactors. DOE’s expectations is that these firms, with their multiple partners, will be ready to build prototypes by 2035 or earlier. [Energy Collective]

Amazon wind

Amazon windpower

¶ Pattern Energy Group Inc. has completed the 150-MW Amazon Wind Farm Fowler Ridge, located in Benton County, Indiana. The facility will sell 100% of its output to Amazon Web Services, which will in turn supply the electricity to the electric power grids that service its data centers. [North American Windpower]

¶ The legal mandate of reducing Massachusetts greenhouse gas emissions to hit a 2020 benchmark is “achievable” if environmental policies are carried out but imperiled if the state neglects a major importation of renewable energy, according to a Baker administration report released Tuesday. [CommonWealth magazine]

¶ Utility Southern California Edison has signed power purchase agreements to obtain 500 MW of renewable energy from four solar projects being developed by First Solar. The projects are in California, Nevada, and Arizona. First Solar expects to turn all the four projects operational by the end of 2019. [Power Technology]

January 19 Energy News

January 19, 2016

World:

¶ UK green energy supplier Ecotricity has installed a 800-kW wind turbine in Yorkshire, at a factory of aircrete products maker H+H UK Ltd. Ecotricity will finance and build the turbine, and H+H will use the power on-site, cutting its carbon emissions and sharing in the benefits of green energy. [SeeNews Renewables]

Factory turbine under construction. Source: Ecotricity. License: All Rights Reserved.

Factory turbine under construction.
Source: Ecotricity. License: All Rights Reserved.

¶ China’s gross domestic product grew 6.9% in 2015 from a year earlier, the least growth since 1990, according to government figures. Power consumption rose 0.5%, slowing from a 3.8% advance the previous year. Coal imports fell about 30% last year, and approval of new mines may be suspended this year. [Bloomberg]

¶ Nordex signed contracts with the Turkish power company Bilgin Enerji for four projects totalling 100 MW. All of the 33 turbines ordered are Delta series, the latest product fleet Nordex is offering on the market. The first project is an extension of the “Bandirma” wind farm in the province of Balikesir. [7thSpace Interactive]

¶ Germany connected a record 2,282.4 MW of offshore wind capacity to the grid in 2015. Just 492.2 MW was installed in 2014, and the industry expects about 700 MW for 2016. At the end of 2014, 1,345 MW were fully installed in German waters and awaited grid connection due to delays. [SeeNews Renewables]

Adwen turbines at Alpha Ventus wind farm in the German North Sea. Copyright: Adwen GmbH / J. Oelker.

Adwen turbines at Alpha Ventus wind farm in the German
North Sea. Copyright: Adwen GmbH / J. Oelker.

¶ Construction work has begun on Djibouti’s first solar power plant. The $390 million facility is located in Grand Bara, in south of the country. The solar power project will be built in six stages, each one adding 50 MW of power, towards a final capacity of 300 MW. The plant is part of a drive to cut energy costs. [Caj News Africa]

¶ Switzerland’s 1,000-MW Linthal pumped-storage plant has been successfully synchronized to the Swiss grid, according to equipment supplier GE Renewable Energy. The Axpo-owned facility is located in the Linthal Valley in eastern Switzerland, and uses water pumped from Lake Limmern to Lake Mutt. [HydroWorld]

Linthal Valley

Linthal Valley

¶ Japan has given the go-ahead to 85,550 MW of clean-energy projects since the introduction of an incentive program in July 2012, with solar comprising the vast bulk of the new capacity, at 79,760 MW. Of the approvals, 23,650 MW, or about 28%, had gone online by the end of September. [The Japan Times]

¶ Hexicon is planning to build and operate a semi-submersible platform to support two floating wind turbines at a site approximately 9 km from the Dounreay power station on the north coast of Scotland. The Swedish company is currently in the earliest stages of planning for the Dounreay Tri demonstrator project. [reNews]

Hexicon image

Hexicon image

¶ A decision on whether a nuclear power station is built at Hinkley Point could be announced next week. Reports say the board of directors of EDF will meet on January 27. The final investment decision on the project has been delayed due to the lengthy negotiations with Chinese partners. [Central Somerset Gazette]

US:

¶ Public enemy No 1 for climate change and no longer the fossil fuel utilities prefer to burn to generate electricity, coal has few allies these days. But one state is still fighting to save the industry: Wyoming. Not long ago, good times for coal, oil and natural gas created huge budget surpluses. [LancasterOnline]

Loading coal at the Black Thunder Mine in Wright, Wyoming. AP photo / Matt Brown

Loading coal at the Black Thunder Mine in
Wright, Wyoming. AP photo / Matt Brown

¶ El Segundo-based 3 Phases Renewables has contracted with the City of Santa Monica, California, to supply 100% renewable power for all municipal operations. Under the newly signed contract the energy mix will be mostly made up of wind and solar power generated within the state. [North American Windpower]

January 18 Energy News

January 18, 2016

Opinion:

Clean power: It’s just a click away • While many don’t think of the Internet’s scope beyond their own personal devices, Greenpeace has recently noted that if the Internet were a country, its energy consumption would rank it sixth in the world. Of course this total is only expected to grow. [eco-business.com]

An Apple solar farm in Hongyuan, China. Image: Apple

An Apple solar farm in Hongyuan, China. Image: Apple

World:

¶ Oil prices fell below $28 a barrel amid fears the lifting of Western sanctions on Iran could increase the oversupply. Brent crude, used as an international benchmark, fell as low as $27.67 a barrel, its lowest since 2003, before recovering slightly to trade at $28.17. The price of US crude fell to $28.86. [BBC]

¶ The North African country of Morocco has achieved a new low for wind energy costs, securing average bids of just $30/MWh from its tender for 850 MW tender of large-scale wind energy projects, with the lowest at around $25/MWh. Until recently, Morocco sourced all its energy needs from fossil fuels. [RenewEconomy]

Tarfaya Wind Energy Project, Morocco

Tarfaya Wind Energy Project, Morocco

¶ India is expected to significantly overachieve on its solar power capacity addition target for the financial year 2015-16, a consultancy firm has projected. Solar consultancy firm Bridge to India expects that around 2 GW of solar power capacity is expected to be added between January and March 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In its first year of operation, the so-named Shams 1 plant in Abu Dhabi beat expectations by a wide margin, and its second year figures are also better than predicted. The concentrating solar plant has a nameplate capacity of 100 MW, but in peak summer days during 2015, it often produced 125 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Photo by Tina Casey

Photo by Tina Casey

¶ On Monday, Toshiba Corp demonstrated a device it believes will be used to remove fuel-rod assemblies from the spent fuel pool in the reactor 3 building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It is still impossible for humans even to monitor the removal of the fuel-rod assemblies safely in the building. [The Japan Times]

¶ Bibby Marine Services has contracted Damen Shipyards Group to deliver a service operations vessel for use in the offshore wind sector. Bibby WaveMaster 1 will be able to remain at sea for periods up to one month, accommodating up to 45 turbine maintenance personnel and 15 crew members. [reNews]

Photo by Bibby Line Group

Photo by Bibby Line Group

US:

¶ The newest Solar Jobs Census from the Solar Foundation gives us some interesting insights into the US solar industry. The report notes that the solar workforce in the US grew 20% in 2015 for the third straight year. The US solar industry added jobs about 12 times faster than the other parts of the economy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In tomorrow’s world, it won’t be just the corn on the great American plains that is as high as an elephant’s eye, but also elephant grass. To deliver on US promises to reduce fossil fuel use, American motorists in future will drive on miscanthus, as elephant grass is also known, and prairie switchgrass. [EcoWatch]

Elephant grass has a high biomass yield and grows rapidly to over three metres tall. Photo credit: Tony Atkin / Wikimedia Commons

Elephant grass has a high biomass yield and grows rapidly to over
three metres tall. Photo credit: Tony Atkin / Wikimedia Commons

¶ Nevada solar system owners filed a lawsuit against NV Energy Inc accusing the utility of conspiring to reduce or eliminate competition, inflate price and illegally increase revenues. They claim the utility provided false and/or incomplete information to the Public Utilities Commission. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Twelve Nebraska cities and one regional utility decided not to sign new 20-year contracts to buy electricity from the Nebraska Public Power District. The utilities rejecting NPPD’s proposed contract are taking advantage of flexibility the power grid offers today to buy power from another provider. [Omaha World-Herald]

January 14 Energy News

January 14, 2016

World:

¶ The Canadian Wind Energy Association has reported that Canada closed 2015 seventh in the world for total installed wind energy capacity with 11,205 MW, and sixth in the world for the amount of capacity added in 2015. Over the year, Canada added 36 wind projects totalling 1,506 MW of new capacity. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind energy supplied approximately 5% of Canada’s electricity demand in 2015, or enough to power over three million Canadian homes.

Wind energy supplied approximately 5% of Canada’s electricity demand in 2015, or enough to power over three million Canadian homes. CanWEA

¶ Oil prices briefly have fallen below $30 a barrel on international markets for the first time since April 2004, before recovering again. Brent crude, used as an international benchmark, fell as low as $29.96, but bounced back to trade at $30.22. Oil prices have fallen by 70% in the past 15 months. [BBC]

¶ Growth in India’s coal-based installed generation capacity is on a decline, despite an increase in production and availability of coal. The coal-based installed capacity in 2015 grew at 10.77%, a figure that has fallen in each of the past four years. Renewable capacity grew 18.06%, up from 7.57% in 2014. [Business Standard]

¶ Global clean energy investment in 2015 rose to the record-high $329.3 billion (€303 billion). A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows record investments despite falling fossil fuel commodity prices, weakness of the European economy, and the increasing capacity per investment dollar of PVs. [SeeNews Renewables]

Clean energy investment globally 2005-2015. Figures by BNEF.

Clean energy investment globally 2005-2015. Figures by BNEF.

¶ Indian Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal today said that Niti Aayog is working actively with the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan for developing a long-term cooperation in the energy sector. This will help India plan its energy security and energy mix for the country in the years to come. [Huffington Post India]

¶ Wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon has announced its foray into solar power with projects of 210 MW in the Indian state of Telangana. Suzlon won contracts in a competitive bidding process to install six different capacity projects across the state. They are to be commissioned in fiscal year 2017.[Financial Express]

¶ Taiwan may soon be the first nation in Asia to resolve to become a nuclear free nation after four decades of reliance on nuclear power. Taiwan’s voters will elect a new president on January 16. The leading candidate, by a hefty margin, is committed to turning Taiwan into a “nuclear free homeland” by 2025. [eco-business.com]

A collage of Taiwanese people holding posters protesting against nuclear power. Image: Hsiangfilm, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A collage of Taiwanese people holding posters protesting against
nuclear power. Image: Hsiangfilm, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¶ German energy group RWE AG plans to use the proceeds from the listing of a new, renewables-focused unit to expand in new markets and to enter the large-scale solar power segment. Its renewables arm, RWE Innogy, expects to post an operating result for 2015 more than double the prior year’s. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The Ontario Greens are calling for an independent, public review of rebuilding Ontario’s aging nuclear reactors to assess the costs, possible alternatives, and the need to work with the federal government on a national energy strategy that includes an East-West corridor to import energy. [NorthumberlandView.ca]

US:

¶ Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in his annual State of the State speech that the New York will phase out its dirtiest power plants, adopting renewable power. He said clean energy is a business opportunity for the state, as well as an important step to address increasing climate challenges. [Capital New York]

New York City's first commercial-scale wind turbine at the Sims Material Recovery Facility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

New York City’s first commercial-scale wind turbine at the Sims
Material Recovery Facility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

¶ The US has seen coal production levels fall to their lowest levels since 1986, dropping 10% in 2015 alone. Production in the Appalachian Basin fell the most last year. Lower natural gas prices and lower international demand for American coal are said to be behind the declining coal production. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Northern Power Systems Corp has announced that its flagship distributed generation wind platform is now available to businesses, farms, and other property owners with a compelling financing solution. It is offering a lease program to allow users to take advantage of wind energy with 100% financing. [Vermont Biz]

¶ After years of political gridlock, San Francisco is ready to launch its green energy community choice aggregation program this spring. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve the first round of energy contracts for the CleanPowerSF program. [San Francisco Chronicle]

The roof of the Sunset Reservoir, in San Francisco. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

Roof of the Sunset Reservoir. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

¶ Renewable energy provider Silicon Ranch Corp, based in Nashville, Tennessee and the Phoenix-based renewable energy team at McCarthy Building Cos say construction is ready to begin on a 52-MW AC solar energy plant planned in Hazlehurst, Georgia. It has a 30-year contract with Green Power EMC. [Solar Industry]

¶ Officials in Cumberland County, Tennessee, announced that Apex Clean Energy is planning to locate a new wind farm on private land in the county. The Crab Orchard project is expected to produce up to 71 MW of power with 20 to 23 turbines. The project is expected to begin operations in 2017. [The Hartsville Vidette]

January 13 Energy News

January 13, 2016

Opinion:

¶ America’s gathering offshore revolution • An article in Nature asserts that if the US were to exploit all its offshore resources, including in more difficult deep-water sites, it would be able to generate more than 4,000 GW of electricity, about four times more than it needs to power the country. [GCR]

The Walney wind farm off the coast of Cumbria, UK, in the Irish Sea. The US wants to follow Europe’s lead on offshore wind. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Walney wind farm, in the Irish Sea. The US wants to follow Europe’s lead on offshore wind. (Wikimedia Commons)

Nuclear no match for renewables • South Africa is in an electric supply crisis. The government’s curiously oblique solution: eight new nuclear reactors, costing about R1 trillion ($60.6 billion). But renewable power costs a third as much and goes in six times as fast. [BDlive]

World:

¶ Avantha Group company CG has won a contract by Energinet.dk to provide power transformers and gas insulated switchgear for the 600-MW Kriegers Flak wind farm in the Baltic Sea. The order includes of two onshore autotransformers and four offshore substation transformers. [reNews]

CG's technology is already been used on other wind farms. (CG)

CG’s technology is already been used on other wind farms. (CG)

¶ The Development Bank of Japan and Japan Wind Development Co will create the nation’s first fund for wind power, the companies announced on Wednesday. The companies aim to introduce the ¥50 billion ($423 million) joint fund in April, according to a statement. [Bloomberg]

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency said Wednesday it will help finance Bombora Wave Power’s detailed cost of energy study for its Wave Energy Converter. ARENA is contributing as much as A$181,000 ($127,100/€117,300) towards the completion of the assessment. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Ormat Technologies Inc said it has started construction work on the 35-MW Geotermica Platanares geothermal project in Honduras. Commercial operation is expected by the end of 2017. The plant is seen to generate an average of $33 million (€30.5 million) in annual revenue. [SeeNews Renewables]

Geothermal power station. Featured Image: N.Minton/Shutterstock.com

Geothermal power station. (That’s steam, not smoke.)
Image: N.Minton/Shutterstock.com

¶ China was the world’s leading market in 2015, bringing its renewable installed capacity to over 900 GW, says research and consulting firm GlobalData. China led the world for annual capacity additions in solar, biopower, small hydropower, and onshore wind in 2015. [Today’s Energy Solutions]

US:

¶ Hundreds of rooftop solar panels are going up on Fort Carson’s base housing, helping the post reach its goal to get 25% of its energy from renewables by 2025. The panels will generate enough power for 615 homes. They add to an exiting 5 MW of renewables. [Colorado Springs Independent]

Balfour Beatty has installed solar units at the Army post. - Courtesy Fort Carson

Balfour Beatty has installed solar units at the Army post.
Courtesy Fort Carson

¶ According to Utility Dive, renewable electricity accounted for 61% of 2015 electricity capacity additions in 2015 across the United States, while natural gas contributed 35% of the total. This is encouraging news for clean energy proponents concerning climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Vermont is reaffirming its commitment to get 90% of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2050, and on Tuesday Governor Peter Shumlin, administration officials and lawmakers outlined some of the states plans that are being proposed to help achieve that goal. [Rutland Herald]

¶ Montana’s coal-fired power plants at Colstrip are facing another hit, as utilities and environmental groups in Oregon back a proposal to ban use of coal power there by 2035. The proposal would prohibit Oregon’s two largest electric utilities from using coal-fired power. [KBZK Bozeman News]

Colstrip power plants (MTN News file photo)

Colstrip power plants (MTN News file photo)
(A lot of smoke, with a little steam.)

¶ American Electric Power is turning away from coal, favoring instead wind, solar, and natural gas. The company recommended that West Virginia enact policy to comply with the Clean Power Plan rather than invite the Environmental Protection Agency to devise a plan for the state. [Beckley Register-Herald]

¶ Legislators moved closer toward lifting Wisconsin’s ban on new nuclear power plants, with the Assembly passing a bill that would end the moratorium despite Democrats’ warnings about dangerous nuclear power. The measure now goes to the state Senate. [TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press]

January 12 Energy News

January 12, 2016

Opinion:

What does solar have to do with the bankruptcy of the second-largest US coal miner? • There is a relationship between both solar and wind and the decline of fossil fuels. As there is no fuel cost for solar or wind, both can bid into competitive electricity systems with no marginal cost. [pv magazine]

Coal power is on its way out in the United States, and solar can benefit. Wikimedia/Flocko

Coal power is on its way out in the United States,
and solar can benefit. Wikimedia/Flocko

Science and Technology:

¶ The methane and other pollutants spewing from a gas well in California is invisible to the naked eye, making it hard to comprehend just how large the leak is. Fortunately, the California Air Resources Board has been taking periodic measurements, which we can use to make some comparisons. [BBC]

World:

¶ Lloyd’s Register’s consulting business will be working with Denmark’s transmission system operator to measure underwater sound propagation for the Horns Rev 3 wind-farm substation development. The collaboration will help safeguard marine life and ensure a sustainability. [Windpower Engineering]

The 400-MW Horns Rev 3 wind farm, situated off the west coast of Denmark, is expected to generate clean power for some 450,000 households.

The 400-MW Horns Rev 3 wind farm, off the west coast of Denmark, is expected to generate power for some 450,000 households.

¶ The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy has invited bids from prospective project developers to set up a hybrid solar power project. The project will have a total installed capacity of 400 MW and will include both solar PV and solar thermal power generation technology. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nigeria’s Kainji renewable power plant serves to demonstrate a small-scale electricity solution that combines PV and wind technology, and is able to operate both off-grid and on-grid. Hybrid power systems are especially effective for remote and isolated areas far from grid connections. [Vanguard]

¶ Later this month Vattenfall will start installing the 4.99-MW Parc Cynog solar farm in Wales. The site already has 11 wind turbines, which have operated for 14 years. The solar array and the wind farm will share an existing connection to the grid. The site also has sheep grazing. [reNews]

Entrance of the Parc Cynog wind farm. Photo by lizzie. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Entrance of the Parc Cynog wind farm. Photo by lizzie.
CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Latin America is changing. Uruguay gets 94.5% of its energy from renewable sources, including solar. Costa Rica’s numbers are even higher. Brazil and Paraguay source most of their electricity needs from renewables, mostly hydroelectric power. But it is Chile that is the solar leader. [Latin Correspondent]

¶ Ontario Power Generation has announced its plan upgrade the 3,512-MW Darlington nuclear power station located in Clarington, with an investment of C$12.8 billion (US$9 billion). Work on the project planned to commence in fourth quarter of 2016, to be completed by 2026. [Energy Business Review]

¶ A study says that Russia and the countries of Central Asia could become a highly energy-competitive region by getting all their electricity from renewable sources within the next 15 years. So far, most of the region’s governments appear not to have found the will to realise this huge potential. [The Ecologist]

Photovoltaic power station Kosh-Agachsky District, Russia. Photo: Darya Ashanina via Wikimedia (CC-BY-SA)

Photovoltaic power station Kosh-Agachsky District, Russia.
Photo: Darya Ashanina via Wikimedia (CC-BY-SA)

US:

¶ Panasonic Corporation of North America and the city of Denver, Colorado (and some other local private entities) will be partnering in order to bring various “smart” city technologies and expertise to area residents and visitors, according to a recent press release from Panasonic. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Solar Foundation, an independent nonprofit solar research organization, released its sixth annual National Solar Jobs Census. The new report found that the solar industry employed 208,859 Americans in 2015, up 35,052 solar workers over the previous year, for a 20.2% increase. [solarserver.com]

¶ Siemens has been awarded an order from Westar Energy, Inc. to supply, support install and provide service for 122 wind turbines for the Western Plains Wind Farm project to be located near Spearville, Kansas, approximately 100 miles west of Hutchinson. Operations should start in early 2017. [Power Online]

Siemens wind turbines.

Siemens wind turbines.

¶ FuelCell Energy Inc has announced plans for the installation of a 5.6-MW fuel cell power generation system for Pfizer Inc, a biopharmaceutical company, to provide low-carbon electricity and steam for its 160 acre R&D facility in Groton, Connecticut, according to reports. [RenewablesBiz]

¶ The renewable-energy industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of Vermont’s economy. But as siting of solar and wind projects generates public outcry in the state’s communities, some lawmakers want to give municipalities more control over the fate of projects. [Vermont Public Radio]

¶ SunEdison has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Watervliet, New York for close to 1 MW DC of solar power. The energy will be used in all city-owned buildings, including the City Hall, fire station and library, for an expected saving of about $1 million over 20 years. [PennEnergy]

January 11 Energy News

January 11, 2016

Opinion:

Nuclear power might be safe or cheap, but never safe and cheap • In spite of the problems of corrosive, hot, cancer-causing, deadly waste, the Wisconsin Legislature has been captured by industry lobbyists who love a good yarn like the one about clean, safe, cheap nuclear power. [Madison.com]

 Point Beach nuclear power plant on Lake Michigan.

Point Beach nuclear power plant on Lake Michigan.

8 reasons why building new nuclear power plants is a bad idea • The South African government seems intent on pushing through its plans to build a fleet of new nuclear power stations regardless of mounting public criticism and opposition. Alas, atomic energy remains a poor option. [News24]

World:

¶ Egypt’s feed-in tariff renewable energy program is seen to provide a debt and equity investment opportunity of between $6 billion (€5.5 billion) and $7 billion through 2018, according to investment bank EFG Hermes. The country has a renewables goal of 20% by 2020. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Egypt. Author: Gigi Ibrahim. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Wind farm in Egypt. Author: Gigi Ibrahim. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ Wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon said it has received a 197.40-MW repeat order from a leading Indian renewable energy independent power producer. The order is for 94 wind turbines with rated capacity of 2.1 MW each and will be executed in Andhra Pradesh by February 2017. [BW Businessworld]

¶ Lightsource Renewable Energy connected 23 new sites in the UK in December, totalling more than 100 MW of new capacity. Lightsource plans to connect a further 14 ground-mount sites totalling 92 MW by March 31, bringing its total installed capacity in the UK to 1.3 GW. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Power output from Scottish wind turbines rose to record levels in 2015, producing enough electricity to power 97% of the country’s homes, a report from WWF Scotland suggests. In six out of 12 months, wind supplied more than 100% of Scottish household needs. [Scottish Daily Record]

Pic: PA

Pic: PA

¶ A £1 million project will see the construction of one of the first industrial-scale battery storage facilities in the UK. The joint venture project seeks to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of connecting an energy storage facility at a solar farm to the mains grid. [Energy Matters]

¶ The aging nuclear power plant that provides much of Toronto’s electricity is set to get a new lease on life today. The provincial government and Ontario Power Generation are expected to announce plans Monday afternoon for refurbishing the Darlington nuclear generating station. [CBC.ca]

US:

¶ TXU Energy will soon launch the first electricity plan in Texas backed 100% by solar-generated electricity from within the state, according to a press release from the company. The plan comes soon after the company’s decision to offer high-efficiency rooftop solar options. [CleanTechnica]

Photo by TXU Energy

Photo by TXU Energy

¶ Data compiled from daily reports by California’s major grid manager indicate that in 2015, solar became the No 1 source of renewable energy in the state. Not only did solar beat wind power for the first time, but it also topped drought-depleted hydropower, the long-standing leader. [KQED]

¶ IHS Research updated its solar installation outlook based on the US federal investment tax credit extension. The update increases the projected US solar growth for 2017 from 6-7 GW to 15 GW, but actually decreases the outlook for 2016 to 13 GW, from 17 GW. [CleanTechnica]

Image by SolarCity

Image by SolarCity

¶ An Iowa State University agronomy assistant professor, says perennial grasses can reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change and can be harvested to provide fuel. The plants’ deep roots help hold fertilizers, slow rainfall that causes flooding and feed the soil. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

January 10 Energy News

January 10, 2016

Opinion:

Vermont power line approval big step for Canadian power • The $1.2 billion, privately funded TDI project faced no significant opposition, something unusual for the state. One difference is the entire TDI project, which would power for about 1 million homes, would be invisible. [Rutland Herald]

The Jean-Lesage hydro-electric dam generates power along the Manicouagan River, north of Baie-Comeau, Quebec. AP file photo

The Jean-Lesage hydro-electric dam generates power along the Manicouagan River, north of Baie-Comeau, Quebec. AP file photo

Science and Technology:

¶ One researcher from Portsmouth University in England claims that properly implemented artificial “power islands” could solve the world’s energy crisis. An artificial archipelago of power islands could provide a place for energy to be secured from wind, tides, and the sun. [The Inquisitr]

World:

¶ Scientists and conservationists fear China’s ever-increasing pressure to expand the nuclear power sector means not enough attention is being paid to safety. Within a couple of decades, Hong Kong could be in close proximity to as many as 39 reactors. [South China Morning Post]

The dome of a containment structure is hoisted into position at the Taishan Unit 2 nuclear power plant. Photos: Corbis

The dome of a containment structure is hoisted into position
at the Taishan Unit 2 nuclear power plant. Photos: Corbis

¶ Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai urged Electricity of Viet Nam to develop renewable energy sources including wind and solar power. He made his request at a conference held by EVN to review last year’s electricity sector performance and set goals for this year. [VietNamNet Bridge]

¶ India has taken up a massive energy efficiency mission under which it will switch over to LED bulbs by the end of 2018, which would result in a saving $ 6 billion per annum, says the Union Minister for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy. The plan is to replace 710 million light bulbs. [Indiainfoline]

US:

¶ When the Hoke County commissioners approved plans for a 200-acre solar farm last week, a signal was sent out across the state: North Carolina’s solar boom isn’t over despite the termination of a generous tax credit that sparked rapid growth over the last decade. [Fayetteville Observer]

Solar farm under construction in North Carolina. Photo courtesy Duke Energy

Solar farm construction in North Carolina. Duke Energy photo

¶ California Governor Jerry Brown is back with his plan to cut petroleum use in California in half by 2030, despite its legislative defeat last year by a faction of pro-oil Assembly Democrats heavily influenced by a big money industry campaign. This year things may be different. [Huffington Post]

¶ Two low-income communities will benefit from new solar power projects due to the efforts of Boston Community Capital, with financing from Eastern Bank. They will almost double the solar capacity associated with the Solar Carve-Out II program for affordable housing in Massachusetts. [CleanTechnic]

¶ West Virginia’s four largest electric utilities revealed plans for what the state’s power production might look like over the next 10 years. All four plan to continue reliance on coal, though Appalachian Power would diversify its energy portfolio with more solar and wind energy. [Charleston Gazette-Mail]

The John Amos Power Plant near St. Albans, West Virginia. Chris Dorst | Gazette-Mail file photo

The John Amos Power Plant near St. Albans, West Virginia.
Chris Dorst | Gazette-Mail file photo

¶ The recent Annual Auto Survey from Consumer Reports saw electric cars in the top three positions for owner satisfaction. The Tesla Model S was the most satisfying car for commuting in the survey. It was following closely by the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid and the Nissan LEAF. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Michigan-based NOVI Energy is moving forward with plans to build two anaerobic digester power plants in Sampson County, North Carolina, after county commissioners approved incentives for the facilities. The performance-based incentives would total $522,348 per plant. [BlueRidgeNow.com]

January 9 Energy News

January 9, 2016

Opinion:

Gas Leaks, the Clean Power Plan & Fracking • California Governor Jerry Brown declared a stage of emergency in the affluent Porter Ranch neighborhood in Los Angeles due to a gas leak spewing about 1200 tons of methane per day. The leak began in October. The LA gas leak provides another cautionary tale on fracking. [Huffington Post]

Equipment on a ridge in Southern California Gas Company's vast Aliso Canyon facility, site of the gas leak. Photo by Scott L from Los Angeles, USA. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Equipment on a ridge in Southern California Gas Company’s vast Aliso Canyon facility, site of the gas leak. Photo by Scott L from Los Angeles, USA. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Tesla global communications director said Tesla Powerwalls are already being made and shipped. Two models, 7-kWh and 10-kWh are for residential homeowners, to store extra solar electricity or for backup. The cost for Tesla’s 7-kWh Powerwall is $3,000, while the 10-kWh model is priced at $3500. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Indonesian state-utility firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara is again bumping heads with the government over the country’s renewable energy development, as it holds back $783 million in micro-hydro projects. It has yet to agree to purchasing deals for 114 proposals, which typically produce less than 100 kW. [Jakarta Globe]

¶ The world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, London Array, has set a new record for power generated by an offshore wind farm. December 2015 saw its 175 turbines generate 369,000 MWh of electricity, beating a previous record of 317,000 MWh set last November. The capacity factor for the month was 78.9%. [Windpower Engineering]

Two successive months of offshore wind production from London Array brought net overall output for the year to some 2,500,000 MWh, or enough to meet the needs of more than 600,000 UK households.

The London Array set records. Image from londonarray.com.

¶ Swedish utility Vattenfall said low electricity prices and the country’s nuclear output tax mean its nuclear reactors are operating at a loss. It warns of serious consequences to Sweden’s electricity supply should it be forced to shut down its remaining reactors early. It is already closing two reactors five years ahead of schedule. [World Nuclear News]

US:

¶ Add Sunrun to the list of solar companies ending their Nevada operations in response to a net metering ruling by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. The San Francisco-based company today said it ceased all operations in Nevada, a move resulting in hundreds of job losses. SolarCity is also leaving the state. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Nearly 100,000 solar panels in western Weld County, Colorado, on land equivalent to the size of 48 football fields, have been activated and are generating renewable energy for Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association customers in Northern Colorado. The solar farms will generate enough power annually for 1,300 homes. [BizWest Media]

Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association has brought two new solar farms online. (Courtesy PVREA)

Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association has brought two new solar farms online. (Courtesy PVREA)

¶ Minnesota Power’s Great Transmission Line has cleared an important hurdle. An administrative law judge recommended approval of a route permit for the line, which would bring renewable hydroelectricity from Canada to northeastern Minnesota. The 500-kV, 220-mile line would run to a substation east of Grand Rapids. [Mesabi Daily News]

¶ Tom Vilsack, secretary of the US Department of Agriculture, went to Vermont to announce a $46 million program funded by his agency to support energy efficiency investments in the state. The Vermont Energy Investment Corp will administer the loans to homeowners, small businesses, and towns. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

¶ The partnership between Panasonic Corporation and Tesla is set to continue for the foreseeable future, based on comments recently made by the Panasonic’s president Kazuhiro Tsuga. The company will reportedly be putting up to $1.6 billion into the Gigafactory being developed with the noted EV manufacturer. [CleanTechnica]

Gigafactory by Tesla.

Gigafactory by Tesla.

¶ A report by the US government’s NREL and Berkeley Lab finds a 3.6% reduction in fossil fuel generation and up to $3.9 billion in net savings for electricity customers in 2013, as well as reduced water use and the creation of 200,000 jobs. State-level Renewable Portfolio Standards are important for the benefits. [pv magazine]

¶ EDF Renewable Energy announced that the 150 MW Slate Creek Wind Project in Kansas reached commercial operation on December 29, 2015. The Project, about 50 miles south of Wichita, has 75 Vestas 2-MW wind turbines. The facility will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 55,000 average homes. [PennEnergy]

January 8 Energy News

January 8, 2016

Opinion:

Will we ever see a White Christmas again? • Climate change is like Santa Claus – not everyone believes. Nevertheless, last month wasn’t just the wettest and warmest December on record in the UK, it was the wettest of any month since records began in 1910. Experts say the trend could now be the norm. [Plymouth Herald]

Will we ever see a White Christmas again?

Will we ever see a White Christmas again?

World:

¶ India is likely to have an operational solar power capacity of close to 20 GW by March 2017 if projects under the states’ and central solar power policies go ahead as planned. The solar energy capacity is expected increase four-fold from the current 5 GW during the next fiscal year, which ends in March 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ UK Energy secretary Amber Rudd has admitted new policies will have to be put in place during this Parliament if the UK is to meet its renewables and climate targets. She said she would be working “across government” to deliver new policies for meeting the UK’s 2020 renewables target and fourth carbon budget. [reNews]

¶ German wind power generation jumped from 57.3 TWh in 2014 to 86 TWh in 2015. Renewables met 32.5% of Germany’s power needs last year, up by more than 5 percentage points on 2014. Onshore wind farms produced 39% more year-on-year, while offshore generation surged nearly fivefold. [SeeNews Renewables]

Renewable power generation in Germany 1990-2015. Source: Agora Energiewende

German renewable generation by type. Agora Energiewende image

¶ The vision for energy storage technologies took another step towards becoming reality this week, as AES UK & Ireland announced the UK’s largest battery array is now online. The Kilroot Advancion Energy Storage Array in Northern Ireland was now offering 10 MW of energy storage capacity to the grid. [Business Green]

¶ 2015 was a record year for UK wind power, with both onshore and offshore wind farms supplying enough electricity to meet the needs of 8.25 million homes. National Grid statistics show wind generated a whopping 11% of the UK’s electricity annual demand last year, up from 9.5 percent in 2014. [Energy Matters]

¶ Solar PV electricity generation has surpassed hydro in the UK for the first time in 2015. EnAppSys has revealed the impressive result in a report this week. In the report, it concluded that renewables growth in Britain is causing, “the continued fall in power supply from coal-fired power stations.” [pv magazine]

SolarCentury's Blackfriars Bridge array in London. Solarcentury image

SolarCentury’s Blackfriars Bridge array in London. Solarcentury image

¶ The program to build nine nuclear plants across South Africa has raised a storm of controversy, as environmentalists object to the dangers, and economists decry the costs. And a study published in 2013 by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Center says that they are not even needed. [Fulton News]

US:

¶ A massive report suggests a framework on how the US can get to 100% renewable energy sources by 2050. 100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water and Sunlight all-sector Roadmaps for the 50 United States suggests this is possible even within 35 years and what 100% renewable energy in the US could consist of. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Duke Energy is to build a 17-MW AC solar plant at Naval Support Activity Crane base, 40 miles southwest of Bloomington in Indiana, if granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. It will feature approximately 76,000 solar panels on 145 acres. [reNews]

Image: Duke Energy

Image: Duke Energy

¶ Utah utility regulators rejected PacifiCorp’s bid to shorten contracts with renewable-energy generators from 20 to just three years. The Utah Public Service Commission decided to make the terms 15 years, finding that the balance of policy interests favors a more gradual reduction in contract duration. [Salt Lake Tribune]

¶ Johns Hopkins today announced a new solar project that will produce affordable and reliable solar energy to power to its facilities. The solar project, Johns Hopkins’ first, is located in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland and is expected to offset about 18% of the total energy Johns Hopkins facilities use. [Your Renewable News]

January 6 Energy News

January 6, 2016

World:

¶ If Spain had no wind parks, the average annual price on the electricity market would have been 23.8% higher in 2015, according to the Spanish wind energy association. Wind farms offered the lowest wholesale electricity prices in Spain, at about €46.14 ($49.60) per MWh. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind turbines at work. Author: Nick Cross. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

Wind turbines at work. Author: Nick Cross. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

¶ The Solar Energy Corporation of India and Russian Energy Agency have recently signed a memorandum of understanding to set up large scale solar PV projects in India between 2016 to 2022. Under the terms of the agreement, initially a 500 MW pilot solar PV project will be developed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Earnings of utilities in central and northern Europe will fall about 7% in 2016, hampered by a reliance on coal, gas and nuclear generation. Spanish, Italian and Portuguese power companies, accounting for about 60% of Europe’s total renewable production in 2014, will do better. [Bloomberg]

¶ On January 1, strict rules for construction came into effect in Germany. Heating new buildings without using renewable energy is no longer permitted. Oil heaters cannot be used at all anymore. A new primary energy requirement that is 25% lower than the previous threshold. [Sun & Wind Energy]

Heating systems that use fossil fuels - even condensing boilers - will have a hard time complying to new regulations in Germany. (Photo: dpa)

Heating systems that use fossil fuels will have a hard time complying to new regulations in Germany. (Photo: dpa)

¶ French renewable power plants operator Voltalia is developing a wind power cluster in Brazil with an anticipated capacity of around 1.2 GW. A 52-km transmission line with a 400-MVA capacity will be used to transfer the power generated at the cluster to the national grid. [CleanTechnology News]

¶ Western Australia would not be able to privatize its electricity assets even if they were given away, because the popularity of rooftop solar panels has made state-owned power stations unprofitable, a renewable energy expert has said. The grid is over capacity and solar power is growing. [The Guardian]

¶ Last month, journalist Adrian Levy, working for the Centre for Public Integrity in Washington, reported that a “secret nuclear facility” was being created at Challakere amid concerns over safety from some of the local population. Now, scientists have confirmed the report. [The Indian Express]

US:

¶ EDF Renewable Energy said on Tuesday that its 250-MW Roosevelt wind farm in New Mexico has reached commercial operation in mid-December. The plant is now selling electricity to a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, under a 20-year fixed-price power purchase agreement. [SeeNews Renewables]

Author: MK Group. License: All rights reserved.

Author: MK Group. License: All rights reserved.

¶ Tesla just busted through the 50,000/year sales barrier, as it projected it would; Model X production is ramping up exponentially; and the company is now bringing in well over $1 billion a quarter in revenue. Everything seems to be moving along as planned at Tesla Motors. [CleanTechnica]

¶ SolarCity is no longer selling renewable energy in Nevada, after the Public Utilities Commissions decision on December 22 to increase rates for solar energy. Those rates took effect on January 1, and SolarCity announced it would close its Nevada training center on January 5. [KTNV Las Vegas]

¶ The Long Island Offshore Wind Project is designed to generate 350 MW with the possibility to expand to 700 MW. This wind facility operating at half its capacity would generate enough energy for about 112,000 homes. Its developers continue to move it through the permitting process. [Long Island Report]

Offshore wind farm

Offshore wind farm

¶ Vermont regulators granted permission for a 154-mile power transmission line, known as the New England Clean Power Link, designed to bring hydroelectric power from Canada to southern New England. The power line, which has not yet received federal approval, uses Vermont as a corridor. [Vermont Public Radio]

¶ Silicon Valley Power, the municipal electric utility in Santa Clara, California, will become a coal-free utility on December 31, 2017, when it ends electricity imports from a New Mexico coal-fired power plant. SVP will replace the power with cleaner energy from renewable and natural gas. [Solar Industry]

¶ The 300-MW Kingfisher wind project in central Oklahoma has started commercial operations, according to Florida-based Gulf Power. Apex Clean Energy oversaw construction and will operate the $452 million wind farm. Vestas supplied 149 V100 2-MW turbines and will provide service for 10 years. [reNews]

Vestas V100 wind turbines. Credit: Vestas

Vestas V100 wind turbines. Credit: Vestas

¶ Environmentalists are expressing disappointment in the new Clean Power Plan Advisory Council that Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced on January 5. The 27-member body includes 17 people either directly tied to the coal-fired energy sector or supportive of it. [MTPR]

January 5 Energy News

January 5, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Thousands of power plants around the world may face severe reductions in their ability to generate electricity by mid-century due to water shortages, new research published in Nature says. Hydro-electric, nuclear, coal, gas, and biomass-fueled power plants are vulnerable to dwindling water supplies. [The Guardian]

The Itaipu hydroelectric dam on the Parana River, Brazil border. Most hydro-plants are in regions forecast to see water shortages. Photograph: Norberto Duarte / AFP / Getty Images

The Itaipu hydroelectric dam on the Parana River, Brazil border. Most hydro-plants are in regions forecast to see water shortages. Photograph: Norberto Duarte / AFP / Getty Images

World:

¶ Russia is touting nuclear power as a way to cut carbon emissions, but a study from Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology says Eurasia as a whole would be better served by a less expensive, less risky renewable energy “super-grid,” that relies on wind power even over battery storage. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UK’s government has repeatedly cited official forecasts of rising energy costs to justify cuts to subsidies for renewables, saying consumer bills need to be kept under control. But government emails show a different story. Energy bills would be nearly £100 lower in 2020, despite higher subsidies. [Carbon Brief]

¶ Carnegie Wave Energy has turned on a wave power station it developed in Western Australia and it has been feeding electricity into the local grid. The technology uses underwater buoys that power pumps as waves move them, to push water through a pipeline. This drives a turbine to generate electricity. [CleanTechnica]

Image Credit: Carnegie Wave Technology

Image Credit: Carnegie Wave Technology

¶ Since a specialized recycling facility was opened in 2010 near Cumbernauld, Scotland, food waste from many sources has been processed and converted into energy for the National Grid. In less than five years 15.5 GWh have been generated, producing for annual needs of 2,000 homes. [Engineer Live]

¶ German energy giant E·ON has separated its fossil fuel assets into a new company, dubbed Uniper. The move became effective on January 1st. The energy company focus on renewables, energy networks, and energy efficiency services, as the independent Uniper will assume fossil fuel and hydro assets. [EurActiv]

¶ LWP Property Group, an Australian property developer, has commissioned an $1.1 million (Aus) study to see if 7,500 new homes can run entirely off-grid. Huntlee, a new township planned in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, could soon become Australia’s first off-grid town. [Greentech Media]

Photo Credit: LWP Property Group

Photo Credit: LWP Property Group

¶ Rooftop solar is now Western Australia’s “biggest power station,” consisting of many thousands of households and businesses with solar panels installed. Figures published by Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator current show more than 192,000 solar power systems installed throughout the state. [Energy Matters]

¶ Enel Green Power has connected to the grid the first 20 MW of its 97-MW Carrera Pinto solar plant in Atacama in Chile. The remaining 77 MW are expected to be completed and enter into service by the second half of 2016. EGP is investing approximately $180 million in the construction of Carrera Pinto. [reNews]

US:

¶ A natural gas leak in California is a problem for the industry, and so is the latest news from Oklahoma, which has been dealing with its own natural gas issues in the form of unprecedented swarms of earthquakes. Just last Tuesday a big one hit the town of Edmund, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale. [CleanTechnica]

Image: via US Geological Survey.

Image: via US Geological Survey.

¶ The US justice department is suing Volkswagen over the emissions scandal that saw the German car giant fit software in millions of cars to cheat emissions tests. VW has set aside €6.7 billion to cover costs worldwide, but experts say the final costs are likely to be much higher than that. [BBC]

January 4 Energy News

January 4, 2016

World:

¶ The development of wind energy projects in Lennox and Addington County could move forward in 2016 as Ontario seeks to bolster its supply of renewable energy. Proposals from three different companies could see major wind energy projects built at both ends of the county. [The Kingston Whig-Standard]

Wind energy projects in Lennox and Addington County could move forward in 2016. (Whig-Standard file photo)

Wind energy projects in Lennox and Addington County could move forward in 2016. (Whig-Standard file photo)

¶ Qinghai Electric Power, the sub-company of China’s State Grid Corporation, aims to install 7.1 GW of renewable energy in 2016. The majority of the new capacity will be solar PV. Qinghai province’s cumulative capacity of 6 GW, 5.6 GW of which is ground-mounted solar PV, the rest being wind. [pv magazine]

¶ The Irish wind industry launched a publicity campaign to highlight its potential to replace fossil fuels. The Irish Wind Energy Association worked with Rothco to created “Power To Power Ourselves,” a campaign showcasing Ireland’s natural resources for reducing its 85% reliance on energy imports. [reNews]

Image: a 3.6MW GE turbine at Arklow Bank in Ireland (NREL)

Image: a 3.6MW GE turbine at Arklow Bank in Ireland (NREL)

¶ Battery storage for domestic applications is relatively common in Germany as a result of government incentives. The rationale was not to encourage PV take-up but to smooth out the spikes in electricity flooding its national grid; on some days, the grid can be stressed by excess power from renewables. [CM]

¶ While renewable energy includes wind, biofuels and hydropower, the main winner for this year has been solar energy. And the main regional winner has been the UAE. After a consortium submitted bids for 100 MW, Dewa announced that it would award the consortium 200 MW at 5.84¢/kWh (US). [The National]

Dewa has ramped up the capacity of Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park to 5,000 MW. Courtesy Dewa

Dewa has ramped up the capacity of Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park to 5,000 MW. Courtesy Dewa

¶ Zimbabwe’s main hydroelectric power plant at Kariba is failing, forcing the nation to turn to dirtier fossil fuel-based energies to make up for the deficit. The Kariba Hydropower Station has operated at just 63% percent of capacity since early October when the Kariba dam began to dry up. [AllAfrica.com]

¶ Dong Energy, the biggest operator of offshore windfarms in Britain, has said it plans to spend a further £6 billion in the UK by 2020, convinced that the government is serious about supporting wind power. Vattenfall, another significant UK windfarm operator, says it too is optimistic about conditions in 2016. [The Guardian]

Offshore wind turbines off Skegness in Lincolnshire, UK. Photograph: Alamy

Offshore wind turbines off Skegness in Lincolnshire, UK. Photograph: Alamy

US:

¶ Discarded Christmas trees are being collected at trash centers across Beaufort County, South Carolina, and when the bins are full, crews from a local logging company haul them away. The trees are ground up and burned to make steam for industrial purposes or to create electricity at power plants. [Island Packet]

¶ Wärtsilä will supply a 47-MW Smart Power Generation power plant to Rochester Public Utilities in Minnesota. Five Wärtsilä 34SG natural gas engines will replace aged coal and gas turbine-based capacity. Efficiency will be nearly doubled, and hourly carbon emissions are reduced by 50%. [Industrial PRIME]

Wärtsilä 34SG engines at Pearsall Power Plant, located in Texas (Image: Wärtsilä)

Wärtsilä 34SG engines at Pearsall Power Plant, located in Texas (Image: Wärtsilä)

¶ Leases the Diablo Canyon need to get cooling water expire in 2018 and 2019. They asked the State Lands Commission, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Newsom, to have the leases renewed, casting the move as a simple administrative step. But he wants a full environmental impact review. [San Francisco Chronicle]

January 3 Energy News

January 3, 2016

Opinion:

What’s Ahead for Climate Change in 2016? • This year will kick off with a sense of optimism about climate change after the success of the Paris climate talks in December. Here is a set of projections for what lies ahead in 2016, including the possibility of both low oil prices and declining emissions. [Discovery News]

Lightning strikes may increase by about 12% for every degree Celsius gained. Axel Rouvin via Wikimedia Commons

Lightning strikes may increase by about 12% for every degree Celsius gained. Axel Rouvin via Wikimedia Commons

World:

¶ In 2014, the government of India upped the 2022 target of the national solar mission to 100 GW, from the earlier 20 GW. And at COP21, Prime Minister Modi said that India will produce 175 GW from non-fossil sources by 2022. By 2030, 40% of India’s electricity will be renewably generated. [DEALSTREETASIA]

¶ A major EU-funded home-energy project called RealValue has been set up by an Irish consortium led by billion-euro business Glen Dimplex.Exactly 1,250 homes in Ireland, Germany and Latvia will have cutting-edge Glen Dimplex electrical storage systems installed in them as part of the project. [Irish Independent]

¶ WindStream Energy Technologies (India) Private limited, in collaboration with the US company, has started assembling small vertical turbines with imported parts in Hyderabad. The silent turbines can be installed on any rooftop along with solar panels, to produce a hybrid home energy system. [The Hindu]

Hybrid renewable power generation using solar panels and wind turbines. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Hybrid renewable home power generation using solar panels and wind turbines. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

¶ Tamil Nadu, is India’s leader in energy production using biomass fuel, with 200 MW capacity, mostly from sugar molasses as fuel. The state now houses a unique 400-kW plant on a quarter-acre spread at Mahindra World City that runs on food waste.The bio-CNG plant can process 10 tonnes of food waste every day. [Times of India]

¶ India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, said that around 18,500 villages would be electrified in 1,000 days. Now, the Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, has said he is confident of achieving the target in around 730 days. [CanIndia News]

¶ A City financier supporting a proposed power cable between Iceland and Britain is launching a new venture to build several more links to electricity sources across Europe. Global Interconnection Group is set up to explore trading electricity among the UK and the Channel Islands, Ireland and France. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Nacelle in an Irish wind farm. Photo by Peter Giesbrecht. CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons

Nacelle in an Irish wind farm. Photo by Peter Giesbrecht. CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons

¶ Uranium prices are expected to outperform other commodities in 2016 and beyond as a global climate change deal and growing demand from Asia bolster the prospects of the nuclear industry. The metal has been gradually recovering from a sharp decline in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima Disaster. [Business Recorder]

US:

¶ Renewables were up to 13.6% of US electricity generation in October, and 13.2% for the year through November. Unfortunately, that’s slightly down from 13.3% in 2014 for the same period, due to a significant drop in hydroelectric generation and a significant rise in natural gas electricity generation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Maine Public Utilities Commission is refusing to release a set of energy-pricing forecasts that are at the center of allegations that it improperly scuttled a wind power contract. The PUC said it considers the forecasts a “trade secret” of the firm that generated them and will not release them. [Press Herald]

The Mars Hill Wind Farm in Maine has 28 GE Energy 1.5 MW wind turbines. Photo by Michael Surran. CC BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons.

The Mars Hill Wind Farm in Maine has 28 GE 1.5-MW wind turbines. Photo by Michael Surran. CC BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Five proposed 20-MW solar projects would boost the amount of renewable power generated in Vermont, but the credit for the solar power is worth far more in other states, a recent analysis found. That means the renewable energy credits will most likely be sold elsewhere. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

¶ Mary Powell has guided Green Mountain Power as president and CEO, while its industry undergoes massive disruption. For her impact on the power industry and Vermont’s energy future, and for courageously promoting breast cancer awareness, she is the 2015 Vermonter of the Year. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

January 2 Energy News

January 2, 2016

Opinion:

A Green Revolution Starts with Partnerships • A lot of proposals have been put forth on how to jump-start a green world economy. And history has proved that public-private partnerships don’t just increase access to funding for startups, but they also incentivize dialogue, cooperation and new ideas. [Triple Pundit]

Image: Floris Oosterveld

Image: Floris Oosterveld

Renewables riding momentum into 2016 • The worldwide move toward cleaner energy continued to gain momentum in 2015. Actions at the state, national and international level are all sending an undeniable message that the rise of clean energy is here to stay. Montana is an exception. [The Bozeman Daily Chronicle]

Government takes backward view over renewable energy • In the aftermath of the UN Paris Climate Conference, it is extraordinarily sad that, in the face of the threat of significant climate change, the UK’s Government is showing such poverty of ambition about renewable energy sources. [shropshirestar.com]

Turbines in a windfarm

Turbines in a windfarm

World:

¶ The electricity provision of Sri Lanka will reach 100% by January 31, Power and Renewable Energy Ministry sources said. The target would be achieved through a program bringing electricity to 200,000 households of low income earners who cannot afford electricity. [The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka]

¶ Wind and solar power are set for a construction boom in spite of a glut of cheap fossil fuels. Orders for 2016 solar and wind are up sharply, from the United States to China to the developing economies of Africa and Latin America, all in defiance of stubbornly low prices for coal and natural gas. [Dallas Morning News]

Photovoltaic power panels stand at Abaste's El Bonillo Solar Plant while wind turbines spin at a wind farm on the background in El Bonillo, Albacete province, Spain.

Photovoltaic power panels stand at Abaste’s El Bonillo Solar Plant while wind turbines spin at a wind farm on the background.

¶ The past year has been a good one for renewable microgrids. There has been significant growth in the deployment, implementation and interest in renewable microgrids globally. Importantly, this growth seems set to continue into 2016.The regions with the fastest growth are North America and Asia. [Energy Collective]

¶ This month, the government of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh government will float global tenders to select a developer for a 750-MW solar power station. Spread over nearly 1,500 hectares and start generating power by 2017, it will be the world’s largest solar power plant at a single location. [Hindustan Times]

Photo for representation

Photo for representation

US:

¶ In Oregon, the Eugene Water & Electric Board, preparing for a major shift in how it will serve customers, is developing small microgrids as a two-year test project. The project will test how electricity from solar panels and stored in large batteries can keep vital systems operating in emergencies. [The Register-Guard]

¶ Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon plant, located in California on the Pacific coastline in San Luis Obispo County, will have its original 40-year federal licenses for the plant’s two units expire in 2024 and 2025. PG&E has been dithering over whether to pursue license extensions for the plant. [Los Angeles Times]

PG&E’S Diablo Canyon nuclear plant on the San Luis Obispo County coast is three miles from a quake fault. (Michael A. Mariant / AP)

PG&E’S Diablo Canyon nuclear plant on the San Luis Obispo County coast is three miles from a quake fault. (Michael A. Mariant / AP)

¶ Pennsylvania is widely considered to have one of the most advanced markets for electric retailers, with a nationwide retail market study in July ranking the Commonwealth second only to Texas. Pennsylvania deregulated power generation in the 1990s, but there are still hiccups in the system. [PowerSource]

¶ In Colorado, Boulder County’s government mandated that licensed cannabis growers use 100% renewable energy starting in 2015. Most growers were unable to meet that requirement, so the county created an alternative, a fund growers pay into, largely used to educate growers on energy usage. [Al Jazeera America]

January 1 Energy News

January 1, 2016

Opinion:

Paris Fails to Revive the Nuclear Dream • At COP21, nuclear advocates made pitches on climate change, but analysis of the plans of 195 governments that signed the Paris agreement, each with its own plans to reduce national carbon emissions, show that nearly all of them exclude nuclear power. [EcoWatch]

Reactor at Qinshan: Many experts doubt that China can go far to meeting its needs with nuclear power. Photo credit: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

Reactor at Qinshan: Many experts doubt that China can go far to meeting its needs with nuclear power. Photo credit: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

Science and Technology:

¶ Dr Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, recently tweeted some charts about CO2 and global temperatures. They tell a compelling story. Climate change has not slowed down; it has been unrelenting. The result, unless we act vigorously, is disaster on many fronts. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ In normal times, a months-long slide in energy prices would be enough to rattle a man who makes wind turbines for a living. Yet amid a worldwide glut of cheap fossil fuels, Vestas Wind Systems posted record gains and inked major deals to build wind farms in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

¶ More than 200 winning solar power projects, with 800 MW of total capacity, have been announced by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. The tariff for large rooftop solar projects is €129/MWh with €124/MWh for ground-mounted solar installations. [CleanTechnica]

Image: Laurent Joffre, Wiki Commons

Image: Laurent Joffre, Wiki Commons

¶ There are plans for nearly 10 GW of capacity to be added in the UAE by 2021. At least 7% of the nation’s total power generation will come from renewable sources by 2020. Some coal-fired generation is also being added. The largest addition to the mix is expected to be four APR 1400 nuclear units. [POWER magazine]

¶ In China, the ruling Communist party is now taking air quality measures very seriously in the wake of the Paris climate talks and growing public awareness. This is a big business opportunity for IBM and Microsoft, both of which have contracts to develop systems for predicting smog problems. [Hexa News]

US:

¶ Developers say solar technology has finally come of age in Idaho, resulting in a shift away from wind turbines in their renewable-energy project applications. This is thanks to a roughly 200% decline in the price of the technology during the past five years and a demand-based change in state policy. [Capital Press]

Courtesy of SunEdison, a 25-MW solar power project near Tucson.

Courtesy of SunEdison, a 25-MW solar power project near Tucson.

¶ The need for new business models is a pressing issue on the minds of utility industry stakeholders. In DNV GL’s second annual Utility of the Future Survey, a third of respondents cited the need to find new business models as the most significant challenge facing the industry over the next five years. [POWER magazine]

¶ In December, the New Jersey Senate passed legislation to require an increase in the percentage of the state’s energy coming from renewables, such as solar and wind, every five years. The portion would reach 80% by 2050. The bill must be posted by January 11, however, or the effort will be for naught. [NJ.com]

A bill has cleared the N.J. Senate that mandates 80% of the state's energy comes from renewable sources by 2050. (Andre Chung/MCT)

A bill has cleared the N.J. Senate that mandates 80% of the state’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2050. (Andre Chung/MCT)

¶ Hawaii’s State Energy Office has released a report on the state’s progress on clean energy. Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative was established in 2008, the state has surpassed all RPS mandates well ahead of time. The target for 2015, 15%, was reached in 2013. In 2014, renewables provided 21.1%. [Biomass Magazine]

¶ An NRC investigation found contractors at Waterford 3 nuclear power plant failed to perform fire inspections and falsified records for at least 10 months to show the inspections occurred. One contract worker admitted to sleeping instead of performing an inspection, but records say it was done. [St. Charles Herald Guide]

December 31 Energy News

December 31, 2015

World:

¶ The new energy policy of Chile targets 70% of power to come from renewable sources by 2050. The new national plan Energy 2050 is aimed at reducing energy blackouts. It will allow Chileans access to electricity and ensure that 70% of Chile’s energy supply comes from renewable sources by 2050. [Greentech Lead]

Solar, wind, sheep

Solar, wind, sheep

¶ A fully renewable energy system is achievable and economically viable in Russia and Central Asia in 2030. Researchers from Lappeenranta University of Technology modelled a renewable energy system for Russia and Central Asia. Results show that renewable energy is the cheapest local option. [Eurasia Review]

¶ Nova Scotia Power is stabilizing electricity prices at the same time it performs the most rapid transition to renewable energy in Canada. It has gone from generating nine per cent of electricity from renewable sources in 2007 to more than 25% in 2015, and will reach or exceed 40% by 2020. [The News]

¶ India’s Union cabinet has decided to provide ₹5,000 crore ($756 million) for solar rooftops in the next five years. The new scheme, providing capital subsidies of 30% to 70% depending on which state the installation is in, could potentially revolutionize decentralised energy generation in India. [Hindustan Times]

The decision to approve a new subsidy for rooftop solar power generation is a major leap towards a clean energy future. (HT File Photo)

The decision to approve a new subsidy for rooftop solar power generation is a major leap towards a clean energy future. (HT File Photo)

¶ More than a thousand Chinese coal mines will be shut down next year, removing 60 million metric tons of capacity, as the country fights air pollution from coal. China is on track to produce 3.58 billion tons of coal this year, down 0.5% from 2014, according to the National Environmental Agency. [Waltonian]

¶ Peak wind power production in Portugal hit 4,211 MW at 0215 local time on Monday, surpassing for the first time national electricity consumption, according to figures by power utility Redes Energeticas Nacionais. This was 80 MW more than the record set in January, 2015. [SeeNews Renewables]

US:

¶ Battery storage is already showing itself as a hotly contested race in the US, even before the 2016 expected retail launch of the Tesla Powerwall. This storage race has been fueled by German-based Sonnenbatterie launching its plug-and-play home battery system in the US prior to Christmas. [CleanTechnica]

Image via Sonnenbatterie

Image via Sonnenbatterie

¶ The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has granted an application from Energy Resources USA Inc for a three-year preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the proposed Lock and Dam No. 22 Hydroelectric Project, on the Mississippi River, near the City of Hannibal, Missouri. [HydroWorld]

¶ Millions of dead trees in California create a risks of wildfire. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency that will require utilities, power plants and state agencies to work together. Nevertheless, several biomass plants have been idled because they cannot compete with solar and wind. [Capital Public Radio News]

The 18 MW Buena Vista Biomass Power facility in Ione, CA turns forest debris into energy. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The 18 MW Buena Vista Biomass Power facility in Ione, CA turns forest debris into energy. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

¶ GOP leaders in the Wisconsin Legislature are moving to eliminate restrictions on nuclear power that were enacted after the 1979 meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania focused public attention on the potentially dire consequences of accidental releases of radioactive material. [Chippewa Herald]

December 30 Energy News

December 30, 2015

Opinion:

Should we solar panel the Sahara desert? • Could one solution to climate change be to harvest the power of sunlight where it shines brightest on the planet? Should we solar panel the Sahara desert? Four experts with four points of view discuss the radical proposal with the BBC World Service Inquiry program. [BBC News]

Rows of curved mirrors capture solar energy at the Ouarzazate plant in Morocco

Rows of curved mirrors capture solar energy at the Ouarzazate plant in Morocco

Martin Luther King III: How the polluter-backed National Black Chamber misleads minorities • The National Black Chamber of Commerce has been warning communities of color that the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan will cause job losses and generate higher energy bills. Neither is true. [Washington Post]

World:

¶ Wind will be the energy source for two of Volkswagen’s factories in Mexico. That is, if all goes through as planned. Spanish turbine maker Gamesa agreed last week to build a 130 MW wind farm to power these two VW sites. Is this part of Volkswagen’s comeback after the diesel scandal? [CleanTechnica]

¶ Propelling a global boost in renewable energy, Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator has reported small-scale rooftop solar totaled 4.59 GW in 2015. As reported by pv-magazine, data released by the Clean Energy Regulator shows 119,000 new small-scale PV installations have been built in 2015. [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop solar panels via Shutterstock

Rooftop solar panels via Shutterstock

¶ As 2015 draws to a close, an academic from Berlin’s Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft compiled data showing that around one-third of Germany’s electricity was supplied by renewable sources in 2015. It shows they supplied 194 TWh of electricity, 32.5% of a total gross consumption. [pv magazine]

¶ Record-low coal prices and increased wind and solar generation that pushed European power prices to their lowest in a decade may cause further declines in 2016. Average day-ahead electricity prices in Germany, Europe’s biggest market, fell 3.2% to €31.70 ($34.65) per MWh in 2015 [Energy Voice]

¶ The total installed capacity of solar PV in Scotland reached 179 MW in 2015, a rise of 28% since last year. Analysis of updated feed-in tariff installation figures from Ofgem for December 2015 showed over 40,000 homes and 850 business premises in Scotland now have solar PV arrays fitted. [reNews]

Scottish PV array near Arbroath (British Solar Renewables)

Scottish PV array near Arbroath (British Solar Renewables)

¶ China, the world’s biggest clean energy investor, plans to increase wind and solar power capacity by more than 21% next year as it works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting its reliance on coal. The nation is targeting at least 20 GW of new wind power installations and 15 GW of solar. [Bloomberg]

¶ According to the director of the Energy Initiative at the University of Queensland, developing countries are looking at nuclear energy for base-load power with low carbon emissions. Professor Chris Greig says nuclear is a zero emissions power source despite its being supplied by fossil fuels. [ABC Online]

¶ Siemens has been awarded orders for three onshore wind projects in Scotland, supplying up to 50,000 households in South and North Ayrshire and Lockerbie. Siemens will install 57 wind turbines in total, with the contracts also including long-term service and maintenance. [Renewable Energy Focus]

Siemens SWT-3.2-101 model (Image courtesy of Siemens AG).

Siemens SWT-3.2-101 model (Image courtesy of Siemens AG).

¶ The Roman Catholic Church in South Africa urged the government Tuesday to suspend its nuclear power procurement plans until a referendum on the issue is held., saying in a statement the risks of adding nuclear energy to the national grid outweigh any economic benefits. [International Business Times]

¶ After 44 years of generating electricity reactor one at Wylfa power station on Anglesey shuts down today. It is the world’s biggest Magnox nuclear power station. Originally scheduled for shutdown in 2010 the reactor continued to produce energy for an additional five years but now its term has ended. [WalesOnline]

US:

¶ The State of California Natural Resources Agency funded a report examining renewable energy development and restoration strategies for the drought-threatened Salton Sea, a saline lake in the Imperial Valley. The report estimates the area has more than 1,800 MW of geothermal potential. [Utility Dive]

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Image Credit: Wikipedia

¶ The US installed 4.378 GW of wind power and 1.495 GW of solar power capacity in January-November 2015, boosting its cumulative non-hydro renewables capacity to 104.3 GW. Renewable power plants in the US, excluding hydroelectric, account for 8.95% of the total power mix. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Utility-scale solar is reaching “grid parity” (ie, cost equivalency) with traditional generation in more areas across the country. And solar received a major boost when the federal tax incentive was recently extended through 2021. The result is that utility-scale solar can expect a sunny future. [Energy Collective]

 

December 26 Energy News

December 26, 2015

Opinion:

Fossil fuels are all but finished: Renewable energies are the future, whether the GOP acknowledges it or not • 2015 can be viewed as the year in which an epochal transition in energy took off. With renewables making significant strides, the beginning of the end of the Fossil Fuel Era has come into sight. [Salon]

All but finished. Shutterstock

All but finished. Shutterstock

Bigger than Keystone – Lawmakers need to take up the cause of the Grain Belt transmission project • Build the Grain Belt Express! That should be the new rallying cry for members of Congress from Kansas and the message from Kansas lawmakers to their counterparts in neighboring Missouri. [Hutchinson News]

Book Review:

Book Review by Ralph Nader • In January of 2016, David Freeman and Leah Y Parks will publish an important book about energy and climate change: All-Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future. The book is scathing but optimistic, and manages to be bold while remaining pragmatic. [Eurasia Review]

World:

¶ Lack of clarity on policy governing privately-owned renewable energy-based mini-grids is preventing investors from expanding their network in the hinterlands of north India. One company that is unsure about its investment operates over 70 minigrids, each with a 25 kW biomass power plant. [Financial Express]

Husk Power Systems operates over 70 mini-grids. Its investment could suffer if the state government decides to install centralized grids in the areas of its operations. (Reuters)

Husk Power Systems’ investment could suffer if the state government decides to install centralized grids in the areas of its operations. (Reuters)

¶ Fortum is starting a wind farm project in Ulyanovsk, Russia with a total capacity of 35 MW. Its investment is approximately €65 million. The wind farm should start production in 2017. The generation capacity receives guaranteed payments for 15 years in order to ensure sufficient return on investment. [Windtech International]

¶ Airports around the world have been installing renewable energy systems, some of which are very innovative. While one airport is running entirely on solar energy, floor tile tech may one day power all of Heathrow just by being walked upon. Airplanes are being filled up on with biofuel, and there is more. [Road Warrior Voices]

Screenshot: PaveGen, YouTube

Screenshot: PaveGen, YouTube

¶ Tokyo Electric Power Co has unexpectedly been forced to deal with an increasingly large amount radioactive water accumulating at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after seaside walls to block the flow of contaminated groundwater from flowing into sea were constructed in October. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Hydropower plants have operated on five of the 23 locks and dams on the three major rivers in the Army Corps of Engineers’ Pittsburgh District since the 1980s. Right now, 13 hydropower projects at some stage of federal permitting review. If all are built, they would have a combined capacity of 212 MW. [PowerSource]

Locks and dams sit on the Monongahela River near Braddock. Bill Wade / Post-Gazette

Locks and dams on the Monongahela River. Bill Wade / Post-Gazette

¶ New York climbed the solar charts and witnessed the largest wind power purchase agreement in its history. It has put in place nation-leading policies, creating good jobs, saving consumers money on energy, helping our kids breathe cleaner air, and mitigating the serious impacts of climate change. [Energy Collective]

¶ Already among the two-dozen states suing to overturn new power plant emission rules, North Carolina is picking a separate fight with the Environmental Protection Agency by adopting a plan for compliance the agency is likely to reject.State officials hope that will create a shortcut to a federal appeals court. [WTVD-TV]

The coal-fired Plant Scherer is shown in operation early Sunday, June 1, 2014, in Juliette, Ga. AP

The coal-fired Plant Scherer in Juliette, Ga. AP

¶ The NRC is still reviewing plans for addressing concrete degradation at the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire. It has said it will not act on the license extension until it is convinced the power plant’s owner has developed a satisfactory long-term plan for the problem. [The Daily News of Newburyport]