Posts Tagged ‘renewable power’

June 28 Energy News

June 28, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Ceding US Leadership in Advanced Energy Is a National Security Risk, Says Military Advisory Board” • A report from CNA’s Military Advisory Board advises, “As new energy options emerge to meet global demand, nations that lead stand to gain; should the US sit on the sidelines, it does so at considerable risk to our national security.” [New Security Beat]

Solar hot water tubes on display (Image: Jim Girardi |Flickr)

¶ “Mayors can outpace national leaders in fight against climate change” • Through the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, more than 7,400 cities worldwide have united in a coordinated effort to address the causes and impacts of climate change. These cities have pledged to meet ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions. [CNN]

¶ “Perry’s claims about reliability of renewables immediately debunked by regulator” • Energy Secretary Rick Perry addressed an energy conference, saying the Obama’s hostility to coal in favor of renewable energy threatens grid reliability. The next speaker, one of the nation’s top grid regulators, immediately debunked him. [RenewEconomy]

Rick Perry speaks at the 2017 EIA energy conference

Science and Technology:

¶ Ultra-thin, flexible screen-printed batteries for cheap portable devices and intermittent renewable energy are closer to reality, due to a joint project of two Australian universities to develop technology by battery energy storage firm Printed Energy. The solid state batteries are printed in a roll-to-roll process like a newspaper. [Manufacturers’ Monthly]

¶ Team Fast, a spin-off company from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, has found a way formic acid can efficiently carry the ingredients needed for hydrogen fuel cells, used to power electric vehicles. The fuel is a liquid, which means you can transport it easily and refill vehicles quickly, just as with conventional fuels. [BBC]

Fuel trailer on the back of the bus (Team Fast image)

World:

¶ The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh targets 10.7 GW of solar power by 2022, with 4.3 GW from rooftop, under its draft “Solar Power Policy 2017.” Earlier, Indian energy minister Piyush Goyal challenged Germany to a race between Munich and Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh, to be the first large city to be 100% powered by clean energy. [PV-Tech]

¶ The Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has unveiled the first action plan of the 2030 Energy Policy. According to the MENR’s document, large-scale solar, which was an option that was never seriously considered by the local government to date, will now become part of the province’s energy mix. [pv magazine]

Quebec (Photo: Max Lagace)

¶ A new 100 MW National Solar Park Program has been launched in Cambodia with the aid of the Asian Development Bank. The program is being set up by Electricite Du Cambodge and will focus on delivering 100 MW of PV capacity to the southeast Asian country in two phases of 30 MW and 70 MW respectively. [pv magazine]

¶ The worldwide delivery service UPS announced greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and future additions of more alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles to its global fleet. The company plans to generate 25% of its electricity from renewables and reduce emissions from its worldwide ground operations 12% by 2025. [Triple Pundit]

UPS electric van in London (Image: kenjonbro | Flickr)

¶ Three former TEPCO executives are set to stand trial this week on the only criminal charges laid in connection to the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, as thousands remain unable to return to their homes near the shuttered facility. This comes a little over a year after they were charged with criminal negligence. [The Japan Times]

¶ New figures show that Northern Ireland generates nearly a quarter of its electricity needs from onshore wind energy sources, and its capacity has now passed the 1-GW mark. The figures are courtesy of the Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group which represents the Northern Ireland renewable energy industry. [CleanTechnica]

Corkey wind farm (Albert Bridge, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ This year Minnesota is becoming not only a regional solar leader but a national one, with 203 MW-DC installed in the first quarter alone, largely due to a robust community solar sector. And now, Enel Green Power officially put 16 individual solar plants online, which make up the 150 MW-DC Aurora solar project. [pv magazine]

¶ NAVYA ARMA, the French maker of autonomous shuttles, announced that its first assembly plant outside Europe will be in Michigan. The state has already publicly backed autonomous vehicles on its roads with Governor Rick Snyder, who signed driverless vehicles legislation to be tested in the state, seeking to make it a global leader. [CleanTechnica]

NAVYA ARMA autonomous shuttle

¶ The University of California, Merced’s precedent-setting Triple Zero Commitment aims for 2020 include zero net energy use, the creation of zero net landfill waste, and climate neutrality on campus. The university is working with SunPower Corp to install a 5-MW solar power system with a 500-kW energy storage solution from Stem. [Power Online]

¶ A senior radiation protection technician at the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant deliberately falsified safety records and failed to check workers for radiation exposure for eight months last year, according to the NRC. The NRC said the Entergy Nuclear technician failed to test employees for radiation exposure. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]

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June 27 Energy News

June 27, 2017

World:

¶ Based on the industries the Great Barrier Reef supports, both directly and indirectly, consultants at Deloitte have estimated its total value at $42.4 billion (A$56 billion). Deloitte hopes that putting a monetary value on the reef will influence decision making on climate change, which has left it severely damaged, especially in the last year. [CNN]

Great Barrier Reef

¶ Thirteen industry leaders and associations from across Europe launched the new “Make Power Clean” initiative, aiming to promote a clean European electricity market. One specific goal is to ensure that only those energy technologies considered “clean” are eligible to receive public support in the form of capacity mechanisms. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dong Energy has officially opened its 582-MW Gode Wind 1&2 offshore wind complex in the German North Sea. Offshore construction of 97 Siemens 6-MW turbines started in April 2015 and was wrapped up in May 2016, but export of power from Gode was hampered by the delay of TenneT’s 916MW DolWin 2 grid hub. [reNews]

Gode wind farm (Credit: DONG Energy)

¶ Last week, a Chinese province conducted a test to show it was possible for the entire region to run solely on green energy. For seven continuous days, over 5 million citizens living in the province survived without use of any fossil fuels, on 100% renewable energy, according to the State-run Xinhua News Agency. [ScienceAlert]

¶ A massive expansion of Nectar Farms in western Victoria will be powered by wind energy with battery storage. The A$565 million project will use the latest hydroponic glasshouse and plant technology. Nectar Farms is now looking to start work on Stage 2 of their expansion plans, which will see the facility grow from 10 to 40 hectares. [The Stawell Times-News]

Artist’s rendering of Nectar Farms expansion

¶ The Australian Capital Territory has moved closer to reaching its renewable energy targets, with the opening of the new wind farm at Ararat in Victoria. The new wind farm moves the territory closer to reaching its 40% renewable energy by 2017 target and its ultimate goal of 100% renewable energy by 2020. [The Canberra Times]

¶ Siemens Gamesa says it has installed five 6-MW turbines on ballast-stabilized floating foundations for the 30 MW Hywind Scotland project. According to the company, the floating wind project will be located 25 kilometers off the coast of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, at water depths between 90 meters and 120 meters. [North American Windpower]

Installing a floating turbine

US:

¶ A report by the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory concluded that widespread use of building controls across the country could cut energy consumption by an average of 29%, or the equivalent electricity used by 12 to 15 million Americans. The laboratory investigated 34 different types of energy efficiency measures. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The latest issue of the Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly shows that renewable energy surpassed nuclear energy in March and April, with renewables at 21.60% versus 20.34% for nuclear in March, and 22.98% versus 19.19% in April. While renewable energy is growing rapidly, nuclear power declines. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Renewables surpassing nuclear

¶ If a fledgling solar panel maker gets its way, GTM Research of Greentech Media predicts, US demand for solar could drop by two-thirds over the next five years. A new trade case aspires to boost the domestic panel manufacturing industry, but will likely have the opposite effect, according to the study, according to a Reuters report. [Newsline]

¶ The US Conference of Mayors officially endorsed local-level progress toward 100% renewable energy sources. Leaders from more than 250 cities approved a resolution supporting a transition to wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal power by 2035. The resolution specifically excluded coal plants, nuclear power, and dams. [CityLab]

Solar energy, part of the solution (Ivan Alvarado | Reuters)

¶ A rooftop solar project in San Pedro, California, should generate enough energy to power nearly 5,000 homes. This would make it the most powerful rooftop solar project in the world, officials said. The project is part of Los Angeles’ Feed-in Tariff program, which allows the building owners to sell power they generate to the city. [MyNewsLA.com]

¶ New York State’s green bank generated profits of $2.7 million in the last financial year. This was achieved through investing a total of $291.6 million in clean energy over the period, which reduced emissions by up to 6.4 million tonnes, equivalent to removing 70,000 cars from the road for 20 years. The profits will be re-invested in clean energy. [Energy Live News]

New York (Shutterstock image)

¶ A Minnesota electrical cooperative, Great River Energy, announced a purchase agreement with NextEra Energy to buy the electricity generated by the planned Emmons-Logan Wind Energy Center in North Dakota. Plans call for about 133 turbines generating 300 MW. Construction is planned to be complete by 2020. [Jamestown Sun]

¶ SCANA and Santee Cooper on Monday announced an interim agreement with Westinghouse Electric that allows construction on the troubled VC Summer nuclear plant to proceed for another 45 days. The last agreement extended work on the nuclear project to June 26; the new agreement runs through Aug. 10, 2017. [Utility Dive]

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June 26 Energy News

June 26, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Devil’s in detail, but Finkel may have gotten it just about right” On June 9, the much-anticipated Finkel report on the future stability of Australia’s National Electricity Market was released. Though there are many detailed recommendations, the overall guidance seem to getting broad support – except for the Clean Energy Target. [RenewEconomy]

Storm damage in South Australia

Science and Technology:

¶ Yellowstone Park is being hit by a swarm of earthquakes. About 770 have been recorded since June 12. This raises fears among the people across the affected areas for a possible volcanic eruption. If a super-volcano erupts, the disaster could radically transform the whole global climate and destroy much of the western US. [Science World Report]

World:

¶ The Asian Development Bank has approved the creation of a new Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility to provide financial support to renewable energy projects in Pacific island countries. The countries face developmental issues such as small populations, limited resources, remoteness and vulnerability to natural disasters. [CleanTechnology News]

Hydro development in Papua New Guinea
(Photo: Courtesy of Asian Development Bank)

¶ Mining data reviewed by the Associated Press show that coal production through May is up by at least 121 million tons, or 6%, for China, India, and the US, compared to the same period last year. The change is most dramatic in the US, where coal mining rose 19% in the first five months of the year, according to US DOE data. [MetroNews Canada]

¶ The Philippines attracted thousands of megawatts of renewable energy projects shortly after the passage of the Renewable Energy Act of 2001 but the concerns have been raised on the future of RE without the new feed-in tariff rates. Investments in new solar and wind projects have slowed down due to absence of clear policies. [The Standard]

Solar array in the Philippines (Judgefloro, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ More than 331 US mayors representing 62 million Americans have signed up to the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement through the Climate Mayors initiative. Founded three years ago, the number of cities in the network grew five-fold after President Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. [Cities Today]

¶ Donald Trump will tout surging US exports of oil and natural gas during a week of events aimed at showing the country’s growing energy dominance. He also plans to emphasize that after decades of relying on foreign energy supplies, the US is set to become a net exporter of oil, gas, coal, and new renewable and nuclear technology. [Petroleumworld.com]

Liquified natural gas tanker (Photo: STR | AFP | Getty Images)

¶ A national association of businesses focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grids, energy storage, and other technologies, Advanced Energy Economy, is pushing Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates to embrace “a transformational change” in both how energy is generated in the state and how it is consumed. [Roanoke Times]

¶ Solar energy continues to be the fastest growing energy source for US electricity, and now accounts for 2.2% of the US supply. Large-scale solar production in April totaled 4.8 million MWh, a jump of 63% over the same month a year ago, and with the combination of rooftop solar contributed 6.9 million MWh, or 2.2%. [RenewEconomy]

Arizona’s Agua Caliente Solar Project

¶ Converting a house in Santa Barbara to solar energy is easier now with the help from the Community Environmental Council. Its mission is to identify, advocate, and raise awareness about the most pressing environmental issues in the Santa Barbara region. Its solarize program helps to make it easier for everyone to install solar power. [KEYT]

¶ New York lawmakers unanimously passed a measure requiring the state’s Public Service Commission to set targets to increase the adoption of energy storage in the state through 2030. The new law requires the commission to work with the New York State Energy and Research Development Agency and the Long Island Power Authority. [RTO Insider]

EOS Energy Storage Project (EOS Energy Storage)

¶ In a bit of rural Georgia filled with manufacturing plants and distribution warehouses, just past the Alabama border, there is a 29-km (18-mile) stretch of Interstate 85 where new technologies are being tested for what could be a green highway of the future. It is a highway that could create its own clean, renewable energy. [Winnipeg Free Press]

¶ Rhode Island’s solar industry is no longer a fledgling subset of the amorphous “green” economy, but a rapidly growing business sector with some of the best financial incentives in the country. According to a report from the Office of Energy Resources, renewable-energy jobs, led by solar energy, has increased 66% in two years. [ecoRI news]

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June 25 Energy News

June 25, 2017

World:

¶ Energy companies in Iceland are looking to harness the country’s geothermal potential by tapping directly into a source deep in the Earth, under a volcano. The Icelandic Deep Drilling Project aims to make use of changes the high temperature and pressure can cause in water when it is deep in inside a volcano. [International Environmental Technology]

Iceland

¶ Currently, Papua New Guinea has less than 600 MW of installed generation capacity, according to the Department of National Enterprises, and frequent outages due to spikes in demand mean the existing grid is consistently under pressure. Now, there are three hydro projects under way, with a combined capacity of 2030 MW. [OilPrice.com]

¶ According to SaskPower, interest in renewable energy sources has been growing in Saskatchewan. The Crown corporation recently completed a series of stakeholder engagement surveys across the province. SaskPower has two programs for solar power, a net metering program and a small power producer program. [Regina Leader-Post]

Solar power is growing in Saskatchewan.
(Scott Olson | Getty Images North America)

¶ A former coal mine could be transformed into a massive lake near one of Victoria’s most popular Surf Coast destinations, as it is rehabilitated. An Anglesea Community Energy member is pushing to build a floating PV array on the lake, along with a pumped storage system large enough to meet the town’s electricity needs. [The Age]

US:

¶ The Bonneville Power Administration, once the cheapest source of power in region, is losing its competitive edge in the face of growing renewable energies and inexpensive natural gas. In the last three years, Bonneville’s customers have seen rates rise 16%, while prices for power on the open market dropped by more than 35%. [Longview Daily News]

Refurbishing a turbine (Bonneville Power Administration photo)

¶ Vermont lawmakers put off until October the deadline for adopting new rules governing wind turbines, after the Public Service Board offered a major revision in response to concerns it said it heard from legislators and others. A legislative committee postponed the July 1 deadline for adopting new limits for turbine noise. [vtdigger.org]

¶ In the US, solar energy employs more people than traditional coal, gas and oil combined. A report by the DOE said solar power employed 374,000 people over the year 2015-2016, which is 43% of the power sector’s workforce. By contrast, the traditional fossil fuels employed 187,117 people, making up to just 22% of the sector’s workforce. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Worker installing solar Panels in Oregon
(Oregon Department of Transportation, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Two years ago, Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Jacobsen published a study claiming that the United States could completely phase out the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power by 2055. Now, he is defending that work from skeptical analysts and scientists questioning his methods. [The American Interest]

¶ With the installation of more solar gardens, a continued commitment to energy-efficiency, and fruitful negotiations with Xcel Energy, Breckenridge, Colorado, could draw all of its electricity, public and private, from renewable resources as early as 2035, according to a new plan to be presented to the town council. [Summit Daily News]

Breckenridge Colorado snow train
(Photo: Dave Dugdale, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Customers enrolled in Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s community choice energy program can “opt up” to get all their electricity from 100% renewable sources. The base option for RCEA, which operates in Humboldt County, California, is 40% renewable. Hundreds of customers have decided to pay the extra cost of 1¢/kWh. [Eureka Times Standard]

¶ With US withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, mayors at the annual US Conferences of Mayors meeting in Miami Beach have been talking about taking the issue up at the local level. The conference supported the Paris agreement, and it looks like as many as 90% of US mayors want to work to respond to climate change. [New Jersey Herald]

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talking about rising sea levels (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

¶ The Tennessee Valley Authority wants to use the site of a nuclear reactor design abandoned in the 1970s to develop technology for small modular reactors. Critics of the Oak Ridge project say the new small modular reactors are still untested, unsafe and unneeded. The NRC has not yet approved a design for such reactors. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

¶ The owners of the VC Summer Nuclear Station believed a detailed construction schedule by their builder was the basis for the timing and cost of adding two reactors at the South Carolina plant. They have learned it doesn’t exist, calling into question repeated assurances that the new units can be built by 2020 for $14 billion. [Charleston Post Courier]

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June 24 Energy News

June 24, 2017

World:

¶ DONG Energy is making progress with offshore construction work for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm. Both offshore substations and 40% of the turbine foundations are in place. The 659-MW Walney Extension offshore wind farm, off the coast of Cumbria, is expected to meet the electricity needs of about half a million UK homes. [Your Renewable News]

Walney substation construction

¶ A recent report from the Northeast Group estimates that 67% of Western European countries will reach smart grid penetration by 2020, with 12 countries meeting the 80% European Union requirement in setting up residential smart grids over the next 3 years. It’s anticipated global smart grid markets will reach $120 billion by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Solar Energy Corporation of India has tendered a 750-MW of solar park in the Indian state of Rajasthan, at a low benchmark price of ₹3.93/kWh (6.1¢/kWh) compared to the previous benchmark price of ₹4.43/kWh. Solar capacity of 500 MW will be developed in Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park and 250 MW in Bhadla Phase-IV Solar Park. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Indian solar array

¶ ABB delivered five new 66-kV WindStar transformers to MHI Vestas Offshore Wind for deployment at EDF’s 41.5-MW Blyth offshore wind demonstration project off the Northumberland coast. The new transformer boosts voltage levels to 66 kV, increasing efficiency. The Blyth project will have five MHI Vestas 8.3-MW turbines. [reNews]

¶ Wind and solar lobbies, groups representing major energy users, and European power utilities have joined in a new partnership. The Electrification Alliance will push for more low carbon generation, along with the necessary supporting and intelligent grid infrastructure to incorporate the heating, cooling and transport sectors. [PV-Tech]

Transmission lines (Credit: Flickr | AdamKR)

¶ As many as 649 government schools in remote areas of the Indian state of Chhattisgarh have been electrified through solar energy. The Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency has set up solar power plants at 490 schools and 159 schools already had solar systems when the agency project started. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ French energy minister confirmed that there will be no new permits issued for oil and gas exploration on the mainland or in French held territories. He had earlier made a statement to reporters that France plans to close some nuclear reactors of state-controlled utility, EDF to reduce nuclear’s share in the country’s power mix. [Digital Journal]

Fracking site (Image: Link TV)

¶ The first Pakistan-owned early harvest wind power project constructed under China Pakistan Economic Corridor framework has started commercial operation. The 49.5-MW facility was developed by Sachal Energy Development (Private) Limited over 680 acres of land in the Jhimpir Wind Corridor in Sindh. [Radio Pakistan]

US:

¶ Portland General Electric, rocked by deep opposition to new fossil-fuel infrastructure earlier this year, is now embracing the public as an ally as it pushes for more renewables. The utility said a big new investment in renewables reflects in part local reaction to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. [Portland Business Journal]

Biglow wind farm and Mount Hood

¶ The Vermont Legislature is supporting the Paris climate agreement despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the pact. After some Republicans in the House complained the resolution could commit the state to pay for climate funding, that body passed it in amended form. [Rutland Herald]

¶ The DOE was to release a report detailing how renewables affect the US electric grid, but delayed its release until July. The project is led by a recent DOE appointee who authored a report in 2015, for a group heavily subsidized by fossil fuels, that declared clean energy to be a greater threat to grid reliability than terrorism or cyber attacks. [Texas Monthly]

Bliss wind farm in New York (Windtech, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Technology giant IBM says it has achieved two major commitments four years ahead of schedule in its efforts to help combat climate change. One of the goals it met is to have 20% renewables in its energy mix for the year 2020. The other is a 35% reduction in carbon emissions it planned to have by the same year. [North American Windpower]

¶ The owner of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant has formally notified federal regulators at the NRC that it plans to shut down the power station in 2019. Exelon said TMI has not turned a profit in five years because of low wholesale power prices and a “lack of federal or Pennsylvania energy policies that value zero-emissions nuclear energy.” [The Sentinel]

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June 23 Energy News

June 23, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Exxon, Stephen Hawking, greens, and Reagan’s advisers agree on a carbon tax” • What do ExxonMobil, Stephen Hawking, the Nature Conservancy, and a number of former conservative cabinet members have in common? All are founding members of the Climate Leadership Council, which proposed a revenue-neutral carbon tax policy. [The Guardian]

Stephen Hawking (Photo: Jemal Countess | Getty Images)

¶ “Cuba unveils plan to confront climate change” • In April, Cuba’s Council of Ministers approved a climate change plan. It is the latest manifestation of Cuba’s sustained endeavor to contain the impact of climate change. The Cuban government has dedicated resources and talent to the project, relying on facts, data, and science. [Green Left Weekly]

World:

¶ The government of Alberta launched the Residential and Commercial Solar Program, a $36 million solar rebate scheme to support deployment of around 50 MW of PV power through 2019. The rebate would cover up to 30% of the costs for PVs for homeowners, up to a maximum of $10,000, and up to 25% for businesses, capped at $500,000. [pv magazine]

Calgary (Photo: Michael Gil)

¶ The Kurnool solar park, owned by NTPC Limited, India’s largest power generating company, has reached an installed capacity of 450 MW as two projects have been made operational. Two more projects need to be completed before the solar park will reach the milestone of 1 GW, possibly to become the world’s largest PV facility. [CleanTechnica]

¶ If countries want to reach their Paris climate agreement goals of limiting the long-term world temperature rise to 1.5°C, then many proposals to increase gas production and distribution will be unnecessary, according to a report, Foot off the Gas, published by the Climate Action Tracker, an independent science-based research group. [EcoWatch]

Oil and gas drilling platform (CSIRO | Wikimedia Commons)

¶ In addition to developing large solar projects and rooftop solar systems on its rail stations, Indian Railways is now planning to install solar panels on top of its trains. Flexible solar panels and batteries will be installed to power lights and fans on 250 of the network’s trains. A pilot program will have installations on six trains. [Climate Action Programme]

¶ Utility WEB Aruba NV is getting a microgrid. Its peak demand is just 134 MW for 103,000 island inhabitants, but its mix, which includes thermal, wind and solar, requires active management. This is particularly important, as the government has set a goal of meeting half of the island’s power needs with renewables by 2020. [pv magazine]

Aruba (Atilin | Wikipedia)

¶ Alice Springs, already dubbed Australia’s “solar center,” will be able to significantly lift its share of solar in its local grid after a tender for a 5-MW battery storage array was awarded to New Zealand utility Vector. The installation will likely be the biggest in Australia – at least for now. The battery can deliver full power for 40 minutes. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Britain’s deal with EDF to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant is risky, a parliamentary watchdog said. “Delays have pushed back the nuclear power plant’s construction, and the expected cost of top-up payments … has increased from £6 billion to £30 billion,” the report from the National Audit Office said. [Times of Malta]

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (Photo: Reuters)

US:

¶ The EPA, under administrator Scott Pruitt has decided not to renew the employment of any scientist working for the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors. Their terms expire at the end of August. The Board was created to make sure the actions of the Office of Research and Development are supported by a rigorous scientific foundation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ President Trump’s put-down of wind energy at his Iowa rally was denounced across the state, which takes pride in its position as a national leader in wind generation. Trump was talking up his support for coal during his speech when he told the audience, “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories.” [The Japan Times]

Cattle graze near a wind turbine in Iowa (AP image)

¶ With the wind turbine setback regulations in place since 2014, Ohio has lost billions of dollars in wind power investment, along with the jobs that would have produced, to its neighbors. Now, Ohio Senate lawmakers have advanced an important fix to wind turbine setback policy in the state’s proposed biennial budget. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ A provision in a bill before the North Carolina legislature allowing leasing of rooftop panels is intended to help many corporate customers to go solar. But the bill’s “green source rider” program could leave large, intensive electricity users like Google and the University of North Carolina still searching for answers. [Southeast Energy News]

Solar array in Montgomery County, North Carolina

¶ A first-of-its-kind “clean coal” power plant that utility owner Southern Co spent years building in Mississippi may end up running on natural gas. The state Public Service Commission said it is looking for a solution that eliminates the risk to ratepayers “for unproven technology” that captures carbon emissions. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ The Cape Light Compact is taking applications for its Low Income Solar Revolving Grant Program, which will fund 100% of equipment and installation costs of PV systems on affordable housing properties to reduce electric bills for low-income homeowners and renters. The first round of awards is funded by two grants. [CapeCod.com News]

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June 22 Energy News

June 22, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Energy majors warn of falling fossil fuel demand” • BP’s annual statistical review makes the prospects for the fossil fuels industries look bleak. Oil prices are depressed, gas growth is weak, and coal is failing. “In contrast, renewable energy globally, led by wind and solar power, grew strongly, helped by continued technological advances.” [eco-business.com]

Coal strip mine (Stephen Codrington, Wikimedia Commons)

Science and Technology:

¶ The wine industry’s new normal is heavy rains, hailstones, floods, drought, and sometimes even frost. Wine makers who once took great pleasure in competing against each other to offer the best wine are now locked in a duel with Mother Nature to simply save the vines they manage to grow, as a changing climate devastates vineyards. [News18]

World:

¶ The Scottish Government has approved plans for a 30 turbine tidal park off the south-west coast of Islay. West Islay Tidal Energy Park, led by Cork-based DP Marine Energy Ltd, will create up to 32 full-time jobs. The tidal park will have a generating capacity of up to 30 MW – enough to power around 18,000 homes. [insider.co.uk]

Tidal turbine (West Islay Power image)

¶ Five of the world’s six largest listed oil companies, including ExxonMobil and Shell, run the risk of wasting more than 30% of potential investment on high-cost upstream projects that are unnecessary and potentially harmful if we are to ensure the world does not warm beyond 2° C above pre-industrial levels. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Asia will reach peak coal in 2024, amidst a rapid increase in renewable energy investment, BNEF projections say. By 2040, there will be $4.8 trillion invested in new power generation capacity in Asia. A third of this investment will be in wind power, another third in solar, 18% in nuclear, and 10% in coal and gas. [Global Trade Review]

Wind Farm in Yorkshire

¶ Ireland and Northern Ireland received a major green energy boosts, as three wind projects came online. Gaelectric opening the Inishative and Cregganconroe wind farms in Northern Ireland, with a combined capacity of 27.6 MW. And SSE announced the Comhlacht Gaoithe Teoranta wind Park came online with 66 MW. [www.businessgreen.com]

¶ GE Renewable Energy announced an agreement with Shimizu Corporation to supply 22 units of GE’s 3.2-103 wind turbines, for the Akita Katagami wind farm in northern Japan. The project will provide 66 MW, enough to power 40,000 average homes in Japan. Commercial operation is expected to begin in May of 2020. [Windpower Engineering]

GE Wind turbines

US:

¶ A study from the Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP law firm and the Power Research Group questioned the underlying finances of the merchant electric generating industry. It said that with flat demand for electricity, low gas prices and high penetrations of zero marginal cost renewables, merchant generators cannot recover fixed costs. [PR Newswire]

¶ Weeks after its mayor joined hundreds of other mayors across the country denouncing the White House’s move to reject the Paris climate accord, Philadelphia announced it is committing to using 100% clean energy by 2035. Currently, energy used by buildings and industry in Philadelphia accounts for 79% of its carbon pollution. [Curbed Philly]

Philadelphia, moving to 100% clean energy (Shutterstock image)

¶ Vermont state and local leaders joined with businesses and nonprofits to announce an initiative to galvanize support for addressing climate change, after the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Governor Phil Scott announced the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Michigan Technological University researchers published a study saying that ditching coal in favor of solar power would save nearly 52,000 lives in the United States each year. It says external costs of use of coal for generating electricity amount to 27¢/kWh. Bureau of Labor Statistics data says the US has 51,000 coal miners. [CleanTechnica]

Coal miners (Photo: US National Archives)

¶ Sarasota, Florida, and Columbia, South Carolina, committed to transitions to 100% renewable energy, according to the Sierra Club. The Sarasota City Commission adopted a goal of 100% renewable power by 2045. The Columbia City Council voted unanimously to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2036. [North American Windpower]

¶ The California Senate passed a bill that would give consumers more access to clean energy and provide the next critical piece for California to achieve its greenhouse gas and renewable energy goals. The bill, SB 700, would increase availability of local, customer-sited energy storage for homes, schools, farms, and businesses. [Windpower Engineering]

Solar panels

¶ Republicans and Democrats criticized budget cuts proposed for the DOE as Energy Secretary Rick Perry testified on Capitol Hill. Washington state Republicans questioned administration proposals for cuts on cleaning up radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear site and for selling off much of the Northwest’s power grid. [KUOW News and Information]

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed using a process floated by a former Obama administration official to resolve the debate over global warming by allowing government scientists to hash out the facts through an open “adversarial” process. Perry offered up the red team process during his testimony before congress. [Washington Examiner]

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June 21 Energy News

June 21, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “New report: Adding renewables keeps the lights on and money in America’s pockets” • This week, a new report from Analysis Group looked at how technological progress has affected electric grid reliability and power markets. One of the top takeaways is that adding renewables creates a more diverse, reliable system. [HuffPost]

Midwest wind turbines

Science and Technology:

¶ The research team for ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics modified an algae strain to enhance the algae’s oil content from 20% to more than 40% without significantly inhibiting the strain’s growth. Results of the research were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Biotechnology by Synthetic Genomics scientists. [Your Renewable News]

¶ We already know much about the threat of climate change to staple crops such as wheat, maize and rice, but the impact on tea is just coming into focus. Early research indicates that tea grown in some parts of Asia could see yields decline by up to 55% thanks to drought or excessive heat, and the quality of the tea is also falling. [CNN]

Tea pickers in Zhejiang Province, China

World:

¶ The chief executive of Enel says he believes the accelerated development of storage technology will hasten a renewables-dominated energy future, while reducing the need for gas power as a bridging technology. He said it is “obvious” that renewables are winning the competition with fossil fuels and nuclear power. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Welsh Power has left its previous supplier in favor of DONG. It is now the largest multi-site customer in DONG Energy’s history, and the contract means a doubling of the number of UK sites receiving power from the company. A DONG announcement puts it 27 years ahead of the schedule it had for the Paris climate change agreement. [NW Evening Mail]

DONG’s Walney Wind Farm (Janet Ellen Smith)

¶ New wind power capacity in the Middle East and Africa region in 2016 amounted to 676 MW, but in its report, 2017 Middle East and Africa Wind Power Outlook, MAKE Consulting says it expects the region’s capacity to expand greatly over the next decade. MAKE projects that 40 GW will be installed in the period from 2017 to 2026. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Jamaican utility, Jamaica Public Service, announced that its directors approved a hybrid energy storage solution which may be the first of its kind in the Caribbean. If approved by the Office of Utilities, the 24.5-MW project will feature flywheels and lithium-Ion batteries. It could become operational by the third quarter of 2018. [Energy Storage News]

Jamaica (Image: Loic Cas | Flickr)

US:

¶ Two months after newly-minted US Energy Secretary Rick Perry authorized a study about the reliability and market rules of the US electricity grid, an independent report by Analysis Group has concluded that there is simply no evidence that the changing mix of the United States’ electricity sector will affect system reliability. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The California ISO will study clean energy alternatives to a planned gas plant expansion near Oxnard. In February, several lawmakers expressed doubts about the plant, saying regulators should “adequately justify” its need. Local residents say they would prefer to shutter the existing plant there and restore the beachfront. [Utility Dive]

Gas-burning power plant (credit: Getty Images)

¶ An energy storage company, Renewable Energy Systems, announced an agreement with an independent power producer to build a 40-MW RESolve storage system in an unspecified location in California. Construction will begin this summer with an expected commercial operation date in the first quarter of 2018. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Replacing coal-fired power plants with solar power installations could save nearly 52,000 lives every year, a study from the Michigan Technological University found. This is the probable number of people would will not die of things such as asthma and congestive heart failure if harmful emissions from coal-fired plants are eliminated. [Nasdaq]

Coal (Shutterstock photo)

¶ Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations, and Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent solar power producers, announced an agreement to bring 200 MW of solar energy online in southern Georgia by 2020. The energy will come from four separate sites. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The annual Vermont Clean Energy Industry Report released by the Department of Public Service emphasizes Vermont’s climate economy as a “promising source of economic growth and employment opportunity.” The clean energy sector saw a 7.7% increase in employment over the last year to over 19,080 jobs. [Windpower Engineering]

A 150-Kw array in Guilford, Vermont, built by Soveren Solar
(Photo: Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Energy Secretary Rick Perry touted White House positions in the first of his three Capitol Hill hearings to defend its budget plan. It proposes to shift the DOE’s priorities dramatically, increasing spending on managing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile while deeply reducing investment in clean energy research. [InsideClimate News]

¶ The House of Representatives passed legislation to expand the use of tax incentives for new nuclear power plants well into the next decade. The nuclear tax bill passed by voice vote. “Without this legislation, the nuclear power industry may cease to exist as we know it in this country,” one of the sponsors of the bill said. [Washington Examiner]

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June 20 Energy News

June 20, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Is renewable energy in Devon ‘an unmitigated disaster’?” • Countryside campaigners and renewable energy experts have clashed on how renewable energy has benefited the county, with campaigners calling it “an unmitigated disaster.” One campaigner said the county would be better served by a power plant burning natural gas. [Devon Live]

Agriculture and solar power

¶ “UK’s ‘stunning Sunday’ of 70% low-carbon power offers glimpse of near future” • Once again, renewable power hit records in the UK. An upshot of more renewable power on the grid is that as demand for power on the grid reduces, so also do prices. With high wind output last week, the UK recorded its first negative power prices. [pv magazine]

¶ “Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Make Money” • South Texas is to wind power what Napa Valley is to wine and Georgia is to peaches. For not only does the state’s Gulf Coast generate strong evening gusts, but it also blows fiercely in the middle of the day, just as electricity consumption is peaking. [Bloomberg]

Baffin Wind Power Project (Photo: Eddie Seal | Bloomberg)

World:

¶ In Australia, the Turnbull government announced measures to force down electricity prices and could even invest in a new coal-fired power plant, after the Coalition party room ticked off on most recommendations in the Finkel review. But it did not back not the implementation of the review’s post-2020 Clean Energy Target. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Qinghai Province in northwest China will provide all electricity from renewable sources from June 17 to 23, the Qinghai branch of the State Grid Corporation of China announced at a press conference on Sunday. Of the estimated 1,225 GWh needed for the week, 78.3% will be generated by water power, and by other renewable sources. [gbtimes]

PV array in Qinghai Province (Photo: China News Service)

¶ An Australian power company is supporting not-for-profits and community organisations to build small-scale renewable energy solutions. Powershop’s Your Community Energy initiative pools together small premium amounts of customers who purchase the package and distributes them to community energy projects in Australia. [Pro Bono Australia]

¶ Israel’s Eco Wave Power has taken the wraps off plans to build a 4.1-MW project in Mexico’s Manzanillo Port. The unveiling follows the procurement of a so-called interconnection approval from Mexico’s National Energy Control Centre for 25 MW of grid capacity. The 4.1-MW project will be located in the beach area of Cuyutlán-Tepalcates. [reNews]

Wave project in Gibraltar (Image: Eco Wave Power)

¶ Vattenfall’s onshore Ray Wind Farm in Northumberland is now fully operational. The 54.4-MW facility, which cost £90 million, is on the Ray Estate, near Kirkwhelpington. Its 16 wind turbines are expected to produce as much energy each year as over 30,000 UK households use. Construction began in July 2015. [Energy Live News]

¶ The largest coal mining company in the world, Coal India, has announced plans to decommission a total of 37 mines that are no longer economically viable in India. According to Coal India, all 37 mines will be retired by March next year. They represent about 9% of the total number of mines operated by Coal India. [Climate Action Programme]

Coal mine

¶ Scottish Equity Partners has provided project funding for the €8.7-million, 4.6-MW Curraghderrig wind farm in the Republic of Ireland. The project is on the south-west coast of Ireland in Kerry, near the village of Asdee. It will have two 2.3-MW Enercon E-70 turbines, which will generate sufficient energy to power over 3,100 homes. [London Loves Business]

US:

¶ A year has passed since the release of the historic and widely supported Joint Proposal to retire and replace California’s last remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, with lower-cost zero-carbon resources within nine years. While there have been several procedural developments, the plan is on track. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant

¶ The Trump administration sees nuclear power as “a very important part” of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, DOE Secretary Rick Perry said. “Bringing our nuclear energy industry back, small modular reactors for instance, that’s on the front burner so to speak,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” at the SelectUSA Investment Summit. [AppsforPCdaily]

¶ In light of a new report, a ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee spoke against the divestiture of the transmission assets of the Bonneville Power Administration, as proposed in President Donald Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2018. She said the report showed how damaging the proposal is. [Electric Light & Power]

Transmission lines

¶ Rainy Investments is having more than 3,700 solar panels installed on roofs of a 12,000-square-foot industrial building in Elgin, Illinois. Elgin’s Community Development office said, “the panels will generate approximately 1.2 MW of electricity, and this renewable energy can then be purchased by users at a below-market rate.” [Chicago Tribune]

¶ Solar panels on top of canopies and blue-colored “trees” will provide energy at no cost to Fort Myers, and the electricity generated will benefit everyone, since the City Council agreed to participate in FPL’s SolarNow program. FPL will build and maintain the solar trees and canopies, and according to FPL, there is no catch. [The News-Press]

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June 19 Energy News

June 19, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Reasons to be cheerful, despite Trump withdrawing from the Paris Agreement” • The US has abdicated responsibility from the Paris Climate Agreement. While this is a blow to the fight against climate change, a new “G3” – the EU, China and India – may fill the leadership vacuum, with help from the US private sector. [The Guardian]

Indian students (Photo: Jagadeesh Nv | EPA)

¶ “Why you’re about to pay through the nose for power” • Ever since Australia’s carbon tax was removed, power prices have only headed one way – upwards. Investment in renewable energy plummeted at just the time the power industry began to make good on its plans to mothball its antiquated coal-fired generators. Now, Australia has a supply shortage. [ABC Online]

¶ “Renewables and storage will crush coal way ahead of Finkel’s forecast” • The BNEF report has pointed to the inevitable decline in coal generation, as costs of wind and solar power plunge, making them significantly cheaper. Meanwhile, the Turnbull Government seeks to find a way to prolong the life of Australia’s coal fleet. [Independent Australia]

Cost effective power (Wind Energy via Flickr CC)

World:

¶ AP7, Sweden’s largest pension fund, has been at the forefront of the fossil fuel divestment movement for some time. A year ago, it sold off its holdings in 11 coal companies and 8 oil and gas production companies. Last week, AP7 announced that it is continuing divestment. It is selling its shares in ExxonMobil and TransCanada. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Leading researchers have condemned attempts to change the way carbon from trees will be counted in Europe. Trees are important carbon sinks as they soak up about 10% of Europe’s emissions every year. But some European countries want to cut more trees down in future without counting the resulting loss of carbon sequestration. [BBC]

European woodland (Getty images)

¶ The Delhi government’s power department has opened registration process for installation of rooftop solar power plants in the city, as it aims to tap 1 GW of green energy by the year 2020. Under the scheme, 30% central finance assistance will be given by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy on the cost of solar PV. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has taken the decision to suspend interstate transmission charges on solar power projects in an effort to make the energy source more competitive with thermal power. The costs for using interstate solar power would have been raised by ₹1.0/kWh to ₹2.5/kWh (1.6¢/kWh to 3.9¢/kWh). [pv magazine]

Delhi Metro (Photo: varunshiv, Wikipedia)

¶ Korean President Moon Jae-in declared an end to the country’s nuclear-oriented power generation plan and said the nation will pave the way for a nuclear-free era. Moon said the government will also seek to close the second-oldest Wolsong 1 reactor and hinted at halting the ongoing construction of two new nuclear reactors. [Korea Times]

¶ Fractured roads, shattered rail links, ruined wells, and broken power lines are facts of life for many communities in Asia and the Pacific, even as countries invest more than ever to improve infrastructure. Increasingly, climate change is the culprit. Its impacts include erosion, encroaching salinity, and increased natural disasters. [The Sunday Times Sri Lanka]

Working on the land after a flood

¶ The Government of Malaysia has introduced incentives and strategies to encourage the growth of the renewable energy sector. Sunshine is abundant, and demand for solar energy is expected to rise as consumers and businesses become more aware of its benefits, not just to the environment, but also to the economy. [The Star Online]

¶ A small underwater robot has been developed by Toshiba to roam through the submerged Unit 3 primary containment vessel of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, performing inspections. The deployment of the Toshiba ROV will greatly help in the decommissioning process of the Fukushima plant. [Interesting Engineering]

Toshiba ROV (Toshiba image)

¶ Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said Pope Francis encouraged her to work to preserve the Paris Agreement on climate change, despite the US withdrawal from it. She said he shared her goal to “bring down walls” between countries, not build them. Merkel and Francis met for about 40 minutes in the Apostolic Palace. [Carbon Brief]

US:

¶ Bonneville Power Administration, which supplies power in the Northwest, has seen lower demand for power from public utilities and major industrial customers, which all have been working to increase energy conservation. While sale revenue has sagged, BPA operating costs have increased, so retail rates are expected to increase. [The Seattle Times]

BPA dam on the Columbia River (Alan Berner | The Seattle Times)

¶ According to data released today by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Walmart’s climate emissions continue to rise. This is after Walmart pledged to become more of an environmental leader. ILSR says the company scaled back its renewable power projects here in the US. Its clean energy projects fell 16% since 2013. (Video) [WHAG]

¶ The city of South Sioux City has approved an agreement to receive 15 MW of energy from a new wind farm in southern Nebraska.  The move is the latest by the northeast Nebraska city to diversify its energy portfolio as it pulls away from the Nebraska Public Power District, the state’s largest electrical utility. [Sioux City Journal]

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June 18 Energy News

June 18, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Solar power gaining ground” • Solar power, once so costly it made economic sense only in spaceships, is becoming cheap enough that it will push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast. The scenario suggests green energy is taking root more quickly than most experts anticipate. [GoErie.com]

Solar array (Thinkstock image)

¶ “Record levels of green energy in UK create strange new world for generators” • On one Friday in May, solar power briefly eclipsed the UK’s eight nuclear power stations. The grid recently went without coal for an entire day for the first time, and the dirty fuel is now regularly absent from power supply for hours at a time. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ Worldwide, $10.2 trillion will be invested in power generation from 2017 to 2040, with renewable power sources such as wind and solar getting almost three quarters of that, the report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance said. But $5.3 trillion more in renewable power would be needed to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2° C. [Climate Central]

Power station in Wollongong, south of Sydney
(Credit: Reuters | Daniel Munoz | File Photo)

¶ The IPCC, an international body for assessing the science related to climate change, mapping climate change, and evaluating the climate plans of members of the Paris climate agreement, faces a financial deficit, following the recent decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. Other countries are stepping up with support. [Royal News]

¶ The Chinese market had more than 40,000 new EVs on the streets last month, a 49% increase in sales over the same month last year, with the EV market share now at 1.4%, close to last year’s record (1.45%). Expect improvement as the year goes on and sales expand, with the Chinese EV market potentially surpassing 2% market share. [CleanTechnica]

BAIC EC180 electric car

¶ A delegation of seven German companies operating in the renewables sector has signed a memorandum of understanding with the North Khorasan Electricity Distribution Company to develop solar farms in that northeastern province of Iran. The German investors will tap into the region’s massive potential for renewable power. [Financial Tribune]

¶ About 477 MW of wind capacity has been added to the national grid in the Pakistani province of Sindh during current financial year. The total capacity of the wind power projects now stands at 785 MW, and this will be increased to 1085 MW during next financial year. Special attention is also being given to solar power in the province. [The Nation]

Wind power in Sindh

¶ Vietnam has very favorable conditions to develop solar energy across the country, but it needs an economical, technically feasible net-metering scheme to promote solar PV rooftops, according to experts speaking at a workshop held in Hanoi to discuss the development of a net-metering policy for solar energy in the country. [VietNamNet Bridge]

US:

¶ Falling oil prices crushed corporate revenue streams in Houston last year, plunging sales in the region to even lower levels than in the Great Recession eight years ago. In 2016, revenue for Houston’s 100 biggest public companies dropped to $561.7 billion, down from the $976.7 billion they collected at the height of the oil boom in 2014. [Houston Chronicle]

Oil workers (Marie D De Jesus, Staff | © 2017 Houston Chronicle)

¶ Motivated partly by Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement, supporters of a bill calling for Massachusetts to run on 100% renewable energy rallied on the State House Steps. The bill they support would call for renewable sources to supply all electricity in the state by 2035 and all other sectors by 2050. [Wicked Local Westwood]

¶ Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval vetoed two bills for solar power. One was Assembly Bill 206, which would have set a goal for clean energy to 40% by 2030. The other was Senate Bill 392, which would have allowed neighborhoods to work together to establish shared community solar systems people without access to clean solar energy. [News3LV]

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June 17 Energy News

June 17, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ For two weeks in January of 2016, unusually warm weather caused a 300,000 square mile patch of the Ross Ice Shelf to partially melt. The roughly Texas-sized area, blanketed in a slushy mixture of ice and water, represents one of the first times scientists have been able to catch such widespread Antarctic melting in action. [Popular Science]

Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf (lin padgham via Wiki Commons)

¶ A perceived degrading of vehicle batteries has been holding back bi-directional vehicle-to-grid technology, a group working on the problem says. Those researchers now say, however, that the lithium-ion batteries will not deteriorate with a new algorithm-driven system because they are using special power calculations. [Network World]

World:

¶ A notification posted online this week by the Legislative Affairs Office, which reports to the Chinese cabinet, indicates that all manufacturers will be required to generate EV credits that equal 8% of sales in 2018, 10% by 2019, and 12% by 2020. The credits are computed based on the level of electrification of the cars produced. [CleanTechnica]

The difference pollution makes for Beijing

¶ ABB, the Switzerland-headquartered power electronics company, has been selected by the University of Chester to install a microgrid control system. It will enable researchers and students at the onsite 90,000 square meter Energy Centre to examine ways to better integrate renewable and conventional energy. [pv magazine]

¶ Sweden has committed to becoming a net-zero carbon emission emitter by 2045, following a law passed in the nation’s parliament. Lawmakers voted 254 to 41 in favor of the proposal. The proposal was developed by seven of the eight Swedish parliamentary parties; only the far right Swedish Democrats sat out of the consultation. [Climate Action Programme]

Stockholm

¶ China and India will be the biggest recipients of investments in new power-generating capacity by 2040, representing a $4 trillion opportunity for their energy sectors. China will require $2.8 trillion of spending for 2,547 GW of new capacity, while India needs $1.2 trillion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ London-based Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture just unveiled plans for what could become London’s greenest building – a tidal powered school situated on the banks of the Thames River. The five-story building would be entirely powered by energy harvested from a series of large turbines built underneath the waterway. [Inhabit]

Thames tidal powered school

¶ One of the biggest solar power plants developed by SB Energy has become operational in Andhra Pradesh within three months of commissioning. The plant has a capacity to provide clean electricity for over 700,000 Indian households. It uses the latest available technology for module cleaning, site maintenance and security. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ The World Bank announced that its board of executive directors has approved $54.4 million of financing for an initiative aimed at improving Mongolia’s power system and expanding generation capacity through the construction of a 10-MW solar facility. The facility will provide with electricity rural areas with limited access to power. [pv magazine]

Camels in Mongolia (Photo: Bo Nielsen)

¶ As batteries and new sources of flexibility bolster the installed capacity of renewables, their market shares will be reaching 49% in India, 55% in China, 74% penetration in Germany, and 38% in the US by 2040, according to the newly released Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual long-term analysis of the future of energy. [ABP LIVE]

US:

¶ The Rocky Mountain Institute and its Business Renewables Center have launched a new software platform that helps buyers and developers of renewable energy projects better understand which locations are more likely to be economically attractive across the various deregulated electricity markets in the United States. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind farm

¶ Vivint Solar had a surprisingly good first quarter, and this was followed by a promising financial agreement. In Early June, Vivint announced that it expanding was its services into Colorado and returning to Nevada. Now, as we hit the halfway mark of the month, the company announced that it would be expanding its services into Vermont. [CleanTechnica]

¶ EDF Renewable Energy will sell electricity from its 500-MW solar farm near the Joshua Tree National Park to Southern California Edison under a 15-year power-purchase agreement. The Maverick Solar project is the fifth significant utility-scale solar plant in Riverside County, joining McCoy, Desert Sunlight, Genesis and Blythe. [pv magazine USA]

Solar array in the Southwest

¶ Montana wind energy advocates have been dealt a blow by the Bonneville Power Administration, which has refused to kill a transmission fee that inflates the cost of renewable energy. Wind farm developers plan to sell their power into Washington state. The transmission fee will make the power more expensive. [Billings Gazette]

¶ After more than 8 years of problem-plagued construction, $8.9 billion has already been sunk into building two new nuclear reactors at the VC Summer site in South Carolina, according to information obtained by Friends of the Earth. The plants are still far from project completion, and startup dates of 2019 and 2020 are no longer valid. [Clean Energy News]

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June 16 Energy News

June 16, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “With US absent from global climate accord, time to up Minnesota’s local game” • A Dickens quote comes to mind: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …” It’s easy to see our own “winter of despair” in today’s US federal energy policies, while Minnesotans take pride in a well-earned “spring of hope” here at home. [MinnPost]

Wind power in Minnesota (CC | Flickr | Michael Janke)

¶ “Analysis: US states and cities could meet Paris climate goals without Trump” • Nearly 40% of US CO2 emissions are in the hands of states that have either committed to meeting their share of the US’s Paris Agreement target or who have established their own ambitious long-term emission reduction goals, a Carbon Brief analysis has found. [Carbon Brief]

World:

¶ The Greek isle of Tilos is set to be the first Mediterranean island powered by wind and solar energy. The island currently relies on oil-based electricity from neighbouring Kos, via a submarine cable that is vulnerable to faults. Power cuts are frequent. Tilos is creating a hybrid micro-grid that will generate and store energy. [The Guardian]

The Greek island of Tilos (Photo: Alamy)

¶ Vietnam’s TTC Group is planning to sink about $1 billion into solar energy projects in a country still dependent on coal-fired thermal and hydro power for its power needs, with national electricity demand growing faster than 10% annually. The company plans to build as many as 20 solar parks with a total capacity of 1,000 MW by next year. [Nikkei Asian Review]

¶ Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are expected to see their costs plummet even further over the coming decades. According to BNEF’s New Energy Outlook 2017 report, offshore wind costs will absolutely plummet, dropping 71% by 2040, and the levelized the costs of electricity from solar and onshore wind will drop 66% and 47%, respectively. [CleanTechnica]

Global electricity generation mix to 2040

¶ Global wind capacity has broken the 500-GW milestone, according to WindEurope and the Global Wind Energy Council, which celebrated recent successes on Global Wind Day. The organizations say unsubsidized renewable power was already cheaper than fossil fuels in more than 30 countries in 2016 and costs are still falling. [Energy Live News]

¶ The government of the Republic of Artsakh, a disputed region in South Caucasus which is commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, announced it has taken its first steps to develop solar energy on its territory. The Armenian state-owned press agency says a study to assess the solar potential of the republic is currently being conducted. [pv magazine]

Mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh (Wikimedia Commons)

¶ An Enel subsidiary, PJSC Enel Russia, was awarded a contract to build two wind farms in Russia with a total capacity of 291 MW. This contract was awarded as part of Russian government’s recent 1.9-GW wind capacity tender. Russia has committed to generate about 4.5% of its energy from renewable capacity by 2024. [CleanTechnology News]

US:

¶ While the fossil fuel industry still has a big chunk of the market and a staunch ally in President Donald Trump, experts generally agree that renewable energy will rule in the future. Now, a new study is warning energy companies to start adopting green sources if they want to stay in business. The study was conducted by  Wood Mackenzie. [EconoTimes]

Geothermal power plant (Gretar Ívarsson | Wikimedia)

¶ Republican lawmakers peppered EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt with tough questions on proposed budget cuts that many feared would result in drastic changes to their states. At a House hearing on the White House’s proposed EPA budget, a number of GOP members of Congress objected to the proposed cuts of over 30%. [CNN]

¶ After more than two years of planning and permitting, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality approved Apex Clean Energy’s application for the up-to-80 MW Rocky Forge wind farm – the first such project to be built in Virginia. Rocky Forge is expected to provide annual power needs for 20,000 homes. [North American Windpower]

Virginia has approved a wind farm.

¶ The Trump administration is backing off its threat to revoke California’s unique authority to set its own tough pollution standards for cars and trucks. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt assured lawmakers that his agency is not currently looking to take away the power that California has used for decades to reduce emissions. [Los Angeles Times]

¶ Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a handful of new solar and energy related bills today to help the state pivot away from the anti-consumer, anti-solar net metering regulation that forced SolarCity out of the state in late 2015. Tesla may have lobbied for the bills, which were signed at the Tesla Energy warehouse in Las Vegas. [CleanTechnica]

Solar array at sunset

¶ According to the authors of Deloitte’s annual “Resources 2017 Study – Energy Management: Sustainability & Progress,” the demand for clean energy has passed the point of no return in the US. It is no longer a political issue, but economic, driven by consumers and businesses, independent of positions of the federal government. [ETEnergyworld.com]

¶ A clean-energy advocacy group claims the Public Service Company of New Mexico intentionally misled the state’s Supreme Court. New Energy Economy says the utility’s own models show its plan to replace two coal-burning units at the San Juan Generating Station with coal and nuclear power was not economical after 2022. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

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June 15 Energy News

June 15, 2017

World:

¶ In Tanzania, an international collaborative called the Maasai Stoves and Solar Project has begun to change the roles of women by introducing the use of clean-energy cookstoves and solar power to the Maasai community. The project trains women to distribute and install cookstoves and solar panels in their traditional mud houses. [Earth Island Journal]

Installing solar in Tanzania (Photo: Photo Christabel Ligami)

¶ On June 3, two days after President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron, at a meeting in Paris, pledged to achieve emissions reductions beyond their nations’ commitments under the Paris Agreement. [CleanTechnica]

¶ OPEC is trying to reduce the world’s oil supplies by cutting production so as to raise oil prices enough to fund the countries’ welfare states. That is turning out to be unsuccessful. Adding to OPEC’s woes, the International Energy Agency said it expected US producers to increase their production by 430,000 barrels a day. [The New American]

Oil tanker

¶ The President of the Republic of Cameroon, Paul Biya, signed a decree allowing an agreement with the Bank of China for a CFA 73.95 billion ($123.2 million) loan. The funds will be used to finance off-grid PV systems for about 350 communities in areas with no access to electricity. Each system will have a capacity of 32 kW. [pv magazine]

¶ Worldwide carbon emissions are not rising, BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, says. “The combination of weak energy demand growth and the shifting fuel mix meant that global carbon emissions are estimated to have grown by only 0.1 per cent, making 2016 the third consecutive year of flat or falling emissions.” [Climate Action Programme]

Producing greenhouse gases

US:

¶ A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the Dakota Access pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which resulted from one of the Trump administration’s first orders, violated the law in certain critical respects. The court is considering whether pipeline operations should be shut off. [Māori Television]

¶ The US economy is growing as carbon dioxide emissions fall and renewable energy rises. US Power plant carbon emissions have fallen to nearly the same level they were in 1990, according to a report released by consulting firm MJ Bradley & Associates. This is further evidence that the economy is decoupling from carbon. [InsideClimate News]

Different power sources (Credit: Volker Hartmann | Getty Images)

¶ Meeting in San Francisco, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a joint statement with German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Barbara Hendricks, to solidify existing cooperation between the two governments and further California’s global leadership on climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Capital Power Corp has started commercial operations at its 178-MW Bloom wind farm in Kansas. The company said the project was developed using a 10-year proxy revenue swap agreement with Allianz Risk Transfer, a subsidiary of insurance group Allianz. It is Capital Power’s first wind development project in the US. [reNews]

Wind farm (Image: Pixabay)

¶ According to the Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly, a bit more than 10% of all electricity generated in the US in March came from wind and solar power. Wind provided 8% and solar 2%. Those are record amounts for the country, and they reflect continuing construction of renewable capacity across the nation. [Ars Technica]

¶ A solar farm is taking shape next to the Apache Generating Station near Willcox, Arizona. It will provide 20 MW of power to rural electric cooperatives across the state when it goes online in September. The power from the solar farm will be sufficient for about 3,000 Arizona households. About 4,000 PV panels are going up each workday. [Arizona Daily Star]

Solar construction (Photo: Arizona G&T Cooperatives)

¶ The Center for Biological Diversity filed a public-records request seeking emails and documents that show the Trump administration’s collaboration with big polluters on a grid study that could benefit companies reliant on fossil fuels and hamper renewable power growth. The study was ordered by Energy Secretary Rick Perry. [Common Dreams]

¶ Florida Power & Light Company started construction at eight 74.5-MW solar plants in the state in which it operates. The Coral Farms, Horizon, Indian River, and Wildflower projects are expected to be operational by the end of the year, while Barefoot Bay, Blue Cypress, Hammock, and Loggerhead are planned to come online by 1 March 2018. [reNews]

Florida solar power (FPL image)

¶ Massachusetts lawmakers are considering bills that would advance the state’s interest in microgrids and require the consideration of non-wires alternatives before utilities make investments in grid upgrades. The bill, H 1725, would also direct utilities to offer time-of-use rate options by 2018 and put limits on fixed charge increases. [Utility Dive]

¶ More than half of America’s nuclear reactors are bleeding cash, racking up losses totaling about $2.9 billion per year, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis. Nuclear power plants are getting paid $20 to $30 per MWh for their electricity, but it costs them an average of $35 per MWh to operate. [Bloomberg]

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June 14 Energy News

June 14, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Global Oil Majors Are Poised for a Resurgence in Solar and Wind” • The recent report from Wood Mackenzie said the global market for wind and solar is set to grow “much faster than oil demand.” The world’s largest oil and gas companies may use wind and solar to diversify and future-proof fossil-fuel-heavy portfolios. [Greentech Media]

Statoil turbines and substation

¶ “California, NY and Nevada are pushing hard on clean energy while Texas hopes that the market’s enough” • A bill introduced in Austin would have had universities cover the costs of a study on energy efficiency in Texas and report findings to the next Legislature. The bill went nowhere. Meanwhile, other states are getting active. [Dallas News]

World:

¶ London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced funding for green firms in the capital. The Clean Tech Incubator, which is part of the mayor’s vision to make London the “world’s leading smart city,” will help 100 small businesses deliver low carbon and green products to tackle climate change. Some of the funding will go to innovations. [Energy Live News]

London (Shutterstock image)

¶ The United Kingdom installed an impressive 640 MW of new solar capacity in the first quarter of this year. The 118 installations included 90 ground-mounted solar farms with capacity between 4.5 and 5 MW; this meant they qualified for 1.2 Renewable Obligation Certificates before the scheme was phased out on 31 March. [CleanTechnica]

¶ National Grid proposals to reform the UK’s balancing services market would enable the rapid uptake of energy storage and other flexibility technologies, according to the Renewable Energy Association. It published a report pointing out the need for changes that would account for rapid improvements in clean technologies. [reNews]

T-pylon design (Credit: National Grid)

¶ The British government appointed Claire Perry to be Minister at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. The appointment will be largely welcomed by renewable energy campaigners after her positive comments on the importance of the Paris agreement and the necessity of investing in clean energy. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Vestas is to supply turbines totalling 90-MW for the Kassidiaris wind farm in Greece, which is being developed by Eltech Anemos. The Danish manufacturer will deliver and install 25 V136-3.45MW machines optimized to 3.6-MW for the project, which is in the region of Epirus. Delivery is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018. [reNews]

Vestas wind turbine (Credit: Vestas)

¶ Global coal production fell 6.2% in 2016, the most ever recorded, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, a closely watched compendium of information about global energy trends. Coal made up only 28% of the world’s energy production last year. US output declined 19% and Chinese production fell almost 8%. [Fox Business]

¶ Shetland is to plug into the UK grid network for the first time ever via a dedicated small-scale HVDC line. The island cluster will be able to tap mainland generation across a 260-km, 60-MW cable. Island-based projects will be able to meet local demand as at present, and export to the mainland via the link is also possible. [reNews]

Shetlands (Credit: Shetland Islands Council)

US:

¶ Investment banker Goldman Sachs signed a long-term Power Purchase Agreement with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, which will enable development of a new 68-MW wind project in Pennsylvania. Once operational, it could result in the reduction of more than 200,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year. [Environment News Service]

¶ According to a newly published US Solar Market Insight Report from Greentech Media and the Solar Energy Industries Association, the US solar market added 2,044 MW of new capacity in the first quarter of 2017. The report says prices continue to fall, with utility-scale system prices dropping below $1 per watt for the first time. [pvbuzz media]

Solar installers

¶ Lux Research, an independent research and advisory firm, examined Trump’s statements and actions in five segments of the energy landscape – oil and gas, renewable fuels, coal, renewables and storage, and offshore wind – to determine how his policies may impact domestic energy. Lux said he will have a modest effect on renewables. [EconoTimes]

¶ The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet announced the completion of a 5-MW solar array project at Fort Campbell. It is the largest non-utility solar array in Kentucky. The Solar Array Project produces enough power for the equivalent of 463 homes and will provide more than 10% of Fort Campbell’s requirements. [The Lane Report]

Ft Campbell solar array

¶ Maui Electric Co ranked seventh for connecting energy storage to the grid, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance that surveyed 412 utilities nationwide. Energy storage projects on MECO grids include a Battery Energy Storage System at the company’s Wailea Substation and projects with independently owned wind farms. [Maui News]

¶ With Exelon’s announced intentions to retire the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station, the US now has six nuclear plants slated to retire in the next nine years. They include four that have retirement dates more than a decade before their operating licenses expire — Palisades, Pilgrim, Oyster Creek, and Three Mile Island. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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June 13 Energy News

June 13, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The first leg of an Arctic climate change study in the Hudson Bay is being canceled because of climate change. Unusally abundant sea ice, loosened by global warming, has come from the High Arctic. So the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, scheduled to used by the expedition, had to be used instead for search and rescue operations. [Miami Herald]

CCGS Amundsen (Wikipedia Image)

¶ A highly combustible form of energy locked deep in the ocean finally can be harvested using a new technique, but experts say deploying that technique on a broad scale could spell trouble for the climate. The solid material, called methane hydrate, is a form of the hydrocarbon methane that is locked in cages of ice called clathrates. [Yahoo Singapore News]

World:

¶ A five-year smart grid project in Shetland has been hailed a success. The £18 million Northern Isles New Energy Solutions project combined monitoring and control systems, domestic demand side management, and a 1-MW battery. Active Network Management enabled multiplying the renewable energy capacity by three. [Clean Energy News]

Shetland (Image: SSEN)

¶ EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index has the UK back in the top 10 most attractive countries, but the outlook remains cloudy amid a lingering lack of clarity around targets and subsidies. The RECAI says that the UK renewable investment environment is more settled than recent years, despite subsidy cuts. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ Enel Green Power has completed turbine installation at the 90-MW Cristalândia wind farm in Brazil, consisting of 45 turbines. Cristalândia will generate about 350 GWh of electricity a year when operational. Enel is investing about $190 million in the wind farm, which will operate under 20-year power purchase agreements. [reNews]

Wind turbine installation (Image: Enel Green Power)

¶ More than a fifth of investment by the largest oil and gas companies could be in wind and solar power in just over a decade, according to research group Wood Mackenzie. Slowing demand for oil and forecasts of rapid growth in renewables pose both a threat and opportunity that BP, Shell, Total, and others cannot ignore. [The Guardian]

¶ Engie and eleQtra, a developer of power and transportation projects in sub-Saharan Africa, signed a Joint Development Agreement that defines the terms and the schedule for the development and construction of the 50-MW Ada Wind power project in Ghana. The project is expected to require an investment of about $120 million. [Myjoyonline.com]

Wind turbines

¶ Cameras using ultrasound technology found 72 previously unknown cracks in the high-pressure boiler of Belgium’s ageing Tihange 2 nuclear reactor. The new flaws were discovered by changing the positions of the devices. Activists and German politicians had long called for the plant to close, but it will run as usual. [International Business Times UK]

US:

¶ Building officials in Portland, Oregon, have approved the construction of what will be the tallest wooden building in the US. Known as Framework, the building will be 11 stories tall. The architect says a wooden building can have a carbon footprint 75% lower than a comparable steel or concrete building, and that is just one of many advantages. [CleanTechnica]

The Framework Building to be built in Portland

¶ Donald Trump’s controversial decision to remove the United States from the Paris Agreement has not affected the ability of the wind power industry’s ability to create jobs for Americans. Trump’s belief that the agreement would produce “draconian” economic burdens has been proven false by new jobs for wind industry workers. [Science Times]

¶ When it comes to emerging energy technologies, many remote Alaska communities are on the cutting edge. US Senator Lisa Murkowski held a field hearing in Cordova of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, focusing on microgrids, which are a necessity for just about every Alaska community off the road system. [KTOO]

Cordova Harbor (Photo: jynxpup, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) and the New York Power Authority issued requests for proposals to renewable energy developers for up to 2.5 million MWh of large-scale renewable energy for New York state. The storage will help the state move to a goal of 50% renewable electricity by 2030. [North Country Now]

¶ Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that cities will take over web publication of the information on climate change that has been removed from EPA web sites. He was joined by a dozen mayors of other large cities. They are part of a group of 270 US mayors who pledged to honor the goals of the Paris climate accord. [InsideSources]

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June 12 Energy News

June 12, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “New highland wind farm plans just the start of renewable future” • A $300 million wind farm that will be developed in Tasmania’s Central Highlands will have a significant impact. It will increase Tasmania’s wind generation by about 50%, create 150 jobs through construction and deliver enough clean energy to power 60,000-plus homes. [The Mercury]

Wind turbines in Tasmania (Andrew Baker, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “No, Rick Perry, California’s renewable energy policies aren’t dangerous for the grid” • Fossil fuel advocates argue that California’s energy policies are not just unnecessary, but risky. But the argument that they will destabilize the grid is no more than a reflexive objection from those who see their fossil fuel investments dwindling. [Los Angeles Times]

World:

¶ Jerusalem-based renewable-energy developer Energiya Global will invest $1 billion over the next four years to advance green power projects across 15 West African countries as part of a memorandum of understanding signed earlier this week between Israel and the Economic Community of West African States. [ISRAEL21c]

Solar field (Costazzurra | Shutterstock.com)

¶ Countries of Central Asia and the International Renewable Energy Agency released a Communiqué on accelerating renewable energy deployment in the region at the Astana EXPO-2017. The meeting detailed six key areas to facilitate the up-take of renewables and help diversify the region’s energy mix in a regional Action Plan. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Pieces are falling into place for an important collaboration between India and Africa to end energy poverty. The stakes are high, as sub-Saharan Africa and India account for over 80% of the world’s 1.1 billion unelectrified. India had already pledged in 2015 a concessional credit line of $10 billion to Africa over five years. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

Production of solar cells

¶ In India, nearly 300 million do not have access to electricity and have average incomes at or lower than $1,600 a year. Now, India is adding 50% more solar and wind than the US currently has installed. By 2027, 60% of India’s electricity will be renewably produced, exceeding its Paris Climate goals by almost 20%. [pvbuzz media]

US:

¶ The Garden Island newspaper reports that a Hawaiian electric utility, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, will build a pumped storage hydro project. It could supply more than 15% of the island’s electricity and surpass the goal of 70% renewable energy by 2030. The cooperative says protecting trout populations is a priority. [KITV Honolulu]

Kauai countryside (Wikipedia image)

¶ A proposed power line in Wisconsin would run from west of Madison to Iowa, where it would be linked to a growing fleet of wind farms. It puts green interests into conflict with each other. Some the project as a blight on the picturesque ridges and valleys of the region, others focus on a need for renewable wind energy. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

¶ Massachusetts’ bid to become the nation’s leader in offshore wind power is ramping up. The state’s electric utilities will soon release requirements for projects seeking to develop the state’s first ocean-based wind farm. That sets in motion an ambitious effort to put Massachusetts ahead of other states’ efforts on offshore wind power. [The Japan Times]

Turbines and a lift boat off Block Island (Photo: AP)

¶ Some business owners who help customers use clean energy don’t seem fazed by the plan to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord. They expect demand for their services will still keep growing due to a growing concern about the environment, and a desire by consumers and businesses to lower their energy costs. [Arkansas Online]

¶ If two of South Carolina’s largest utilities pull the plug on their nuclear power plant expansion, about half of the state’s electric customers could be on the hook for $8.6 billion, to pay for a project that might never produce any electricity at all. The state’s laws allow the utilities to collect the money even if they abandon the project. [Charleston Post Courier]

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June 11 Energy News

June 11, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “The Massive Farms Harnessing an Invisible Force” • Offshore wind has evolved quickly. The original Burbo Bank wind farm, built just 10 years ago, had 25 3.6-MW turbines – enough capacity to power about 80,000 homes. The Burbo Bank Extension boasts 32 8-MW turbines, providing nearly three times the old farm’s capacity. [BBC]

Offshore substation at Burbo Bank (Credit: Chris Baraniuk)

¶ “US Senators: Heartland Institute Mailings to Grade School Science Teachers ‘Possibly Fraudulent'” • If you teach science to American schoolchildren, there’s a good chance that you might open your mailbox soon and find a package containing a free, unsolicited 135-page book and 11-minute DVD, plus a cover letter from the Heartland Institute. [DeSmog]

World:

¶ The boss of BMW’s Australian arm pulled no punches at the launch of the plug-in hybrid 530e iPerformance. He said he feels the government has fallen far behind other developed countries on legislation and strategies regarding low-emissions vehicles. He believes that the government has “stuck their collective heads in the sand.” [CarAdvice]

530e iPerformance (BMW image)

¶ Last week, the European Union and China released a joint statement declaring their intentions to move on with the Agreement with or without America. They have gone past this position, and now they have decided to work with US states and cities that are keen on cutting their carbon footprint by going over the President’s head. [IFLScience]

¶ The Indian Power Ministry has finalized a policy for reviving 40 hydro power projects of 11,639 MW, provide support of ₹16,709 crore ($2.511 billion), and declare all large and small hydro projects as renewable energy. At present, a hydro power project up to 25 MW is classified under renewable energy and is entitled to various incentives. [HERE. NOW]

Indian hydro project

¶ India needs tens of billions of dollars to reduce its dependence on coal and oil. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved an initial public offering for the state-run Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, which is a financial institution that provides financial support to renewable energy projects. [The National]

¶ A study by Masdar Institute shows that the cost of producing water for the UAE’s natural water storage structures could be reduced using wind power for the desalination. Producing 1,000 liters of water would cost between $1.6 and $2.1, slightly below the cost of producing fresh water by using thermal-powered desalination. [Utilities-ME.com]

Wind power in the UAE

¶ The Korean energy industry is showing mixed reactions to the anti-nuclear energy policy touted by President Moon Jae-in, who vowed to scrap all new construction of new nuclear power plants and establish a road map to reduce reliance on nuclear energy. Proponents and opponents alike are taking a wait-and-see approach for now. [The Korea Herald]

US:

¶ Withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement climate plan won’t provide a lifeline to the ailing coal industry, even in a state like Nebraska that burns a lot of it. Utilities, railroads and other users and haulers of the black stuff say that when it comes to the move away from coal, the train has already left the station. [Omaha World-Herald]

Coal train in North Platte (Rebecca S Gratz | The World Herald)

¶ While President Trump spurned the Paris climate accords, California Governor Jerry Brown was wrapping up a five-day tour of China that included a public session with President Xi Jinping at his side. The governor signed a flurry of agreements to partner with China on reducing emissions and develop clean technology. [Long Beach Press Telegram]

¶ A proposed bailout for Ohio’s two nuclear power plants that would lead to rate increases for FirstEnergy customers appears to be stalled in the Legislature. One legislative committee considering the idea suspended testimony last month amid protests, and another committee held its fourth hearing this week without taking a vote. [Lima Ohio]

Davis-Besse nuclear plant

¶ Guam’s Public Utilities Commission may award bid contracts for 120 MW of renewable energy, which could save ratepayers more than $43 million in five years. The decision authorizes the Guam Power Authority to petition the PUC to award a Phase II Renewable Acquisition Bid of two 30-MW proposals by different companies. [The Guam Daily Post]

¶ There are now persistent, highly acidified stretches of water found all along the West Coast, a 3-year survey of the region found. In some places, pH levels are as low as any ever recorded in any oceanic surface waters in the world. With rising levels of carbon dioxide, increasing numbers of hot spots will become more acidified. [CleanTechnica]

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June 10 Energy News

June 10, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “No, Virginia, There Is No Nuclear Santa Claus” • Virginia is about to receive approval for the most expensive nuclear reactor ever built in the USA. We might ask how much its electricity would cost if it actually goes forward. The answer? Much more than with modern technologies that are cheaper and faster to build. [CleanTechnica]

North Anna nuclear plant

¶ “Five things you need to know about DUP politicians and science” • Having failed to win a majority in the UK’s general election, Theresa May’s Conservative party has hopes for an informal coalition with Democratic Unionist Party. Here are five things you need to know when it comes to science and the DUP. They start with climate change denial. [New Scientist]

Science and Technology:

¶ Movement of sea ice off Alaska’s coasts is accelerating due to global warming, with unfortunate consequences for polar bears, according to a new study. Because most sea ice shifts throughout the year, polar bears are constantly on the move in order to stay within their preferred habitat, a US Geological Survey research ecologist said. [The Weather Channel]

Mendenhall Glacier (Flickr | Pat W Sanders)

¶ Finnish researchers have developed technology for producing a renewable hydrocarbon. The process has the potential to shakeup the global energy industry, if it moves beyond the experimental stage. The Soletair project uses hydrogen extracted from water and carbon dioxide captured from the air as raw materials to produce hydrocarbons. [YLE News]

World:

¶ WindEurope, the European trade body for wind energy, published a report this week at the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 event being held in London. According to the WindEurope report, not only has floating offshore wind energy technology reached maturity, but its costs are expected to plummet over the coming years. [CleanTechnica]

Floating wind turbine

¶ Ireland’s largest ever windfarm officially opened following a €145 million investment by Energia at Meenadreen in south Donegal. The Meenadreen windfarm is among the most technologically advanced generating facilities in the world with 38 turbines producing 95 MW of electricity. It can power up to 50,000 homes. [TechCentral.ie]

¶ The Renewable Energy Association has called for “clear commitment and direction” from the next UK government on the Clean Growth Plan, despite the general election resulting in a hung parliament. Several results are still to be announced, but no single political party will have an overall majority following the 8 June vote. [reNews]

Houses of Parliament (Image: Free Images)

¶ UK renewable generation increased 4.2 GW in 2016, according to latest government figures. Solar PV capacity, much of it added in the first quarter of the year to beat subsidy cuts, was up by 2.4 GW. A further 1.4 GW of onshore wind was added to the mix while bioenergy increased 345 MW, driven mainly by straw-fired plants. [The Energyst]

¶ The UN’s 193 nations issued an urgent call to protect oceans by reversing the threats from plastic garbage, illegal and excessive fishing, increasing ocean water acidity, and rising sea levels that could wipe out small islands. The US backed the action plan but rejected its support for the Paris agreement to tackle climate change. [The Japan Times]

Sri Lankan beach

US:

¶ Hawaii is the first state in the nation to enact legislation that implements portions of the Paris agreement. Governor Ige signed SB 559, which puts the state in alignment with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris agreement. The governor also signed HB 1578, which establishes a Carbon Farming Task Force. [The Rafu Shimpo]

¶ Rising sea levels are already forcing one American town to relocate, and there are warnings that many others will follow. The US Government announced this year it would pay $48 million to help residents of Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, whose residents have been called the first climate refugees in the country. [NEWS.com.au]

Roads leading into Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana
(Photo: Louisiana Office of Community Development)

¶ Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is expected to sign Assembly Bill 405. It seeks to revive net metering in the state, a program essentially gutted by state utility regulators under the direction of the 2015 Legislature. Solar installers Vivint Solar and Sunrun pulled out of the state after the net-metering change, but are now planning to return. [Las Vegas Sun]

¶ The community on Tangier Island, with 450 residents, is losing roughly 15 feet of coastline per year and will soon be lost. It is now only 1.3 square miles and is shrinking more and more every day. The residents here are extremely scared that if something isn’t done soon, their homes and livelihoods will be washed away by the Chesapeake Bay. [CNN]

Tangier, Virginia

¶ In partnership with developer Clean Energy Collective, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co has launched what the utility claims is the state’s largest community solar program. SCE&G says the 16-MW AC program will make solar generation available to electric customers who cannot, or do not wish to, install rooftop solar panels. [Solar Industry]

¶ Toshiba Corp said it agreed to pay $3.68 billion in guarantees to Southern Co over two unfinished nuclear reactors that were being built by the conglomerate’s now-bankrupt nuclear unit. Toshiba projects its group net loss to have widened considerably to a record ¥950 billion ($8.61 billion) in the year ended in March. [The Japan Times]

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June 9 Energy News

June 9, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ China has released a massive solar-powered drone. The drone has a 40-meter wingspan but weighs only 400 kilograms. The superlight drone is designed to stay in constant flight at 20,000 meters for days by using renewable energy to power its eight electrical propellers. It can travel up to speeds of 200 kilometers per hour! [Interesting Engineering]

Chinese drone (China Daily image)

¶ There are no specific guidelines in the US for the ability of offshore wind turbines to withstand storms. Offshore wind turbines built to current standards may not be able to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds, according to a new study done by the University of Colorado at Boulder in collaboration with the US DOE. [Science Times]

Process Safety and Environmental Protection published a study that demonstrates the viability of using anaerobic digestion in a low-temperature (20° C) environment to convert solid food waste into renewable energy and organic fertilizer. Globally, more than 1.3 billion tonnes of municipal waste are created each year. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Waste from food to be used for energy

World:

¶ Australian households would save about $90 a year on their electricity bills under the Clean Energy Target proposed by the Finkel review of the electricity sector, compared to a business-as-usual scenario for it. The review argues Australia has a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to reshape the national electricity market. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Dong Energy is to integrate a battery system into its 90-MW Burbo Bank offshore windfarm near Liverpool. The 2-MW battery system will deliver frequency response to the grid and is set to be installed by the end of the year. Burbo Bank will be the first offshore windfarm to have an integrated battery system. [Energy Voice]

Burbo Bank offshore wind farm

¶ Only four months after the company unveiled its 9-MW wind turbine, MHI Vestas (a collaboration between parent companies Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Vestas Wind Systems) unveiled a 9.5-MW wind turbine in its V164 series. It is the “most powerful serially-produced wind turbine in the world,” according to MHI Vestas. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Plans to build a 178-acre solar farm in the Hampshire countryside have been given the green light. The Woodington Farm will be one of the biggest in the UK. It will – it is claimed – provide power for around 9,000 homes. The land within the perimeter fencing would also be managed by sheep grazing to keep grass down. [Daily Echo]

Hampshire solar farm

US:

¶ North Carolina will ignore Trump’s decision and honor the Paris deal, Governor Roy Cooper said. He signed an open letter joining more than 1,000 other public officials and business leaders, including the governors of California, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Hawaii. [Morganton News Herald]

¶ Intrepid Travel, the largest carbon-neutral tour company in the world, announced that it’s going to double its carbon offset contribution this year on all 68 of its tours that run in America. The pledge was taken in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to a company press release. [Metro US]

Intrepid Travel photo

¶ El Paso Electric has powered up the largest community solar grid in the state of Texas. The community solar facility is located next to an existing natural gas generating facility. It sits on 21 acres, which makes it hard to miss, and has a maximum output of 3 MW of power thanks to the whopping 33,000 solar panels in the “farm.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new solar energy farm has gone into operation behind the Hillside Commerce Park in Niskayuna, New York, generating power that will be used by Schenectady County government. The 792,480-watt array on 3 acres of county-owned land was installed in the industrial park by Monolith Solar Associates, of Rensselaer. [The Daily Gazette]

Niskayuna PV array

¶ A strange thing appears to be happening in North Carolina. State legislators are actually working together on a bill that could significantly boost the solar industry. Perhaps even more remarkable than a sudden rash of bipartisanship, is that the bill has the backing of both Duke Energy and a wide range of environmental groups. [Treehugger]

¶ National business groups representing the geothermal, solar, and wind-power industries sent a letter to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval asking him to sign bill AB206, expanding the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 40% renewable energy by 2030. Nevada’s current RPS target calls for 25% renewable energy by 2025. [Windpower Engineering]

Nevada renewable energy

¶ General Mills announced that it has entered into a 15-year power purchase agreement with Renewable Energy Systems for 100 MW of power from the energy firm’s Cactus Flats wind project in Texas. The Minneapolis, Minnesota food company will also help fund construction of the Cactus Flats project. [Powder Bulk Solids]

¶ Almost a year after New York became the first state to approve subsidies for unprofitable nuclear reactors, efforts to replicate the model elsewhere are proving a tough sell. Lawmakers failed to pass a Connecticut bill designed to shore up the Millstone nuclear plant. And supporters of state aid are struggling in Ohio and Pennsylvania. [Bloomberg]

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June 8 Energy News

June 8, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A CityTree is, in fact, not really a tree at all – it’s a moss culture growing on a mobile installation. It is just under 4 meters tall, nearly 3 meters wide and 2.19 meters deep. It is available in two versions: with or without a bench. Its maker, Berlin-based Green City Solutions, claims it has the environmental benefit of up to 275 actual trees. [CNN]

CityTree

World:

¶ The electricity grid in Western Australia will be unrecognizable in 20 years, according to the operator of the east coast National Electricity Market. The NEM chairman cites declining costs of renewable generation, climate change policy, and unwillingness of banks to finance fossil fuel investments, all of which work against coal. [The West Australian]

¶ At midday on June 7, gas power plants generated just 20% of the UK’s electricity, and coal plants generated none. The amount of power from fossil fuels was surpassed by not only wind power, but nuclear and solar as well. Renewables alone – wind, solar, biomass and hydro – produced about 50.7% of the total demand, a record amount. [The Independent]

UK windfarm

¶ Vietnam’s TTC Group, a sugar, energy, real estate, and tourism conglomerate, is planning to spend as much as $1 billion on an ambitious plan to build one of the country’s largest portfolio of solar projects in an effort to capitalize on the nation’s growing power needs. The company expects to have 10 to 20 solar parks in operation by 2018. [Bloomberg]

¶ This week the UN is hosting its first large-scale conference devoted to protecting and saving the oceans. For small island countries, the ocean can be an imposing and valuable friend, but increasingly, with climate change, pollution, and overfishing, humans have transformed the gigantic oceans of the planet into rising, junk-filled threats. [CNN]

Kiribati, in the central Pacific

¶ At the UN oceans summit, delegates from China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines said they would work to keep plastics out of the seas. Environmentalists say the measures proposed are not nearly urgent enough. But UN officials praised the statement as part of a clear international shift against ocean pollution. [BBC]

¶ Vestas is to supply turbines totaling 50 MW to Aluar Aluminio Argentino. The El Llano wind farm is close to Aluar’s aluminium smelting facilities in the Argentine province of Chubut. The order is for 14 V126 3.45 machines optimized to 3.6 MW, to be delivered in the fourth quarter. Commissioning is scheduled for the third quarter of 2018. [reNews]

V126 wind turbine (Credit: Vestas)

¶ German power companies stand to get billions in refunds from the government after the country’s top court declared a nuclear fuel tax illegal. The Constitutional Court ruled that the nuclear fuel tax imposed from 2011 to 2016 was unconstitutional and scrapped it retrospectively. The tax has come to nearly €6.3 billion. [The Local Germany]

¶ The recent joint statement by Germany, Denmark, and Belgium on building offshore wind farms in the next decade aims to increase Europe’s current capacity by almost 500%. In theory, this new decision means offshore wind could power up to 25% of the EU by 2030. The current capacity of EU offshore wind power is 12.6 GW. [IFLScience]

Offshore wind farm (Chuyuss | Shutterstock)

US:

¶ GTM Research, with the Energy Storage Association, published its latest US Energy Storage Monitor. The US had its largest ever quarter for energy storage deployment, deploying 234 MWh worth of energy storage across the first quarter of the year, representing a more than fifty-fold growth as compared to the same quarter a year earlier. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Santa Barbara has become the 30th city in the country to commit to transition to 100% renewable energy, according to the Sierra Club. The city council approved a measure that establishes a community-wide goal of switching to 100% renewable energy by 2030, with all municipal buildings and operations 50% clean by 2020. [North American Windpower]

Santa Barbara

¶ Vermont may be able to avoid expensive electrical grid upgrades by increasing the use of technological solutions and in particular efficiency, according to speakers at an industry conference in Burlington. Managing peak demand will be especially important, as electric vehicles proliferate and reliance on fossil fuels for other purposes is cut. [vtdigger.org]

¶ The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will reconsider a $2.2 billion natural gas investment plan, instead signaling that the largest publicly-owned utility in the country will first look to renewable resources to meet demand. The Board of Water and Power Commissioners is putting projects on hold while analysis is conducted. [Utility Dive]

Natural gas plant (Credit: Alan Stark | Flickr)

¶ Minnesota Power, with Dairyland Power Cooperative, based in Wisconsin, will build a $700 million gas-fired power plant in Superior, Wisconsin. The Duluth-based utility also announced it would buy power from a big new wind farm in southwestern Minnesota. The moves are part of Minnesota Power’s drive to diversify from coal. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ A Penn State College of Medicine study linked the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant on March 28, 1979, to thyroid cancers in the surrounding counties. The researchers found a “shift in (thyroid cancer) cases to cancer mutations consistent with radiation exposure from those consistent with random causes.” [CleanTechnica]

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June 7 Energy News

June 7, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Renewable Energy Push Is Strongest in the Reddest States” • Two years ago, Kansas repealed a law requiring that 20% of the state’s electric power come from renewable sources by 2020. But by the time the law was scrapped, that target had already been met. Last year, Kansas generated more than 30% of its power from wind. [New York Times]

The Smoky Hills Wind Farm outside Lincoln, Kansas
(Credit: Christopher Smith for The New York Times)

¶ “Energy security is possible without nuclear power or fracked gas” • Here’s a fact you won’t have heard from the main parties during the UK’s election campaign: the nation doesn’t need a new generation of expensive nuclear reactors or a dash for shale gas to keep the lights on. An all-renewable electricity supply can provide energy security. [New Scientist]

World:

¶ The governments of Belgium, Denmark and Germany and several industry leaders have signed a joint statement to further the development of offshore wind in Europe, including a call for at least 4 GW a year of new deployment after 2020. The governments made their commitment at the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 event in London. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (Image: Pixabay)

¶ High winds have boosted power output and caused electricity prices in the day-ahead auction to plummet to new lows on May 7, according to energy market specialists EnAppSys. It said prices would go down to £1.60/MWh (0.2¢/kWh), which is a tenth of the usual cost overnight and represents a new record in the day-ahead auction. [reNews]

¶ Most Australians want governments to favor renewable energy over fossil fuels, and concerns about climate change are increasing, a new poll finds. The Lowy Institute survey found 81% of 1202 respondents wanted policymakers to focus on clean energy sources even if it costs more to ensure grid reliability. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Australian fossil fuels (AP photo)

¶ Emera Inc says it has submitted a competitive bid to deliver 900 MW of wind energy and hydro power from Atlantic Canada to Massachusetts by 2022. If successful, the main source of that power would likely be wind farms yet to be built in New Brunswick. Hydro power will be included to be certain of constant supply. [CBC.ca]

¶ A record 161 GW of renewable energy was added last year worldwide at a cost about £187 billion ($242 billion), but at a price 23% cheaper than it would have cost in the previous year. Denmark, Egypt, India, Mexico, Peru and the United Arab Emirates are all now receiving supplies at less than 5¢/kWh, “well below” fossil fuels and nuclear. [The Independent]

Wind turbines near Brueck, Germany (Getty Images)

¶ With President Donald Trump pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord, China and California have signed an agreement to work together on reducing emissions, as the state’s governor warned that “disaster still looms” without urgent action. Governor Jerry Brown said Trump’s decision will ultimately prove only a temporary setback. [Reading Eagle]

US:

¶ We Are Still In is a group of 125 mayors, nine governors, 183 university presidents, and 902 businesses, including Apple, Google, Ikea, and Target. The group issued a declaration that they continue to support climate action. Many leaders believe that it will be possible to meet the US’s original pledge to reduce emissions, despite Trump. [Fast Company]

The withdrawal was a galvanizing moment.
(Photo: PatrickZiegler | iStock)

¶ The 2017 Annual Tesla Shareholder’s Meeting on June 6th produced news on Model 3, Model Y, and Tesla Semi, but also on more mundane business matters. One massive update was about the number of Gigafactories Tesla is planning. CEO Elon Musk shared that it is planning for at least 10 Gigafactories, but could build as many as 20. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US is falling behind other countries in advanced energy technologies, threatening national security and undermining its global influence, former generals and admirals in the US military warn. The military officers’ conclusions follow warnings from businesses about the decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. [Financial Times]

Chinese workers checking PV modules (© AFP)

¶ Columbia, Missouri, is continuing to diversify its renewable energy sources by approving the cheapest wind power purchase the city has made so far, with an estimate initial cost of about $21/MWh. The Columbia City Council unanimously approved the contract to purchase up to 35 MW of wind energy beginning in 2021. [Columbia Missourian]

¶ Since President Trump took office, at least six coal-plant closures have been announced, totaling more than 6,200 MW in capacity. As he announced withdrawal from the Paris agreement, he hailed a new mine opening in Pennsylvania, but that mine’s output will not be burned for power. It will be coking coal, for producing of steel. [Ars Technica]

Coking coal (Photo: Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg via Getty Images)

¶ President Trump convened Republican leaders at the White House for a conversation about their legislative agenda, largely on health care and the debt ceiling. But during the meeting Trump also suggested his border wall could be built with solar panels as a way to pay for it, according to sources familiar with the conversation. [CNN]

¶ As the first state to implement subsidies to support struggling nuclear power plants through zero-emission credits, New York has caught the attention of other states confronting similar challenges. New York’s strategy to save its dying nuclear power industry is now spreading to other states, alarming opponents of the plan. [City & State]

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June 6 Energy News

June 6, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “How Climate Change Will Disrupt Markets” • Renewable energy and climate change are often discussed in ideological terms, but there are worthwhile opportunities in companies that provide climate change mitigation and adaptation, including renewable power, batteries, energy efficiency, pollution control, and water treatment. [U.S. News & World Report]

Fossil-fuels facing disruption (Getty Images)

World:

¶ The UK is to become home to Europe’s largest battery flywheel system. It will provide fast acting frequency response services and aid the integration of renewables. The €4 million ($4.51 million) project will be connected to the Irish and UK grids to help respond to energy demand to stabilize the electric grid. [Energy Storage News]

¶ Swedish developer Waves4Power has delivered power for the Norwegian grid from its 250-kW WaveEL device redeployed off Runde island. The company said the full-scale demonstration installation is the first step towards commercial serial production slated for the Stryvo Group-owned Fiskaholmen shipyard in Norway’s Sunnmore region. [reNews]

Waves4Power device

¶ Indian company Adani has given final investment approval for construction of a huge coal mine in Australia. The Carmichael mine in Queensland will be built at a cost of A$16.5 billion (£9.5 billion; $12.3 billion), its chairman said. The government says the mine will generate investment, but critics say it will harm the environment. [BBC]

¶ The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, the Norwegian state’s Government Pension Fund Global, valued at a little over $900 billion, continues to divest from companies involved in the production of coal or coal-based energy. In April 2016, the fund announced it was excluding seven Indian companies from its portfolio. [Business Standard]

Thermal power plant

¶ Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has secured a contract to supply and install 16 direct-drive SWT-7.0-154 wind turbines on EnBW’s 112-MW Albatros offshore windpower plant in the German North Sea. The installation will be carried out on monopile foundations and the grid connection will use a Siemens offshore transformer module. [Power Technology]

¶ Natural Power, Fred Olsen Windcarrier, and SubC Partner have joined forces to offer an offshore wind turbine inspection service that aims to reduce downtime. The partners will officially launch the service at the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 event in London. It will allow clients to choose from a list of inspection services under one contract. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm (reNews image)

¶ Europe could have between 64 GW and 86 GW of installed offshore wind farm capacity by 2030, according to a report by BVG Associates, “Unleashing Europe’s offshore wind potential: A new resource assessment.” It said the projections mean between 8% and 11% of European electricity demand would come from offshore wind. [reNews]

US:

¶ New York’s attorney general alleges in new court documents that ExxonMobil’s internal accounting practices were a “sham,” misleading its investors on climate risks. The top prosecutor said that its internal figures differed from those it had provided the public, and his office named Rex Tillerson, now US Secretary of State. [Environmental Leader]

ExxonMobil plant

¶ Morgan Stanley believes Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement changes nothing on the ground. When he decided to go ahead and announce the US withdrawal, it was probably to “appease a support base, as opposed to remaining neutral by taking no action.” Nevertheless, the bank cited some risks from the position. [ValueWalk]

¶ Two new solar installations on Tufts’ Grafton campus will generate 40% of Cummings School’s electric power and are expected to save the university up to $5.3 million over the next 20 years. The installations cost the university nothing, according to Betsy Isenstein, who manages the project for Tufts’ operations division. [Tufts Now]

Solar panels on the Grafton campus (Photo: NRG Energy Inc)

¶ In the weeks leading up to the Trump Paris pullout, energy watchers were already alarmed by a forthcoming US Energy Department grid study that seemed intended to justify the case for coal before it even got under way. Meanwhile, various branches of the same agency have been pitching solar and wind like there’s no tomorrow. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An unconventional approach to grassroots organizing in Wisconsin’s capital city has in recent years tipped incumbent utility Madison Gas & Electric toward policies that favor consumers and renewables. This represents a distinct shift in a state held back for years by entrenched monopolies with outdated business plans. [CleanTechnica]

Repower Madison

¶ The Bullrock Corporation of Shelburne, Vermont, received a Certificate of Public Good to construct the state’s largest solar array intended for consumption by Vermonters. The 5.7-MW project will be built on 57 acres in Grande Isle leased from Dream Weaver Farm, allowing the farm to remain in agriculture and avoid development. [Vermont Biz]

¶ An intense lobbying campaign by Dominion Energy has failed to find the votes in the Connecticut General Assembly for legislation to improve the profitability of its Millstone Nuclear Power Station by changing the rules for procuring electricity. “[The bill is] dead. It’s a toxic brand now, literally radioactive,” one legislator said. [Hartford Business]

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June 5 Energy News

June 5, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “China steps up clean energy generation efforts” • China already has the world’s largest clean energy capacity, and in 2015, the country’s investment in clean energy exceeded $100 billion, accounting for one-third of the world’s total, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. And more investment is pouring in. [Global Times]

Fish farming and solar power (Photo: CFP)

¶ “On Climate, China Should Think Small” • If China truly is to lead the world in promoting renewables, it’s going to have to think small as well as big. The real opportunity is to push innovative greentech, especially the type that fits on a rooftop. Tens of millions of Chinese households already have rooftop solar installations. [Bloomberg]

¶ “2 GW of ‘strong, consistent’ wind power close at hand: Offshore Energy chief” • Offshore Energy managing director Andy Evans gives EcoGeneration a quick profile of what he hopes will be Australia’s first offshore wind farm. One of the key reasons for Australian interest in offshore wind power is its high capacity factor. [EcoGeneration]

Offshore wind (shutterstock image)

¶ “ITC ruling is a clear and present threat to US renewables” • The US government recently made two announcements that are threats to the country’s solar industry. One was that the US would withdraw from the Paris agreement. But an investigation by the US International Trade Commission of imports of solar panels is a more serious threat. [Financial Times]

Science and Technology:

¶ An unprecedented number of solar fuels have been identified thanks to the combined efforts of researchers from Caltech and Berkeley Lab. Solar fuels are chemical fuels produced using the sun. Researcher John Gregoire explained, “Solar fuels technology will provide us clean fuels just as solar cells provide clean electricity.” [Power Technology]

Solar fuel researcher John Gregoire

Scientific American asked Eric Rignot, professor of earth system science at the University of California, Irvine, and Andrea Dutton, assistant professor of geology at the University of Florida, how changes in the Arctic are driving the oceans to dangerous heights. The answer goes beyond land-based glaciers melting. [Scientific American]

World:

¶ Some of India’s biggest solar equipment makers are facing financial collapse, priced out by Chinese competitors as Prime Minister Modi’s government prioritizes cheap power over local manufacturing despite his ‘Make in India’ push. India’s huge renewable energy program created a multi-billion-dollar market for Chinese solar product makers. [Livemint]

Solar array in India

¶ Indian solar power developers are bullish on the clean energy and hopeful of tariff coming down to as low as ₹1.5 per unit (2¢/kWh) on falling equipment cost and cheaper credit with assured purchase pacts. The solar power tariff has already hit a low of ₹2.44 per unit, already mainly due to lower equipment and borrowing costs. [Business Standard]

¶ WWF Scotland’s analysis of renewables found wind turbines alone provided 863,495 MWh of electricity to the National Grid during May. The figure, environmentalists say, is enough to supply the average electrical needs of 95% of Scottish households. It is also an increase of almost 20% compared with May 2016. [The Scotsman]

Whitelee Windfarm (Photo: John Devlin)

¶ The Queensland Labor government unveiled a $1.6 billion plan to unlock thousands of megawatts of large-scale wind, solar, and pumped-hydro energy projects in the state, including a reverse auction for up to 400 MW of renewables and 100 MW of energy storage. Queensland is committed to 50% renewable electricity by 2030. [Renew Economy]

¶ Going green, Indian Railways is stepping up efforts to reduce emission by 33% in the next ten to twelve years through energy efficiency measures and maximum use of clean fuel. Indian Railways is twelve times more energy efficient in freight traffic and three times more efficient in passenger traffic, compared to roadways. [Livemint]

Indian Railways (Ramesh Pathania | Mint)

¶ A proposed energy U-turn by South Korea’s new government would put the environment at the center of energy policy, shifting one of the world’s staunchest supporters of coal and nuclear power towards natural gas and renewables. If put in place, the ambitious plans will have a big impact on coal and gas producers. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

US:

¶ There’s too much momentum in the nation’s clean-energy economy for President Trump to shut it down, energy experts say. The Republican-dominated city of Carmel, Indiana, has committed to 100% renewable energy in 20 years, Mayor Jim Brainard said in a conference call. Work on the plan began long before the Paris Accord. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Bus exhaust distorting a flag (Photo: David McNew, Getty Images)

¶ In Nevada, the push toward renewable energy that has gained steam in recent years is unlikely to be slowed by President Donald Trump’s announcement this past week to pull the United States from the Paris climate accords. In fact, all indications are the growth in wind, solar and hydro energy production is likely to accelerate. [News3LV]

¶ US Energy Secretary Rick Perry reassured Japan that America is committed to tackling environmental issues and promoting clean energy even though it is leaving the Paris climate accord. Perry told Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko in Tokyo that the US commitment to environmental issues remains unchanged. [The Japan Times]

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June 4 Energy News

June 4, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “America Is Acting Like a Rogue State, So We Must All Stand Up for What’s Right” • We knew what was coming. So why did the whole event leave me feeling physically sick and scared to my core? It must have been the sight of Trump’s Breitbart mentors lined up in front of him, all satisfied as he threw his bomb out to the world. [Common Dreams]

Protesters at the White House (Photo: AP)

Science and Technology:

¶ One of the most potentially deadly effects of climate change has been largely undiscussed: an increase in the spread of dangerous epidemics and the risk of a global pandemic. The interactions between climate change and disease are hard to predict with certainty, but the scientific linkages between them are unmistakable. [MetroWest Daily News]

¶ In March 2017, when Arctic sea ice is typically at its maximum winter extent, circling US satellites recorded an extent of just 5.57 million square miles, the lowest maximum in the record’s 38-year history. Now, due to budget cuts, the 38-year continuous US Arctic satellite monitoring program is about to end, leaving scientists blind. [The Wire]

Satellite measuring sea ice (US Air Force image)

World:

¶ US withdrawal from the Paris climate deal can potentially elevate India to a leadership role in the global fight against climate change and sharpen investor focus on the government’s program to build massive renewable energy capacity. The government is working to build 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. [Times of India]

¶ Prime Minister Modi vowed that India will go “above and beyond” the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Speaking at a news conference with French President Macron, Mr Modi described the agreement as part of “our duty to protect Mother Earth.” He has criticized President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord. [BBC]

Narendra Modi and Emmanuel Macron (Reuters)

¶ South Australia is seeking final proposals for its battery storage tender from candidates short-listed from the more than 90 expressions of interest received last month. Many developers, analysts, and utilities are saying that battery storage, combined with renewable energy such as wind and solar, is cheaper than existing gas-fired generation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Solar power is rising again in the UK. Once only for the very well-off, rooftop solar panels are suddenly within the reach of homeowners. Farmers with depleted land find it makes more sense to farm renewable electricity than sheep. Energy-intensive factories are easily persuaded to generate their own power to cut costs. [Telegraph.co.uk]

UK solar array (Tim Ireland | PA Wire)

US:

¶ Philanthropist Michael Bloomberg and others will dig into their own pockets to make sure the Paris climate agreement is met, no matter what happens in Washington. They pledged up to $15 million to the United Nations, the same amount the UN stands to lose from the United States’ early withdrawal from the climate pact. [9NEWS.com]

¶ US states accounting for almost 30% of national gross domestic product have pledged to meet the country’s commitments in the Paris climate agreement by joining the US Climate Alliance. The mayors of 187 US cities, with a total population of 52 million, have also agreed commitment to uphold the Paris agreement goals. [Financial Times]

Melting polar ice

¶ Vermont will join the US Climate Alliance, a coalition of states intent on countering President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement. Late Friday afternoon, after lawmakers and environmental activists called for Vermont to play a part, Governor Phil Scott announced the state will also join. [Seven Days]

¶ Tesla’s solar roof is off to a good start, and that bodes well for the sprawling solar panel factory that the company plans to open in Buffalo later this year. Less than a month after the company started taking orders for their solar roof tiles, Tesla executives told analysts that the new product already is “sold out well into 2018.” [Buffalo News]

House with a Tesla solar roof (Rendering courtesy SolarCity)

¶ US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told CNN’s Jake Tapper, in an interview on “State of the Union,” that President Donald Trump does believe in climate change and that humans have a role in it. Haley’s comments are the closest acknowledgment by an administration official since Trump took office that the President. [CNN]

¶ Since 2009, companies working to build twin nuclear reactors in South Carolina have made nearly three dozen changes to the project that drove up costs by about $325 million, according to recently released records and a state agency tracking the work’s progress. The amount is only a fraction of the escalating costs of the $14 billion project. [The State]

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June 3 Energy News

June 3, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Green energy has a bright future – even without Trump” • President Donald Trump is trying to revive the coal industry and extend the lifespan of the oil business. But renewables like solar and wind power are still likely to thrive. Businesses and governments are shifting rapidly toward cleaner-burning fuels that are coming down in price. [Yahoo Finance]

Brooklyn Navy Yard (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

¶ “It must be a total coincidence that those who pushed Trump to ditch the Paris Agreement received donations from the fossil fuel industry” • It is a sad and painful reminder of the times in which we live that one of the most powerful men in the world can recklessly walk away from the single most important treaty that exists today. [The Independent]

¶ “Market Forces Are With Clean Energy, Not With Trump” • You want numbers proving that Trump is on the wrong side of history when it comes to climate change, the Paris agreement, and the battle between clean energy and dirty coal? We’ve got numbers for you. Nobody can turn back the tide of energy transformation. [CleanTechnica]

Energy transformation underway

World:

¶ GE Renewable Energy, global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power, and local Vietnamese partner the Phu Cuong Group have agreed to a $2 billion joint development agreement to develop, build, and operate the 800-MW Phu Cuong Wind Farm in the Soc Trang province of Vietnam. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Chile will consider increasing its 2050 renewable energy target to 100%, according to local reports. The nation’s current target is for renewable energy sources’ share of the country’s power mix to be 70% by 2050. But Chile may raise the target to 100% thanks to the falling cost of renewable energy and improvements in energy storage. [Climate Action Programme]

Chile

¶ Indian power utility Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation is set to auction 1.5 GW of solar power capacity. Prospective projects developers can bid for project sizes of one to 500 MW. The maximum tariff bid allowed will be ₹4.00/kWh (6.2¢/kWh), 64% higher than lowest solar power tariff in India, which was ₹2.44/kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ India’s energy and mines minister Piyush Goyal has challenged Germany and the city of Munich to a race with the ancient holy city of Varanasi to become the first large metropolis in the world to be 100% powered by clean energy. Goyal was speaking at the Indo-German Energy Forum at Intersolar Europe when he made the challenge. [PV-Tech]

Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges (Flickr | Lyle Vincent)

¶ The construction of the fifth and sixth units of India’s largest nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu will cost about ₹50,000 crore ($7.5 billion) with half of the amount being funded by Russia as loan. The project will take seven years to start generating electricity, according to the chairman of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. [Business Today]

US:

¶ Kansas City Power & Light Company announced it will soon retire six coal-fired generating units at the company’s Montrose, Lake Road and Sibley Stations. The utility announced in 2015 plans to either retire the coal units or convert them to alternative fuel sources, but emerging industry trends led the company to choose retirement. [Power Engineering Magazine]

KCP&L power plant

¶ Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US is likely to continue to reduce carbon emissions despite exiting the Paris climate agreement. The statement came during a photo-op with the Brazilian Foreign Minister. It was Tillerson’s first public statement on the Paris deal since President Trump said he would withdraw the US from the pact. [The Hill]

¶ Residents in Pittsburgh say it’s ironic that President Donald Trump name-dropped their city during his announcement on Thursday that the United States was pulling out of a global climate accord. After all, it’s stricter environmental regulations and clean energy policies that transformed their once “smoky city” into a beautiful place to live. [CNN]

Pittsburgh, before environmental regulations, in the 1950s

¶ Democratic state attorneys general – the same group that beat back President Donald Trump’s travel ban in court – are now turning their eyes to climate and environmental issues. As Trump announced the US’ exit from the Paris climate accord, several attorneys general had already begun discussing strategies to battle the administration. [CNN]

¶ Pattern Energy Group Inc has announced the opening of its 324-MW Broadview Wind power facility and the associated 35-mile 345-kV Western Interconnect transmission line. Broadview Wind is located in Texas and New Mexico, about 30 miles north of Clovis. It is delivering clean energy to California via Western Interconnect. [Windpower Engineering]

Broadview Wind

¶ New York State will seek bids for clean energy projects valued at up to $1.5 billion in a move the Cuomo administration says is aimed at expanding the state’s green energy economy after President Trump’s pulled out of the Paris climate accord. The state expects the investments to result in up to 40,000 clean energy jobs by 2020. [Newsday]

¶ New Hampshire Electric Cooperative began construction of what will be the largest solar electric array in the state, a 2-MW system that will provide its members a clean source of electricity on NHEC’s own distribution system. It is expected to be online by the end of 2017, producing enough power for about 600 homes. [The Laconia Daily Sun]

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June 2 Energy News

June 2, 2017

Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement:

¶ “China likely to lead climate initiatives as Trump quits global pact” • It’s not hard to imagine Chinese president Xi Jinping having a wry smile at both the decision by Donald Trump to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord and the global reaction. Xi is now free to accept the mantle of global leadership on climate action. [The Rakyat Post]

Mythology peddler Donald Trump (Credit: Reuters)

¶ “Trump climate deal pullout: The global reaction” • President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement has drawn strong reaction from a very few supporters and a great many opponents inside America and around the world. Here are statements from members of both groups. [BBC]

¶ “Paris climate deal: US firms criticise Trump move” • General Electric, Facebook, Goldman Sachs and Walt Disney and other corporate giants condemned the move. Tesla’s Elon Musk and Walt Disney’s Robert Iger both quit seats on White House advisory groups. Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein used his first ever tweet to condemn the move. [BBC]

Sunny day flooding in Miami due to rising seas
(Photo: B137, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ President Donald Trump may abandon US pledges to reduce carbon emissions, but global economic realities ensure he is unlikely to reverse the accelerating push to adopt cleaner forms of energy. Around the world, coal-fired power plants are being shuttered as governments and private companies invest billions in wind turbines and solar farms. [The Daily Times]

¶ US coal shares tumbled as President Donald Trump was said to be leaning toward exiting the Paris climate agreement. “You’d think everyone would be excited,” Michael Dudas, a coal analyst at Vertical Research Partners, said by phone on Wednesday. “But there’s red on my screen.” Wall Street sees more pressing matters facing coal. [Standard-Examiner]

Dying trees on Clingmans Dome due to invasive species
(USGS photo, Wikimedia Commons)

World:

¶ Electro Power Systems has completed a plug and play green microgrid for Italian utility Enel at a construction site in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Powered by a solar system with both hydrogen and lithium storage, the microgrid requires no diesel energy backup, making it emissions free, according to the Paris-based microgrid developer. [Microgrid Knowledge]

¶ The World Bank has announced that 45,000 people in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu are set to get access to renewable energy. Its board of executive directors had approved $4 million for the Vanuatu Rural Electrification Project II, which will be co-funded by the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program and the government of New Zealand. [CNBC]

Vanuatu (Stephan Roletto | Moment | Getty Images)

¶ Russia signed an agreement with the Indian government to build two new reactors for the Kudankulam nuclear power station in Tamil Nadu and said it would loan India $4.2 billion to help fund construction. The agreement to build reactors 5 and 6 at Kudankulam should help cement already close ties between the two countries. [WION]

¶ The first serious proposal for an Australian offshore wind farm will see up to 250 turbines built within a 574 square kilometer area off the coast of Victoria, if approved. Under the proposal, the wind farm would have a total capacity of at least 2,000 MW and provide about 18% of Victoria’s power usage, enough for 1.2 million homes. [The Guardian]

Offshore wind farm (Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images)

US:

¶ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will continue to abide by the Paris climate accord regardless of Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement to reduce carbon emissions. He and the governors of California and Washington state will lead a new alliance of states supporting the Paris agreement. [Lockport Union-Sun & Journal]

¶ More than 100 supporters attended a dedication ceremony for Duke Energy Renewables’ Frontier Wind Power Project, a 200-MW facility in Oklahoma. It produces enough electricity to power about 60,000 average homes. Vestas supplied 61 V126-3.3 MW turbines with 126-meter rotors, its largest to date in the US. [North American Windpower]

Duke wind farm

¶ Changing from coal to solar energy could prevent over 51,000 premature deaths a year, a study from Michigan Technological University suggests. Around 200,000 people die each year from air pollution in the US and 52,000 of those deaths are from power generation. The eastern US and the Midwest have the most danger due to coal pollution. [Newsy]

¶ Nevada’s Ormat Technologies has finalized a 150-MW power purchase agreement to provide energy from nine geothermal plants to the Southern California Public Power Authority. Energy will be sold to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power at a fixed price of $75.50 per MWh, starting in the fourth quarter of 2017, Ormat said. [reNews]

Ormat geothermal plant (Credit: Ormat)

¶ Somerville, Massachusetts, will start a new electricity bulk buying program for its ratepayers in July. Called Somerville Community Choice Electricity, the goal of the program is to reduce and stabilize the cost of electricity in Somerville and increase the share of renewable “green” energy in Somerville’s electricity supply. [Wicked Local Somerville]

¶ Energy storage services company Greensmith Energy, E.On Climate and Renewables, and Tucson Electric Power inaugurated the Iron Horse Battery Energy Storage Project. The 10-MW/2.5-MWh energy storage system will provide frequency response and voltage control along with integration for a 2-MW solar array. [Electric Light & Power]

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June 1 Energy News

June 1, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ The urban heat island effect makes cities notably hotter than surrounding areas because of heat radiating from buildings and roads that have baked in the sun. It will more than double the city-level costs of dealing with rising temperatures caused by anthropogenic climate change over the coming century, a study says. [CleanTechnica]

New York

¶ There has been an important development in the big crack cutting across the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The fissure, which threatens to spawn one of the biggest icebergs ever seen, has dramatically changed direction. The rift has propagated a further 16 km, and the calving of the iceberg could now happen very soon. [BBC]

¶ The world’s first commercial facility that extracts carbon dioxide from the air and resells it for commercial purposes has opened in Switzerland. The carbon dioxide will be sold and used to grow lettuce. This technology could help cut 1% of global fossil fuel emissions by 2025, according to Climeworks, the system’s developer. [Live Science]

Climeworks carbon dioxide capture system (Credit: Julia Dunlop)

World:

¶ More than 47 GW of new wind capacity is expected to be installed across Latin America over the next decade according to analysis from MAKE Consulting’s 2017 Latin America Wind Power Outlook. Mexico, Argentina, and Chile are all expected to offset somewhat an expected decline in Brazilian wind power construction efforts. [CleanTechnica]

¶ German renewable power project developer BayWa re has acquired hybrid solar-diesel plant startup company OneShore Energy, which specializes in the analysis, planning, operation, and optimization of both diesel plants and solar-diesel hybrids. BayWa re said the deal will further expand its commitment to off-grid solutions. [Decentralized Energy]

Photovoltaics

¶ Canadian Solar, one of the world’s leading solar PV makers, announced this week that it will be providing 268 MW of solar modules to the 800-MW third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Completion of the third phase is expected to be sometime in 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A Dutch company says its project combining wind power and energy storage is the first of its kind in The Netherlands. Alfen, based in Almere, installed its 1-MWh battery storage solution at the 9-MW Giessenwind wind farm in the town of Giessenburg. Giessenwind has three turbines and powers around 5000 households. [Power Engineering International]

Alfen battery system

¶ The Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced regulations to reduce methane emissions and air pollution from Canada’s oil and gas sector. California, Colorado, and North Dakota have already adopted such regulations. Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is also toxic to human health and contributes to smog. [MRO Magazine]

US:

¶ Enel Green Power North America, Inc, acting through its subsidiary Rock Creek Wind Holdings, signed a tax-equity agreement worth about $365 million for the 300-MW Rock Creek wind farm in Missouri. It is already under construction and is expected to begin operation this year, generating about 1,250 GWh annually. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind turbines in the Midwest

¶ Shareholders in ExxonMobil have backed a motion requiring the company to assess the risks from climate change. The plan, proposed by investors including the Church of England, was supported by over 62% of those eligible to vote. Exxon will now have to consider how global efforts to mitigate climate change will impact their business. [BBC]

¶ Construction of a solar project West Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, is now complete, and officials plan to celebrate Friday with a ribbon-cutting. The $100 million project promises to help energize Fort Hood for decades to come. An on-site solar system provides 15 MW of energy and an off-site wind facility provides 50 MW. [The Killeen Daily Herald]

Solar Panels at West Fort Hood (Army photo)

¶ Reports are that US President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw the US from Paris Climate Agreement after many long months of speculation. However, while some news outlets have all but confirmed the news, others suggest that the President has not yet made up his mind. (This story will be updated as news comes out.) [CleanTechnica]

¶ The owner of the coal-fired Cayuga power plant plans to build Upstate New York’s largest solar farm by covering roughly 75 acres next to the coal plant with PV panels. The solar farm would produce up to 18 MW, enough for about 3,100 households, Riesling Power officials said. The solar plant will cost about $25 million. [Syracuse.com]

Coal-fired Cayuga power plant (Finger Lakes Action Network)

¶ California took a potentially important step closer toward clean energy when the state Senate passed a bill mandating 100% renewable energy by 2045. Lawmakers voted 25 to 13 to pass SB 100, and it now heads to the Assembly. In recent years, several gas-fired and nuclear plants have shut down due to lack of demand. [Courthouse News Service]

¶ The coal-burning Hudson Generation Station, in Jersey City, New Jersey, is being disconnected from the electric grid, and will go dark for good. PSEG Power, the owner, is also closing a coal-burning plant near Trenton on the Delaware River. PSEG’s decision to shutter the two coal-fired plants mirrors a national trend. [NorthJersey.com]

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May 31 Energy News

May 31, 2017

World:

¶ Australia’s Great Barrier Reef lost nearly a third of its corals in the past year, officials said. Coral Surveys show that 29% of corals died in 2016. Researchers say that climate change is a significant driver behind the coral loss and experts have said the window is closing fast to cut the greenhouse gas emissions harming the reef. [BBC]

Bleached coral (Photo: ARC Center)

¶ National Grid has insisted it can cope with increasing amounts of solar in the UK’s energy mix as the technology set a new generation record last week. Ideal weather conditions swept the UK on May 26, when solar power supplied just under a quarter (24.3%) of the UK’s total demand, but National Grid says it can deal with that. [Clean Energy News]

¶ Under a new program, Uzbekistan plans to implement 810 renewable energy projects, for a total of $5.3 billion, by the end of 2025. In the next five years, 17,251 boilers are to be replaced, saving over 56.5 million cubic meters of natural gas. The country will increase renewable generating capacities from the current 12.7% to 19.7%. [AzerNews]

Wind power

¶ Australia could allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund carbon capture and storage projects under a proposal announced this week. Green and Labor parties pointed out that the move amounted to taking funds from renewable power projects to support fossil fuel power, which would not reduce net emissions. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Botswana state-owned electric utility Botswana Power Corporation is planning to build a 100-MW solar power plant at an unspecified location in Botswana in conjunction with the local Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security. The company is now seeking a potential partner for the project through an Expression of Interest. [pv magazine]

Botswana (Photo: Chris Parker)

¶ Solar Power Europe’s annual five-year outlook forecasts capacity additions in a range of 5.8 GW to 12.4 GW for this year, with the annual forecast range widening to between 8.1 GW and 27.3 GW by 2021. Solar additions across Europe plunged 22% on year in 2016 to just 6.7 GW, the lowest annual growth since 2009, it said. [Platts]

¶ India’s Ministry of Shipping is exploring the possibility of setting up 200 MW solar and wind energy projects on 1.5 lakh (150,000) acres of land at Kandla Port in Gujarat, the Union Minister for Shipping and Transport Nitin Gadkari said. The land is low cost and economically viable for investment in solar and wind projects. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Jawaharlal Nehru Port

US:

¶ ExxonMobil is seeking to fend off a shareholder rebellion over climate change, with major financial advisory firms BlackRock and Vanguard openly considering casting their votes against management on some key proxy resolutions at the annual meeting Wednesday. BlackRock said that climate disclosure is one of its top priorities. [Washington Post]

¶ The Three Mile Island nuclear plant, which experienced a partial reactor meltdown in 1979, spawning nationwide protests, will shut in 2019. Exelon Corp, which owns the facility, said the low cost of natural gas extraction had made nuclear-generated electricity unprofitable. Since 2013, six US nuclear plants have closed before their licences expired. [BBC]

Three Mile Island (Reuters image)

¶ A class-action lawsuit was filed against GM alleging that the company’s Duramax-equipped pickup trucks emit NOx pollutants at levels 2 to 5 times higher than legally allowed in the US, and that these vehicles do this by use of at least 3 illegal “defeat devices.” These allegations stem from on-road emissions testing done for the plaintiffs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Solar power is affordable for low income Americans. In one predominantly African-American neighborhood in San Diego, nearly half of the 192 homes have rooftop solar panels, and residents talk about what they can now afford. They were paying $200 and $300 a month in electric bills. Now they’re paying zero to $50. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

Broadway Heights, San Diego

¶ The share of US electricity generated by renewables has eclipsed earlier projections by the Energy Information Administration, according to the SUN DAY campaign. EIA projections published in 2012 suggested we would have had renewables generating 19.35% of our electricity in about the year 2057. We achieved that in 2017. [Solar Industry]

¶ The Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts, is extinguishing its boilers for the final time. When it does, coal will have all but disappeared from this six-state region of New England, with its 14 million people. Two small and seldom-used coal plants in New Hampshire will be all that remains of a once-mighty industry. [E&E News]

Brayton Point Power Station (Benjamin Storrow | E&E News)

¶ Xcel Energy cut carbon emissions 30% in 2016 while expanding its renewable energy portfolio. The company’s corporate responsibility report highlights Xcel’s transitions to cleaner energy sources and other benefits to the communities it serves, including energy efficiency programs, economic development, and energy assistance. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ Powin Energy entered into a contract with San Diego Gas & Electric to deliver a 6.5-MW/26-MW/h battery energy storage system in Escondido, California, subject to Public Utilities Commission approval. The system would improve reliability on the existing grid by optimizing the intermittent output of renewable energy. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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May 30 Energy News

May 30, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ A study by researchers working at the Materials, Science, and Technology Laboratory in Switzerland claims that particulate emissions from gasoline engines can be far greater than those from diesel engines. The research found the they can even emit more particulates than older diesels that were without particulate filters. [CleanTechnica]

Direct gas injection system (Credit: Bosch)

World:

¶ Kerala’s chief minister said the state has become the first in India to provide electricity to every home. To do this, it eased requirements like security deposits and land titles, and even mobilized funds from legislators to corporate sponsors for internal wiring of poor households, the electricity minister said in a phone interview. [Livemint]

¶ Acciona has switched on Spain’s first ever hybrid plant for storing energy generated by a grid-connected wind farm. The plant’s storage system consists of two batteries and is connected to a 3-MW wind turbine. The lithium-ion batteries feature Samsung SDI technology and will store energy produced by the wind turbine when required. [reNews]

Acciona batteries (Acciona image)

¶ A study of carbon and climate goals by a group of thirteen leading economists, supported by the World Bank Group, was published this week. It concluded that countries must work towards the goal of implementing a strong carbon price in the range of $40 to $80 per tonne of CO2 by 2020, and $50 to $100 per tonne by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Data released by the Clean Energy Council shows renewable energy provided 17% of Australia’s power demand in 2016 – its highest in more than half a century (since Snowy Hydro was completed). But the big mover is the growing share of solar. Its generation jumped 29% in the last year, and it accounted for 3.16% of the total 2016. [RenewEconomy]

Australian solar farm

¶ The government of the Indian state of Odisha has set a target to electrify at least 406 villages through solar power during 2017 after providing similar facilities to 1620 villages so far. Out of all the villages that have already been electrified with solar energy, 145 are located in remote areas inhabited by tribal populations. [The Indian Express]

¶ The report by the Clean Energy Council says 2016 was a year of recovery for the Australian renewables sector after uncertainty generated by the Abbott government’s review of the federal renewable energy target cost jobs and investment. Renewable energy provided 17% of Australia’s electricity in 2016, up from 14% the year before. [The Guardian]

Solar farm outside Canberra (Photo: Lukas Coch | AAP)

¶ SunPower, which is a majority-owned subsidiary of Total SA, announced that in the first round of France’s tender process for rooftop solar projects, the company will supply 64 MW of its high-efficiency SunPower® E-Series solar panels. A significant portion of the panels SunPower supplies will be made in France. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2017 report shows that as costs of solar and wind energy continue to fall dramatically, a total of 138.5 GW of wind, solar, and other renewable sources was installed worldwide last year. The report says this is up 8% from 2015, and clean power accounted for 55% of all new energy generation. [Proud Green Building]

Urban solar power (iStock photo)

¶ A project with 13 wind turbines will be built on land next to an existing Mid-Wales wind farm. Planning officers at Powys County Council have granted full permission for Carno 3 on land adjacent to Carno Wind Farm. The site will feature 13 wind turbines up to 126.5 meters to the blade tip and generate up to 39 MW of renewable power. [shropshirestar.com]

¶ In January, Taiwan’s parliament voted to phase out nuclear energy, which filled 14% of its power in 2015, by 2025. Now, global renewable energy companies are rushing to set up offshore wind farms, and investment applications filed with the government so far reached around NT$1.8 trillion (US$59.5 billion). [Nikkei Asian Review]

Wind turbines on Taiwan’s Penghu Island

US:

¶ Southern California Edison is offering people who drive a plug-in or electric car a one-time cash rebate of $450. What makes it different from other EV rebate programs is that it applies to second and third owners and those who lease cars as well. Typically, an EV rebate like the federal tax credit only helps new-car buyers. [CleanTechnica]

¶ While America’s slashed its coal-fired electricity generation by more than a third between 2006 and 2016, Nebraska raised its coal-fired power output by 6%, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. This was because coal-burning plants opened in 2009 and 2011, and the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant closed. [Bloomberg]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ At an energy conference in Wyoming, Goldwind Americas, the US arm of China’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, offered to provide free training to unemployed coal miners looking for work building wind power farms or as wind turbine technicians. Free retraining for unemployed workers is more than the state government offers. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A report from the International Renewable Energy Agency indicates that the job growth within the US solar industry is up to 17 times faster than that for any other industry in the country. So, contrary to political rhetoric in support of fossil fuels, the best source of jobs in the US is actually its competitor, the solar power industry. [EconoTimes]

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May 29 Energy News

May 29, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Utilities’ Biggest Threat Is Not Solar + Storage, It’s Their Own Greed” • Energy utilities are fully aware of the existential threat to their current business models presented by new technologies, particularly solar, storage, and smart software. But a far greater risk that dovetails with that threat is their own short-term greed. [CleanTechnica]

Poles and wires – sticks and strings

¶ “Trump + Russia Chaos Is Tiny Preview Of Carbon Bubble Popping” • The Trump & Russian chaos – no matter how extensive it is and where it goes – is a tiny preview of the massive disruption coming as the global carbon bubble pops. The quick collapse of the oil, gas, and coal industries will have disruptive and far-reaching effects. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ When Cornell University competed in 2011 to develop an applied science and engineering campus in New York City, part of its pitch was that it would construct an academic building that would be close to net zero for energy. It won. Now, with work well underway, the Bloomberg Center building is expected to be finished by September. [New York Times]

Bloomberg Center (Photo: Vincent Tullo)

¶ Low cloud cover in India, which is largely responsible for a good monsoon, has declined in most parts of the country over 50 years, a first-of-its-kind study by the India Meteorological Department, Pune, revealed. Climate experts said as the monsoon contributes to 70% of the country’s annual rainfall, and the decrease is a cause for concern. [Hindustan Times]

World:

¶ Canadian company Innergex Renewable Energy has started commercial operations at the 36.1-MW Rougemont 1 and 38.9-MW Vaite wind farms in France. The projects, which are located in Bourgogne-France-Comte, comprise GE turbines rated at 2.78 MW. For the next 15 years, all the electricity from the projects will be sold EDF. [reNews]

GE wind turbines (GE image)

¶ Following a study saying renewable energy, particularly solar, dominates rural Tanzania, there are now plans to open a training center. The director of the Innovative Technology and Energy Centre announced plans to open a training center for renewable energy technology in Arusha, Tanzania this August to train 1000 students per year. [ESI Africa]

¶ Russia is pressing ahead with its biggest-ever auction for renewable energy, seeking to award contracts to purchase 1.9 GW of clean electricity as well as attracting foreign investment. The government tender has attracted the interest of Fortum Oyj, Finland’s largest energy company. Enel SpA of Italy may also participate. [Bloomberg]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ According to data from India’s Central Electricity Authority, solar contributed about 13.5 billion units of electricity in FY 2016-17 – an increase of 81% roughly 7.4 billion units generated in FY 2015-16. Solar still only accounts for just over 1% of total electricity generated in India, but it is the country’s fastest-growing new power source. [pv magazine]

¶ Three in four Australians understand that climate warming poses a “catastrophic risk,” even as the Australian government turns a blind eye. According to a survey for the Global Challenges Forum, 84% of 8000 people surveyed in eight countries consider climate change a “global catastrophic risk.” The Australian figure was 75%. [RenewEconomy]

Climate risk (AAP Image | Dean Lewins, File)

¶ More than 12,000 solar jobs were lost in the UK solar industry after the government, which wanted to put money into nuclear power, slashed support in 2015. But Solarcentury has survived by turning outward to target markets in Latin America and Europe. Now the firm has 85% of its revenues coming from international markets. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Tribal lawmakers, federal agencies, and private industry are working to plan a future of Navajo Generating Station. A study commissioned by the coal supplier, Peabody Energy, says the plant would be economically viable through 2040. But separate reports by the plant’s owners and the Sierra Club and say that study is very wrong. [Arizona Daily Sun]

Navajo Generating Station (Associated Press photo)

¶ The coal-burning James River Power Station was built near water and railroads to provide power to Springfield, Missouri in 1953. Now, City Utilities took the first step in retiring the station. The power station’s oldest units have not been fired up since 2015 because they are inefficient, and the utility’s decision will shut the rest down. [Springfield News-Leader]

¶ A growing number of large Michigan businesses that want their electricity to come from renewable sources. Consumers Energy responded by filing a “Voluntary Large Customer Renewable Energy Pilot Program” with the Michigan Public Service Commission. The program is available to customers with a load of at least 1 MW. [MiBiz]

Powering sites like this Switch data center (Courtesy photo)

¶ 314 Action is a new organization working to promote pro-science issues in government and help science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals increase their numbers in politics. So far, 5,000 scientists across the country have responded and said they are willing to run for office, exceeding all expectations. [Voice of America]

¶ The Westinghouse Group filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on March 29, this year, and fabricators are watchful of the fallout. The Westinghouse bankruptcy has potentially disruptive effects on virtually all subcontractors working on nuclear power with which it does business, leaving them in doubt about their futures. [The Maritime Executive]

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May 28 Energy News

May 28, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Large coal plant closures reveal industry vulnerability” • The locals say that the coal industry will survive at a new normal, and economists say Wyoming coal mining will be the last to go down, but the state doesn’t dictate the market; it just provides the material. Across the country, big coal plants are getting too expensive to run. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

Power plant control room (Alan Rogers | Star-Tribune)

¶ “The eco guide to renewable energy” • Within three years the renewable energy revolution will make such economic sense that many passive electric customers turn into to energy creators, defecting from the grid, using solar, wind power, smart-demand response systems, and electric vehicles. Embrace the jolt, it will be huge. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ Faced with rising temperatures and a dearth of American leadership, scientists are investigating geoengineering ,  which would involve deliberate, large-scale interventions to cool the Earth’s climate. It can take many forms. Solar geoengineering is the most risky and controversial. One way to do it is to emulate the effects of volcanoes. [CleanTechnica]

Mount Pinatubo erupting (United States Geological Survey image)

¶ With climate change, increases in average annual temperatures that may seem small create conditions that dramatically elevate the risk and severity of forest fires, particularly in the American West. Long fire seasons, dry conditions, infestations killing vegetation, and lightning combine to produce dangerous conditions for fires. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Because the land is warming and a food supply is emerging earlier, some familiar bird species arrive from migrations too late to find enough food for their chicks. That’s the conclusion of a recent study of changes in spring “green-up” dates across North America and the arrival dates of spring migratory bird species in those areas. [The Columbus Dispatch]

Scarlet tanager (Jim McCormac, for the Dispatch)

World:

¶ Leaders of the G7 group of rich nations have failed to agree a statement on climate change. Six world leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris accord, the world’s first comprehensive deal aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions. However, the US has refused to recommit to the agreement, saying it will make a decision next week. [BBC]

¶ Global leaders have been urging President Trump to stay in the Paris climate accord during high level security and economic meetings in Italy. Pope Francis already made the case with a gift of his papal encyclical on the environment when Trump visited the Vatican earlier. Scientists explain what will happen if the US withdraws. [The Independent]

Bringing about climate change

¶ The United Arab Emirates received its first shipment of fuel to supply its first nuclear power plant that is under construction at Barakah, in Abu Dhabi. The Barakah nuclear power plant has received the requisite licences to transport, handle and store nuclear fuel from the United Arab Emirates’ Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation. [Gulf Digital News]

¶ India’s largest power generating utility, NTPC Ltd, is driving the energy transition from coal to solar. Apart from building its own portfolio of renewables, it is emerging as the key off-taker of solar power projects by private developers whose aggressive bids backed by overseas investments have made solar tariff cheaper than coal-fired generation. [Business Standard]

Solar power in India

US:

¶ The Natural Resources Defense Council says power generation through wind, solar, and geothermal is now up to 280,656 GWh nationwide and still growing quickly. That number is 7 times greater than it was just 10 years ago when the US produced 41,664 GWh of renewable energy. The biggest gains have come in just the last couple of years. [KMSP-TV]

¶ Hawaii Electric Light Company is putting a problem to the state’s Public Utilities Commission. If Hu Honua Bioenergy’s long-delayed biomass power plant went online by the end of 2018, the utility’s customers would see rate increases, according to an analysis of a proposed power purchase agreement it filed with the PUC. [Hawaii Tribune Herald]

The half-completed Hu Honua bioenergy power plant
(Hollyn Johnson | Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

¶ A “low point for the American environment,” a “dark and difficult time,” a period when the US EPA was in “chaos and despair.” Those could be contemporary descriptors, but they portray the Reagan presidency as captured by former Sen. George Mitchell in his book “World on Fire: Saving an Endangered Earth.” [Press Herald]

¶ Two fossil fuel industry groups dropped attempts to intervene in a federal court case over climate change this week after failing to reach an agreement on a unified legal position on climate science, court filings show. A group of teenagers is suing the US government for violating their constitutional rights by causing climate change. [The News International]

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