If it’s not Sustainable, its condition is Terminal.

March 1, 2015

geoharvey now has over 1000 daily posts,
with links to nearly 11,000 articles.

§ The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report. It is a distressingly dull digest of information from the NRC, posted most weekdays and Saturdays, most recently on February 27. Latest information is that out of 99 US reactors listed by the NRC, 11 were at reduced output and 8 not operating.

§ Vermont Yankee has notified the NRC that the reactor has been emptied. It no longer appears on the NRC’s list of active reactors.

§ Video: Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell – February 26

geoharvey is one of George Harvey’s Blogs.

March 1 Energy News

March 1, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans. As the ice sheets slowly thaw, water pours into the sea — 130 billion tons of ice (118 billion metric tons) per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations. That’s the weight of more than 356,000 Empire State Buildings. [Huffington Post]

World:

¶ Algeria is the leading natural gas producer in Africa and is the second-largest supplier of gas to Europe, but that is not slowing down the North African country’s plan to ramp up solar power generation. The country’s energy minister has announced a plan to install 13.5 GW of solar PV capacity by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Presenting the General Budget 2015-16 in the Indian Parliament, the Finance Minister said, “Our de-facto ‘Carbon Tax’ on most petroleum products compares favourably with international norms.” He said with regard to coal, there was a need to find a balance between taxing pollution and the price of power. [Day & Night News]
… It was widely expected that Budget 2015-16 would include a lot of goodies for the renewable energy sector. But apart from a passing mention of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s well-publicised target of 175,000 MW of renewable energy capacity, the Budget had absolutely nothing for the sector. [Hindu Business Line]

¶ The UK’s Liberal Democrats set out plans to double the UK’s production of renewable electricity by the end of the next parliament and make Britain zero carbon by 2050. They say they have already created a low-carbon, pro-renewable, and more energy secure nation less reliant on unstable regimes for energy. [Liberal Democrats]

¶ South Korea’s nuclear commission decided to extend the operations of the country’s second-oldest nuclear reactor till 2022 despite growing concerns over safety. The 679-MW Wolsong-1 reactor completed its 30-year life span in 2012 and was turned off. The decision will extend its life for 10 more years. [EastDay.com]

US:

¶ Although the Eureka, California, City Council voted to participate in the clean-energy financing program known as Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, in January, the council may take a second look after learning that the Federal Housing Financing Agency is actively opposing the measure. [Eureka Times Standard]

¶ A series of bills that would repeal New Hampshire’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Renewable Portfolio Standard are going before the New Hampshire House and Senate. The Governor Hassan indicated she will likely veto the RGGI bill but has not indicated any executive action on the RPS bills. [Seacoastonline.com]

¶ In an about-face from his first term, the governor of Wisconsin wants to eliminate funding for a University of Wisconsin-Madison renewable energy research center. He proposes cutting $8.1 million from a bioenergy program that was a key in landing one of the university’s biggest government grants ever. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

¶ Colorado rural electric cooperatives want state lawmakers to rewrite parts of a new state law that essentially requires them to produce 20% of their power from renewable sources. The co-ops have drafted Senate Bill 46, which doesn’t attack the 20% requirement, but would change some of the ways co-ops can reach it. [Pueblo Chieftain]


February 28 Energy News

February 28, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “We Could Be Turning the Corner on Climate Change” – Efforts to reduce carbon emissions appear to be starting to work, and the link between economic growth and energy consumption is breaking. For example, last year, coal consumption fell for the first time in China, by 2.9% from 2013. [SustainableBusiness.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ A redox flow battery designed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory more than doubles the amount of energy this type of cell can pack in a given volume, allowing it to rival lithium-ion batteries. If the device reaches mass production, it could find use in fast-charging transportation and grid storage. [Gizmag]

World:

¶ German’s Federal Network Agency, a government body, announced the country’s first tender for ground-mounted solar PV systems. The full order volume for the solar tender, which will be split into 3 annual rounds will reportedly be 150 MW. The highest bid will be set at 11.29 Euro cents per kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US-based renewable energy company Pattern Energy is partnering with the Mexican construction company Cemex to form a joint venture for developing projects in Mexico, according to recent reports. The plan is to build up to 1 GW in new project capacity to be developed via the joint venture. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ireland is aiming at 40% renewable energy by 2020, with most renewable electricity from large-scale wind farms. But some winter nights the Irish grid will have to take 75% of its electricity from renewable sources. A combined ultracapacitor & battery energy storage system could help meet that need. [ECOreport]

¶ Navigant Research has released a report stating that 696.7 MW of global energy storage projects (excluding pumped hydro) were announced in 2014–2015, with much coming in Q3 2014 to Q1 2015. North America had 436.4 MW of the total amount. There were over 800 storage projects reported. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Sweden’s state-owned Vattenfall has won a tender to build a 400-MW wind park off Denmark, with the first turbines scheduled to start supplying power in 2017. The agreed price of power is 10.31 euro cents per kilowatt-hour, 32% cheaper than in Denmark’s latest project, the ministry said. [The Maritime Executive]

¶ China’s coal consumption fell by 2.9% in 2014, according to newly released official Chinese energy data. The data confirm earlier projections of a fall in coal use and 1% reduction in Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning. An initial analysis suggests that equates to a 0.7% drop in overall emissions. [The Ecologist]

¶ A report from the International Renewable Energy Agency published in January confirms that onshore wind-generation costs are competitive with those of the fossil-fuel sources. The latter are in the $45-140/MWh range, wind comes in at an average $55/MWh. Irena also confirms that costs are falling. [Windpower Monthly]

¶ The Japanese nuclear watchdog body slammed TEPCO over its failure to disclose information on the leakage of radioactive rainwater into the sea from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. TEPCO disclosed high levels of radiation in a drainage ditch many months after they were found. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ The Vermont House has advanced a wide-ranging bill on a Renewable Energy Standard and Energy Transformation program, or RESET. The requirement would be that utilities get 55% of their power from renewable sources by 2017, ramping up to 75% by 2032. Some have met or exceeded those goals already. [Valley News]

¶ Massachusetts utility companies are preparing to buy enough renewable energy to power 136,000 homes under the major initiative announced for Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island on Tuesday. The companies may buy up to 817 GWh of electricity per year under a request for proposals. [Boston Globe]

¶ Less than a year into providing default electricity service to residents and businesses in Sonoma County, Sonoma Clean Power contracted with Pristine Sun to build up to 12.5 MW of new solar power. The venture represents the largest floating solar project in the US, and the second largest in the world. [Sonoma County Gazette]

¶ Ohio’s clean energy economy celebrated a big win this week. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio denied American Electric Power Company’s request for guaranteed profits to operate its aging, uneconomic coal power plants. The EDF was one of many parties opposed AEP’s proposal. [Environmental Defense Fund]

¶ NRG, one of the largest owners of fossil-fuel power plants in the US, plans to achieve “transformational growth” in its home solar customer base this year by expanding to between 35,000 and 40,000 customers from 13,390 at the end of 2014. The company had only 4,349 home solar customers in 2013. [pv magazine]


February 27 Energy News

February 27, 2015

World:

¶ The second Global Sustainable Investment Review report confirms that global sustainable investment reached $21.4 trillion by 2014, up from $13.3 trillion at the same time two years earlier. Sustainable investment now accounts for 30.2% of the professionally managed assets in the regions covered. [CleanTechnica]

¶ India’s renewable energy industry is likely to generate business opportunities worth $160 billion in the next five years, the Economic Survey said the day before a budget that is set to boost clean energy funding. The Prime Minister set clean-energy targets that include raising solar capacity to 100 GW by 2022. [Reuters India]

¶ BMW South Africa is considering wind and solar power options to make a production plant near Pretoria energy self-sufficient, hoping the factory will provide between 25% and 30% of its own energy needs by the middle of this year. Wind and solar power are two options for self-sufficiency. [Independent Online]

¶ Irish wind and solar energy company, Mainstream Renewable Power is set to develop a €2 billion windfarm off the Scottish coast. The company secured a 15-year contract for its 450-MW Neart na Gaoithe facility in the North Sea. The windfarm is expected to be commissioned and generating electricity by 2020. [Irish Examiner]

¶ Swift global action is needed to avoid the worst threats from a rapidly changing climate, the disasters brought by storms, floods, extreme temperatures, and their impacts on people and biodiversity, French President Francois Hollande warned during a climate change forum in the Philippines on Thursday. [InterAksyon]

¶ Three wind farms in Wales won financial support from the Government as part of the first auction for contracts for difference under the reform of the electricity market. The three are Clocaenog Forest and Mynydd y Gwair, both being developed by RWE Innogy, and Windpower Wales’ Brenig wind farm. [WalesOnline]

US:

¶ A bill in the Illinois legislature, to make changes to the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, might create 32,000 clean energy jobs, its backers say. The bill would support more solar power and improve energy efficiency. It would also increase the renewable energy standard from 25% by 2025 to 35% by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Energy storage capacity totalling over 1,500 kWh is be installed in intelligent energy storage/electric vehicle charging systems in five California school districts, colleges, and universities. Balancing their electricity supply will save up to $1 million over the life of their projects – with no upfront costs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ California-based Swinerton Renewable Energy is teaming with tracking solutions specialist Array Technologies to build a 104-MW solar park in Utah for Norwegian developer Scatec Solar. Power will be fed into the grid under a 20-year power purchase agreement with PacifiCorp’s Rocky Mountain Power. [pv magazine]

¶ If you haven’t installed solar panels on your roof because it’s too expensive, Google really wants to help. Google is once again boosting its investment in SolarCity’s residential solar power model by $300 million. SolarCity combined this with a new financing structure to produce a new fund worth $750 million. [ThinkProgress]

¶ Two farms, a real-estate office, a jewelry maker and an animal hospital are among the latest recipients of Rhode Island state grants for new solar projects. The funds are awarded by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund and were approved. Eight solar projects have received $1,137,000 in recent awards. [ecoRI news]

¶ Hints are emerging about how California’s investor-owned utilities might meet the governor’s goal of providing 50% renewable power by 2030. The CEO of California’s second largest electric utility says they want to claim rooftop solar, energy efficiencies, and electric vehicle charging stations in their portfolios. [U-T San Diego]

¶ Electricity users would have to pay a little extra to help cover costs of Exelon’s nuclear power plants under Illinois legislation. Exelon maintains the bill would save jobs and keep service steady and reliable. It would also have residential customers pay about $2 more each month to keep the nuclear plants running. [Chicago Tribune]

¶ A $3 billion deal will unite Iberdrola USA with UIL Holdings Co to create a massive power and utility company serving 3.1 million customers in New York, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. Iberdrola USA will pay $52.75 per share of UIL in a deal announced after the close of business Wednesday. [Portland Business Journal]

¶ Hawaiian Electric Co was generating about 21% of its power from renewable energy at the end of 2014. The utility said that it was generating about 39% of its power from a combination of renewable energy and efficiency measures when the year ended, up about 4 percentage points from a year earlier. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]


February 26 Energy News

February 26, 2015

World:

¶ The UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change awarded contracts worth more than £315 million to 27 projects. ScottishPower got one to build a 714-MW offshore wind farm, RWE Innogy GmbH won for three onshore wind projects totaling 166 MW, and Lightsource will build a 14.67-MW solar facility. [Bloomberg]

¶ Ground was broken for the 36.3-MW wind farm at Malvern, St Elizabeth forms part of a concerted push to reduce Jamaica’s $2-billion oil bill through the use of renewable energy. The project, at one of the most windswept points in the Santa Cruz Mountains, is being developed by BMR Jamaica Wind Limited. [Jamaica Observer]

¶ GDF Suez profits dropped last year amid falling oil prices, unusually warm weather in Europe and lower electricity prices, prompting the group to announce short-term restructuring measures. The plunge in oil and gas prices has had significant short term impact and is set to cost them €900m in 2015 profits. [Financial Times]

¶ Germany’s renewable energy production has been steadily growing, with a fourfold increase since 2000. Around 40 terawatt hours were generated with renewables 15 years ago and in 2014, the level was at 157.4 terawatt hours. But a study shows the potential of renewables is far from being fully exploited. [EurActiv]

¶ SunEdison, the world’s largest renewable energy development company, is planning to supply electricity to 20 million unserved people around the world. The initiative will be led by a company group focused on developing sustainable business models and technologies for renewable energy in rural areas. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ The European Commission has leaked a 19-page draft blueprint for an “energy union.” It is a grab bag of policies and proposals designed to transform the 28-member European Union into a more cohesive energy market. Despite its widespread appeal, the initiative shows fractures and double standards. [OilPrice.com]

¶ European transmission system operators have been preparing for an eclipse that will happen in March for several months, evaluating and attempting to mitigate risks. Some 35,000 MW of solar energy, the equivalent of nearly 80 medium size conventional generation units, will stop producing during the event. [Phys.Org]

¶ Fukushima fishermen appear to have finally run out of patience with TEPCO. They lambasted TEPCO at a meeting on February 25 over the utility’s failure for half a year to disclose the flow into the ocean of water contaminated with radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Under a new plan by governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, electric distribution companies will collaborate with state agencies on a bidding process for proposals for clean energy resources including wind, solar, small hydro, biomass, fuel cells and other low-carbon sources. [Lexington Herald Leader]

¶ Iberdrola Renewables, the owner and operator of the Blue Creek Wind Farm, along with Ohio State Senator Cliff Hite presented checks to Van Wert County, Ohio for more than $2,070,000, and Paulding County for $666,000. Iberdrola pays the counties $18,000 per year for each Iberdrola turbine they have. [Delphos Herald]

¶ The Department of the Navy announced the signing of a lease with Duke Energy that will allow the development of a large-scale, ground-mounted solar array at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The lease grants Duke Energy access to 80.65 acres of land at Camp Lejeune to develop a 17 MW solar PV array. [Camp Lejeune Globe]

¶ In Hawaii, the Big Island’s electric utility has asked Ormat Technologies to supply it with more geothermal power. The additional 25 MW will come from a new power plant at a new location, Hawaii Electric Light Co said Tuesday. The precise location has not yet been announced, under a nondisclosure agreement. [Thegardenisland.com]


February 25 Energy News

February 25, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ A major new study from Agora Energiewende says the cost reduction potential of large-scale solar is still not understood. It predicts that solar PV will be the cheapest form of power within a decade, and cost less than $0.02/kWh by 2050. The study says the end to cost reductions for solar is “not in sight.” [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ As part of its first major retrofit in 30 years, two custom-designed wind turbines have started generating power for the Eiffel Tower. Located above the World Heritage Site’s second level, about 400 feet off the ground, the sculptural wind turbines are now producing 10,000 kWh of electricity annually. [ThinkProgress]

¶ Africa’s first grid-connected biogas plant will begin supplying power by March 1. The $6.5 million Gorge Farm Energy Park anaerobic digester in Kenya will consume an annual 50,000 tons of organic waste sourced from a neighboring 1,977-acre farm owned by VegPro Group, one of the plant’s investers. [Starr 103.5 FM]

¶ The European Union will map out a plan for closer energy ties among its 28 nations, seeking to avoid supply risks highlighted by the crisis in Ukraine and to facilitate the planned shift to low-carbon economy. It will also present a plan on a global climate deal and a strategy for improving energy across Europe. [Bloomberg]

¶ The Abbott government’s efforts to scale back Australia’s renewable energy target have set the industry back 12 years in that country, its senators were told by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in a hearing. And the government has told senators it will still pursue the abolition of the CEFC. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Australia has some of the highest electricity prices in the world due to an overbuild of network infrastructure. Solar power installers there say the cost of batteries is the only thing holding back more widespread consumer grid defection in the residential sector. And household solar installations are booming. [RenewEconomy]

¶ A hydro scheme, the first in Scotland to be financially supported by a community group, has been switched on. The 469 kW development on the remote Abhainn Shalachain river near Lochaline, on the shores of the Sound of Mull, is now generating income for local residents on the Morvern peninsula. [Scotsman]

¶ The UK’s renewable sources of energy like wind turbines could soon generate more electricity than nuclear power stations. Nuclear power is in a slow decline from its peak of 25% in 1995 to its current 19%. The contribution of renewables more than doubled from 6.8% in 2010 to 14.9% in 2013, and it continues to grow. [New Scientist]

US:

¶ According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas wind energy provided 6.2% of the state’s share of electricity in 2009, a figure which has since grown to 10.6% in 2014. In terms of annal power production, Texas windpower has grown from 19.9 million MWh in 2009 to 36.1 million MWh in 2014. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As Tulare County, California, has grown into the top dairy producing county in the United States, there’s a lot of cow poop to deal with. A new plant in Calgren is now making ethanol for blending with gasoline from all that manure. The plant’s process also extracts water that can be used by local farmers for crops. [Sustainablog]

¶ President Barack Obama, exercising his veto power for the first time in five years, rejected on Tuesday a measure green-lighting the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. It is unlikely GOP lawmakers will be able to reverse Obama’s veto, as that would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber. [CNN]

¶ Essex Capital Partners, based in Massachusetts, and Sunpreme Inc, a US-based solar cell manufacturer, completed 90 day post commissioning of a 2.6 MW ground mount solar system in Barton, Vermont. The system will generate 3,400,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to serve over 1,500 homes. [Your Renewable News]

¶ SunEdison Inc, a US solar panel maker and project developer, expects its annual installations to more than double this year. The company intends to complete solar and wind power facilities with 2,100 to 2,300 MW of capacity during 2015. Last year it completed 1,048 megawatts of solar farms. [Bloomberg]

¶ Exelon will ask state lawmakers as soon as this week to approve a new surcharge on electric bills throughout the state to provide more revenue for low-carbon power-generation sources like its six Illinois nuclear plants. Some of its nuclear plants here are in danger of closing without a revenue boost. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

¶ In a rare move, Washington DC’s Federal US Court of Appeals will hear a landmark challenge to the continued operation of California’s two remaining reactors. They are surrounded by more than a dozen seismic fault lines. The Shoreline fault runs within 600-700 yards of the Diablo Canyon reactors. [OpEdNews]


February 24 Energy News

February 24, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “New Coal Plants in China: A (Carbon) Bubble Waiting to Burst” – China’s coal consumption growth has slowed down and fell in 2014. At the same time, coal-fired power generating capacity is growing rapidly. This represents an investment bubble that will burst as overcapacity becomes too large to ignore. [Energy Collective]

World:

¶ Grassroots support for energy reform is substantial in India. This was seen most recently in Aan Adani Party’s win in the Delhi state elections, a jarring reminder that the Indian masses have clout. A central election issue was making electricity both more sustainable and more affordable for the poor. [Solar Novus Today]

¶ The government of the Australian state of Victoria has made good on a pre-election promise to support the state’s first solar-powered town. Energy audits and retrofits to reduce consumption have already begun in Newstead as the first step towards a community micro-grid using 100% renewable power. [The Fifth Estate]

¶ The New South Wales Greens have unveiled a plan for a secure and clean energy future in the state. It has households and small businesses become active participants in the electricity industry. Coal and gas-fired electricity generation in NSW generates over 60 million tons of carbon emissions annually. [Energy Matters]

¶ The Director of Electricity from Panama’s National Energy Secretariat says that the recent solar bid was very successful with more tenders being put forward than ever. He says this means the country will have over 80 MW of installed capacity in solar PV and there are many opportunities for more. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ Senvion is delivering 18 wind turbines for the Nordergründe offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. Each turbine has a rated power of 6.15 MW, enabling it to supply about 4,000 households with energy. The Nordergründe offshore wind farm will be completed in the fall of 2016. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ A Swedish group is building the world’s first ‘climate positive’ data center, in the famous copper mining and snow sports city of Falun. The proposed data center will work in tandem with a local energy system, using its waste heat for a variety of purposes and incorporating various renewable sources. [The Stack]

¶ Hawkins Group, of New Zealand, is developing the two new geothermal plans as part of a joint venture with Indonesian partner Banguan Cipta Kontractor. Hawkins has experience in delivering geothermal projects in New Zealand having recently successfully completed three power stations in that country. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ March will mark the fourth year since the crisis began at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where decommissioning work continues. About 6,000 to 7,000 workers are working every day to try to bring the situation under control at the buildings and facilities still scarred by the accident. [The Japan News]

US:

¶ The US installed some 470 MW of wind and 70 MW of solar parks in January 2015, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This compares to 235 MW of wind and 343 MW of solar deployed a year earlier. Total installed wind power capacity reached 65.66 GW, 5.61% of total capacity. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ A new Massachusetts state Senate report on climate change is a call for the state to set policies in the face of deepening environmental impacts. Its title is its bottom line: “No Time to Waste: Our climate clock is ticking and our natural resources, public health and the future of our economy are at stake.” [The Recorder]

¶ Gulf Power has submitted four petitions this year to the Florida Public Service Commission for solar and wind projects that could potentially power more than 68,700 homes in Northwest Florida. Three are solar energy farms at military bases, and one would purchase power from wind-rich Oklahoma. [Pensacola News Journal]

¶ Ameren Corp. has proposed an alternative to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The company says its proposal would achieve the same final CO2 emission reduction goals as the EPA’s own plan, while saving $4 billion in costs and avoiding grid reliability problems related to closing key coal-fired plants. [PennEnergy]

¶ In the latest sign that a Bay Area renewable energy trend is picking up steam, San Mateo County, California is taking a close look at buying its own power on the open market, instead of relying on PG&E, in a bid to lower its greenhouse gas emissions. The county is considering a community choice aggregation program. [Chico Enterprise-Record]


February 23 Energy News

February 23, 2015

World:

¶ Apple plans on investing €1.7 billion (£1.3 billion) into Europe, which is the biggest investment the American company has ever made on European soil. The plan is to create two new data centres in County Galway, Ireland, and Denmark’s central Jutland. The facilities will run on 100% renewable energy. [ITProPortal]

¶ An initiative to integrate more renewable energy into the Central America power system took one step forward last week as regional vice-ministers, directors of energy, and directors of climate change met in El Salvador to discuss the region’s energy future, the International Renewable Energy Agency reports. [solarserver.com]

¶ Dong Energy’s 400-MW Anholt offshore wind farm in Denmark will be offline for at last three weeks following a fault with the subsea cable connecting the project’s 111 wind turbines to land. The project’s transmission operator, Energinet.dk, said it is too early to say what the cause of the problem on the line is. [reNews]

¶ SunEdison, a US-based company, has announced it will set up 15.2 GW of solar and wind energy capacity in India over the next 5 years. India has an ambitious target of adding 100 GW renewable capacity by 2022. India’s installed renewable energy capacity currently stands at just above 32 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A 12-MW biomass power plant with a dedicated plantation will rise in Bataan after Filipino-owned Cleangreen Energy Corp received its operating contract from the Department of Energy. The power plant, targeted for completion in October 2017, is expected to commence construction this year. [eco-business.com]

¶ Engineers in Norway and Sweden, two of the countries trying hardest to develop wave power technology, have announced “breakthroughs” in their methods, which the inventors believe will make wave power competitive. The latest Norwegian experiment has been installed in a redundant fishing vessel. [eco-business.com]

¶ Alternergy Wind One Corp, a company led by former Philippine Energy Secretary Vince Perez, is expected to complete a 67.5-MW wind farm project there in May. The $177.9-million project is due for completion in July 2015, Energy Department records showed, but it is likely to be completed early. [Manila Standard Today]

¶ Sensors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have detected a fresh leak of highly radioactive water to the sea, TEPCO announced Sunday. The sensors detected contamination levels, up to 70 times greater than the already-high radioactive status seen on the plant grounds, in water draining to the sea. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ Floridians for Solar Choice has secured 100,000 petition signatures to obtain a place on the 2016 ballot after only one month of collecting signatures. Should the campaign secure enough signatures, Florida voters would be able to vote in 2016 to expand solar choice. (The petition needs 700,00 signatures.) [CleanTechnica]

¶ Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a prominent climate change denier and researcher, quietly took more than $1.2 million in payouts from the energy industry, including the Koch brothers and other oil lobbyists, for the past 14 years, newly released documents obtained by Greenpeace have shown. [eNews Park Forest]


February 22 Energy News

February 22, 2015

World:

¶ Electric car sales (including plug-in hybrid electric cars) in the UK surged over 300% in 2014, as compared year-on-year against 2013, according to the most recent figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. EV sales in the UK rose from just 3,833 units in 2013 to 15,361 units in 2014. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In the UK, National Grid is announcing the results of a sealed-bid auction for the new Contracts for Difference mechanism to subsidise low carbon energy generation projects in the years ahead. CfDs provide a different structure than the subsidies that have moved the UK so far, and some say they are not as good. [Scotsman]

¶ The city of Munich is claiming that a giant wind farm being built off the coast of North Wales will contribute to its renewable energy targets, after it acquired a £660 million stake in the scheme. This leaves the UK with the question of how it can apply power from Gwynt y Môr to its own renewable targets. [Business Green]

¶ The IKEA Group is continuing to make progress on its path to receiving 100% of its energy needs via renewable energy sources by the year 2020, as the recent announcement that it had acquired a new wind energy project in Poland demonstrates. The specifics of the deal haven’t yet been publicly revealed. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ The oil and gas industry sponsors and spins research to shape the scientific debate over horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. That’s the conclusion of analysis by the non-partisan group, Public Accountability Initiative, of more than 130 documents distributed to policymakers by industry representatives. [Huffington Post]

¶ Federal regulators are close to approving construction of Michigan’s first new nuclear power reactor in more than a quarter century, although it’s an open question if it will ever get built. Changes in the energy market over the past 6½ years have dimmed the possibility of a nuclear power revival. [Detroit Free Press]

¶ A broad political coalition, from liberal environmentalists to tea-party conservatives, has banded together in Florida to press for something that ironically is in short supply in the Sunshine State: solar power. The group launched a campaign to place a pro-solar initiative on the state’s 2016 ballot. [Fox News]

¶ A new report produced by the Wind Energy Foundation, Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and Washington-based consultants David Gardiner and Associates said “significant cost declines” for electricity generated by wind and solar power is spurring development in Nebraska and nationwide. [Grand Island Independent]

¶ Illinois legislators introduced a bill to spur new growth in the clean energy industry, creating an estimated 32,000 jobs annually, once proposed clean energy standards are implemented. Illinois already has 100,000 clean energy jobs. The bill is endorsed by the recently-formed Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition. [Energy Collective]

¶ In 2013, solar installations accounted for 31% of all US electric power installations, and 2014 was a breakthrough year for utility-scale solar. Growing advantages in pricing and purchase agreements have been cited. Among area projects are several in conjunction with Oneida County, New York government. [Rome Sentinel]

¶ Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power today announced the acquisition of two solar PV projects totaling 99 MW in Georgia. They are the 80-MW Decatur Parkway Solar Project and the 19-MW Decatur County Solar Project. Southern Power is acquiring them from Tradewind Energy, Inc. [Sowega Live]


February 21 Energy News

February 21, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “We Don’t Need New Energy Storage Innovations” – There’s been a lot of talk about energy storage being a “holy grail” for solving the problems of deeper renewables saturation in the US power grid. But it’s time to start pushing back on the rhetoric. The solutions we have now for storage are sufficient to the task. [Greentech Media]

Science and Technology:

¶ One of the biggest statements on Tesla’s last quarterly conference call was that it would be unveiling a battery storage system for home use within 1–2 months. Several competing energy storage companies are watching closely to see what the details end up being, while a bit envious of the media attention Tesla gets. [CleanTechnica]

¶ It’s been frigid in much of the US this week, and in New England for weeks on end. But nationally, the country has been going through a surprisingly warm winter. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the December 2014 to January 2015 period has been the sixth warmest on record in the contiguous US. [Huffington Post]

World:

¶ Much has been made of the competition between the United States and China for the title of world’s leading wind energy country, with the former the leading generator and the latter the leading installer. However, according to GlobalData analyst Pranav Srivastava, both titles are to be China’s as soon as 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Vestas has entered into a deal with OX2 to supply 10 turbines for the 33 MW Maevaara 2 wind power plant in northern Sweden. Under the contract, Vestas will supply, install and commission the V126, 3.3 MW turbines with de-icing system. The project is the second in Sweden to feature the V126 3.3 MW. [Greentech Lead]

¶ New statistics released by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change has revealed that close to 22,000 households have received support under the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, a program of grants to support domestic low-carbon heating installations. [Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine]

US:

¶ The US Navy Task Force Energy is now drawing our attention to an op-ed by a former Navy commander outlining the risks of continued oil dependency. Like another recent piece, it pulls no punches, drawing attention to the thousands of American deaths attributed to petroleum transportation in Iraq and Afghanistan. [CleanTechnica]

¶ NextEra Energy is planning to build Hawaii’s largest wind farm on the southern coast of Maui. Before the construction of the 120-MW project, NextEra will complete the acquisition of Hawaiian Electric for $4.3 billion. In addition, the wind project will also be owned and operated by NextEra Energy. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Maine’s reshaped Public Utilities Commission wants to reconsider two proposed wind projects it approved two months ago, a move critics say would damage the integrity of the regulatory process and scare off future renewable-energy investors. The commission will decide on reassessment on Wednesday. [Nashua Telegraph]

¶ More than a dozen, mostly coal-dependent, states are already raising hell about the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The latest battle is currently playing out in Virginia, where a state representative with ties to the coal industry wants to make it more difficult for the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to comply. [Grist]

¶ Pittsfield officials have started negotiating with Ameresco a long-term solar lease and power/net metering purchase agreement. The global alternative energy company has offered to install a solar array of up to 2.9 MW of electric generating capacity that provide more than 3.86 million kWh annually. [Berkshire Eagle]

¶ A bipartisan group of almost three dozen Illinois lawmakers yesterday proposed measures that would expand the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements and establish a carbon market to help the state comply with US EPA’s Clean Power Plan to limit GHG emissions. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

¶ Two Minnesota legislators have penned energy bills this session that would lift the state’s moratorium on Xcel Energy building another reactor at the Monticello nuclear plant. Both bills are site-specific to Monticello for the construction of a single, new nuclear-powered electric generating unit on the current plant site. [Monticello Times]


February 20 Energy News

February 20, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Nuclear power plants increasingly face a new enemy: the jellyfish. Screens prevent aquatic life and debris from being drawn into the power plants’ cooling systems, but more and more often, they get blocked by large volumes of jellyfish or other aquatic life, forcing reactors to shut down. Climate change is a suspected cause. [Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]

¶ No matter how fast the cost of oil drops, it just can’t keep up with the pace of improvements in electric vehicle batteries. In the latest development, a team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, has come up with a paper-like material that could bring in a new generation of high-range batteries. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Pumped storage has been around a long time, much longer than renewables’ intermittent nature required it. In July 1930, the magazine Popular Science ran an article announcing start of operations at the first US “ten-mile storage battery,” or pumped-hydro energy storage plant, in Connecticut. [Scientific American]

World:

¶ Private sector developers in India’s rapidly growing renewable energy will be happy to have the backing of the country’s largest bank as they get ready for competitive bidding. The State Bank of India has committed to provide $12.5 billion in debt funding to renewable energy projects over the next few years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ GTM Research has released some key findings pertaining to the PV inverter industry. One is that global shipments could reach 50.6 GW in 2015. Reaching this amount means an increase of about 30% over the previous year. The global market for inverters will increase to about $7.1 billion, despite falling prices. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In Australia, Origin Energy warned that major electric retailers were likely to choose paying a penalty price, the equivalent of a fine, rather than contracting to new renewable energy projects, now that it is apparent that the renewable energy target would not be cut as much as the power companies had wanted. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ Citigroup Inc said it would set aside $100 billion to fund environmental projects over the next decade, doubling the amount it had earmarked for such projects in 2007. Citigroup said it would fund projects related to renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions and sustainable transportation. [eco-business.com]

¶ A bill before the Illinois legislature creates new standards for the state’s utilities to use efficiency measures to reduce electricity demand 20% by 2025. It also sets a higher figure for renewable energy purchased by updating the state’s regulation for the production of energy from renewables, such as wind and solar. [Northwest Herald]

¶ Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that rural agricultural producers and small business owners can now apply for resources to purchase and install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. The resources announced today are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. [Imperial Valley News]

¶ The second study in a few days has been released that finds that implementing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan will not negatively affect grid reliability. The report from Analysis Group addresses the impact of ongoing changes in the energy industry for stakeholders and offers recommendations to ensure reliability. [Domestic Fuel]

¶ Environmental Working Group Executive Director Heather White said today that Monday’s West Virginia oil spill and explosion, following derailment of a train load of shale oil, shows that it’s absolutely critical for the US to reduce its dependence on oil and base our future economy on clean energy. [Environmental Working Group]

¶ BlackRock Inc closed its acquisition of half of the 200-MW Hereford project in Deaf Smith County and agreed to buy the stakes in the 200-MW Longhorn and 194-MW Spinning Spur 3 wind farms after they’re completed later this year, the New York-based firm said Thursday in an e-mailed statement. [Bloomberg]

¶ The House Energy and Power Subcommittee heard testimony from Secretary Moniz on the DOE FY 2016 budget request, which outlined over $1 billion in renewable energy program funding increases but a decrease to fossil energy research and development. (The decrease for fossil fuels, however, is tiny.) [Breaking Energy]


February 19 Energy News

February 19, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Imergy Power Systems announced a new, mega-sized version of their vanadium flow battery technology. The EPS250 series will deliver up to 250 kW of power with a 1 MWh capacity. The company claims it can deliver power for a levelized cost as low as $300 per kWh, making it competitive with lithium-ion. [ExtremeTech]

World:

¶ Turkey is now aiming to get at least 30% of its electricity requirements via renewable energy sources by the year 2023, based on figures put forward in the country’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan. Of this target, the country is reportedly aiming for at least 5 GW worth to be via solar PV projects. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UAE has inaugurated a solar photovoltaic micro grid project to bring clean energy to some of Fiji’s outer islands. Built by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, the clean energy project is the third financed by the UAE’s $50 million Pacific Partnership Fund, through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. [Trade Arabia]

¶ Egypt is looking to add 4.3 GW of solar capacity as it targets a total boost of 8-GW in the next 10 years. The government said the extra power is needed to meet the needs of the nation’s expanding economy and it expects to start signing deals for PV projects at the Egypt Economic Development Conference in March. [reNews]

¶ ITM Power PLC on Wednesday said it has successfully delivered the power-to-gas PEM electrolyser system it sold to German power company RWE Deutschland AG within ten weeks of receiving the order. The system is the third rapid-response power-to-gas energy storage system ITM installed in Germany. [London South East]

¶ A new hydroelectric dam, set to be built on the River Allt Coire Chaorach, near Crianlarich, is set to be yet another instalment that will help push Scotland to the 100% renewable energy mark by 2020. The £8.5 million investment is set to generate up to eight GWh of electricity per year, also creating jobs and growth. [Click Green]

¶ Japan has relied heavily on fossil fuels since shutdown of the country’s nuclear fleet following the Fukushima Disaster. In 2013, more than 86% of Japan’s generation mix was composed of fossil fuels. With no nuclear plants online since 2013, the Japanese government anticipates starting a few up in 2015. [PennEnergy]

¶ The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was informed by the CAP Direct Payments Team that solar farms do not have a “serious” impact on the UK’s agricultural output. This information came ahead of its controversial decision to remove CAP payments for solar farms. [Greentech Media]

¶ Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is collaborating with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to implement plans to power all of the country’s mosques with solar energy by the end of 2015. Mosques currently pay as much as $1,400 a month for the air-conditioning and lighting. [Global Construction Review]

US:

¶ An NRG Energy subsidiary, NRG Renew, will join Kaiser Permanente, a major US health provider serving over 9 million people, in creating one of the top three on-site commercial solar portfolios among all US companies. The California project will also be one of the world’s largest vehicle-parking solar projects. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Last week, Rolling Stone published a blockbuster climate change article complete with the incendiary title, “The Pentagon & Climate Change: How Deniers Put National Security at Risk.” Now, the US Navy has posted a response with a forceful declaration of support for the Rolling Stone article. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Origin Energy provided further details of its impending major push into the domestic solar market. It expects rooftop solar to grow five-fold over the next 15 years, with battery storage coming also. It will install and maintain rooftop solar systems, and charge the homeowner a fee to use the solar electricity. [RenewEconomy]

¶ SunEdison Inc, the world’s largest renewable energy development company, announced the successful start of operation of the Regulus solar facility in Kern County, California. The 81.6 MW(DC) facility expected to provide almost $184 million in revenue to local businesses, governments and households. [SCVNEWS.com]

¶ PSEG Solar Source joined with El Paso Electric and juwi solar to formally dedicate the PSEG El Paso Solar Center. The 13-MW facility is El Paso’s largest, producing enough renewable energy to power more than 3,800 homes. PSEG Solar Source currently has 10 facilities in operation, totaling 109.7 MW. [PennEnergy]

¶ Green Mountain Power announced that for a third year, thanks to power generation at its Kingdom Community Wind Farm, five Northeast Kingdom Towns will receive Good Neighbor Fund payments. This year, GMP will distribute more than $188,000, an increase of $62,000 over last year. [vtdigger.org]


February 18 Energy News

February 18, 2015

World:

¶ Australian firm Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd announced it has officially put on stream its Perth wave power station at Garden Island. The plant has three 240-kW CETO 5 wave energy devices. It is the world’s first multiple wave unit power station. Its output is going to the Western Australia grid. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ US carmaker General Motors said on Tuesday it has signed a deal with Enel Green Power to purchase 34 MW of wind power for its production facilities in Mexico. The power purchase agreement is tied to 17 wind turbines the Italian company will be erecting in Palo Alto, starting in the second quarter of 2015. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The first renewable energy tender issued by Jordan had encouraging results, with a total of 200 MW awarded to project developers, including a 52.5-MW solar PV project. The tender is the first among several that the government plans to conduct to set up 1.8 GW renewable energy capacity by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ EDF Energies Nouvelles has confirmed that it will use 68 Vestas 3.3-MW turbines at its 224.4-MW Nicolas-Riou wind farm in Quebec. The company got a 25-year power purchase agreement with Hydro-Quebec last year following a competition tender. The plant is expected to be commissioned by mid-2017. [reNews]

¶ The three-day ‘First Renewable Energy Global Investors Meet and Expo (Re-Invest)’ concluded in India on Tuesday with commitments of 266,000 MW of renewable power, including 10,000 MW from state-run NTPC. This makes it the “take off” conference towards revolutionising India’s energy sector. [Web India]

¶ As an island nation, Japan controls large swaths of ocean territory, about the sixth-greatest expanse of any country in the world. So it makes sense for Japan to look to the seas for renewable energy. The government is teaming up with two major industrial companies to start field testing marine power generation. [Wall Street Journal]

¶ Canadian Solar has secured six solar power projects worth 46 MW in the United Kingdom. They will together generate around 50,183 kWh of electricity annually. Four projects, totaling 40.5 MW, are under construction and should be connected to the grid in March, with the others following in the second quarter. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Taking a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision, Union Minister Piyush Goyal today said efforts will work to create a federation of 50 solar power-rich nations and also make India the world’s renewable energy capital. They plan to work with the World Economic Forum in the near future. [Economic Times]

¶ Mainstream Renewable Power announced the launch of a pan-African renewable energy generation platform, Lekela Power, which it has formed along with Actis, a global pan-emerging market private equity firm. Lekela Power will provide between 700 and 900 MW of wind and solar power in Africa by 2018. [Your Industry News]

¶ Siemens announced it has secured a contract in South Africa with an order for 157 wind turbines for three projects in the South Africa province of Northern Cape. The 2.3-MW machines of the Siemens G2 platform will be installed at the wind power plants Khobab, Loeriesfontein 2 and Noupoort. [Windtech International]

US:

¶ Fires continued to burn for hours Tuesday after a train carrying 109 tankers of crude oil derailed in a snowstorm alongside a West Virginia creek, threatening the nearby water supply. Cars carrying volatile Bakken crude from North Dakota’s shale fields had left the tracks Monday afternoon, and 19 caught fire. [AOL]

¶ Duke Energy, which already owns or purchases 600 MW of solar capacity in North Carolina, announced that it is seeking to acquire up to an additional 50 MW. Duke has solar and wind facilities in 12 states, and expects to increase its solar generating capacity to 110 MW over the next six years in South Carolina. [Politic365]

¶ Donald Moul, vice president of commodity operations for FirstEnergy Solutions, says distortions in the energy market are hurting FirstEnergy’s fleet of nuclear reactors, making it hard to compete. He places the blame on policies that have eaten away at the value of its coal and nuclear fleet. [Pittsburgh Post Gazette]

¶ In Vermont, after three weeks of deliberation, the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee voted 10-1 to pass H.40, a bill requiring utilities to sell renewable power. According to the bill, 55% of a utility’s electricity must come from renewables such as wind, solar or hydro power by 2017, and 75% by 2032. [vtdigger.org]


February 17 Energy News

February 17, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ A number of studies investigating the effect of wind turbines on birds have found that the actual impact wind turbines have on avians is relatively low. However, according to this new research, published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research, wind turbines’ effects on bats cannot be ignored. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Israeli alternative energy company Brenmiller Energy has solved one of the biggest issues with solar technology: how to generate electricity when the sun sets. The company says it will build a 10-MW solar facility that will generate electricity 20 hours per day through a proprietary energy storage technology. [Inhabitat]

World:

¶ In Geneva, Switzerland just three weeks after the US Senate’s 98-1 vote that climate change is not a hoax, the first round of the 2015 United Nations talks among 194 nations produced the first-ever universally agreed negotiating text on how to limit global warming to 2°C (3.6°F) above preindustrial temperatures. [CleanTechnica]

¶ If you hate that persistent smell of diesel fumes and you live in France, you’ll probably be happy to learn that the government has begun an aggressive initiative to get older, heavily polluting diesel cars off the road, by offering owners up to €10,000 to switch to a plug-in hybrid electric or 100% electric car. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Philippines is one of the world’s leading producers of geothermal energy. Located atop the Pacific Ocean’s so-called Ring of Fire, the country has used volcanic heat to produce electricity for decades. Now there is a new project underway to use this renewable resource to power an entire island. [Voice of America]

¶ Indian Prime Minister Modi’s 100 GW solar energy goal by 2022 could create as many as one million jobs, says the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water. Additionally, a proposed target of 60 GW of wind energy could generate another 180,000 jobs in the country. [Energy Matters]

¶ Romania installed 363 MW of new solar PV in 2014, according to the country’s transmission company and electricity system operator. Wind power systems added 346 MW of new capacity in 2014. Cumulative capacities for solar PV and wind technologies stand now at 1223 MW and 2953 MW respectively. [pv magazine]

¶ The UK Green Investment Bank and the Strathclyde Pension Fund are to plow £60 million into community-scale renewable energy projects through Albion Community Power. ACP builds, controls and operates community-scale schemes and has identified a project pipeline in which it will invest capital for the duo. [reNews]

¶ US power companies struggling with the escalating costs of building nuclear plants are closely watching similar efforts with similar problems in China. The first plants using Westinghouse Electric Co’s AP1000 reactor design are having problems there, and US executives and safety regulators are learning what they can. [PennEnergy]

US:

¶ The sun is shining on solar power in Illinois. A new report ranks the state 12th nationally for the number of people employed in the solar industry, up from 20th in 2013. According to The Solar Foundation, 1,700 solar jobs were added last year, bringing the total to 3,800 in Illinois, up over 80% in one year. [Public News Service]

¶ To store power from Washington State solar and wind generators, the Klickitat PUD has begun applying for a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to pursue a pumped storage project, which will cost an estimated $2.5 billion. When completed, the project would have a capacity of 1200 MW. [Yakima Herald-Republic]

¶ Solar power brought 3,500 new jobs to Nevada in 2014, a 146% increase over 2013 that pushed the state to number 1 in the nation in solar jobs per capita, according to a report released Thursday by the Solar Foundation. It ranked Nevada seventh nationally with 5,900 total jobs in the solar industry. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

¶ The cities of San Mateo County, California would have the option of banding together to sell cleaner energy to their ratepayers under a community-choice aggregation plan advocated by two county supervisors. The program could put power costs from renewable sources such as wind and solar below utility rates. [San Francisco Examiner]


February 16 Energy News

February 16, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Neil Sheehan: Decommissioning Vermont Yankee” We have seen the end of an era for Vermont Yankee’s workforce and for the surrounding community as power production halted. But now another phase in the facility’s life will begin as the first steps in what will be a lengthy decommissioning process get under way. [vtdigger.org]

World:

¶ Nippon Paper Industries and Mitsubishi have started operation of a 21-MW solar power plant in Japan. The plant is located in Komatsushima-shi, Tokushima Prefecture, which is claimed to have the country’s highest annual sunshine hours. It is Nippon Paper’s second solar project. [Clean Technology Business Review]

¶ Some of the world’s most environmentally efficient and profitable green energy technologies are being specifically tailored to the needs of the beef, poultry, pork, rendering, and stock feed industries. The high-temperature thermophilic anaerobic digestion technologies typically operate at 55° C. [Impeller.net]

¶ Chinese and Indian Solar Energy industry recently met under the aegis of FICCI for a business roundtable to explore partnerships between the companies of both the countries on the eve of the upcoming RE-INVEST. The Chinese delegation was led by the China Photovoltaic Industry Association. [Moneycontrol.com]

¶ China raised its total grid-connected solar power capacity to 28.05 GW in 2014, up 60% on the year, and aims to raise the total by more than half this year. The figure is equivalent to about 2.1% of China’s total power capacity of 1,360 GW at end 2014, while wind power is about 7% of the total. [Business Recorder]

¶ India is all set to have world’s largest solar power plant in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh. It will be completed next year on Independence Day. The 750 MW will be constructed and operated as a joint venture of the state government and Solar Energy Corporation of India. It will occupy 1,500 hectares of land. [indiatvnews.com]

¶ The Durham York Energy Centre in Clarington, Ontario began burning its first haul of curbside garbage as part of a month-long testing phase before the facility opens for good. The facility will generate about 17.5 MW of renewable energy, but has faced opposition from locals. The final price tag is $286.56 million. [Toronto Star]

¶ South Korea’s LG Chem Inc says it will supply energy storage systems for four solar plants under construction in Japan in a deal worth over $272.7 million. The battery maker said it won a contract to supply storage systems, each with a capacity of 31 MW, to the Green Power Development Corporation of Japan. [The Korea Bizwire]

US:

¶ California’s Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León proposed legislation last week to increase the amount of electricity California derives from renewable sources, excluding from what counts as “renewable” any power generated from burning household trash, with the exception of one specific plant. [Sacramento Bee]

¶ SunEdison completed a 677-kW ground-mount solar PV system, providing energy for the AT&T materials distribution facility in Lancaster, Texas. It is not the first plant SunEdison worked on with AT&T. Their solar power arrays have generated over 8.6 GWh of power, cutting CO2 emissions by 13 million pounds. [AZoCleantech]

¶ Imergy Power Systems and Growing Energy Labs Inc are collaborating on a microgrid project for Chabot-Las Positas Community College District in Livermore, California. The project will add renewable energy sources, reduce peak power, and allow the district to be more energy independent.[CleanTechnica]


February 15 Energy News

February 15, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Arthur Berman: Why Today’s Shale Era Is The Retirement Party For Oil Production” – Podcast guest Arthur Berman, a geological consultant with 34 years of experience in petroleum exploration and production, sees the recent US oil production boost from shale drilling as short-lived and somewhat desperate. [peakprosperity.com]

¶ “Did Obama Just Waste $907 Million Trying to Save Nuclear Power?” – The power of the atom has started to give way to cheaper energy sources with more favorable public opinion. But President Obama’s proposed budget for 2016 set aside $907 million for the US DOE to invest in nuclear energy technologies. [Motley Fool]

World:

¶ A contract for two offshore wind parks in Japan has been won by Marubeni Corporation. The site is off the coast of Akita Prefecture, in the northern part of Honshu, Japan’s largest island. The turbines will be 5 MW. One site will have 13, and the other will have 16. Both parks should be operating in 2021. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Indian prime minister Modi inaugurated the first Renewable Energy Global Investors Meet. On the first day of the three-day event, 293 companies committed to set up plants to generate 266 GW of renewable energy in 5 years, while banking major SBI said it will finance 15,000 MW renewable energy. [India.com]

¶ Mr Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy, told a group of industry executives, “India will be power surplus in 2019, and we are taking all necessary steps. From the current one trillion units of energy generation, we can double the power generation and become power surplus.” [SteelGuru]

¶ A report due out in Scotland this month aims to identify the ways to jump-start the stalled maritime wind sector, by enabling price cuts of a third, to £100 per MW/h. Power from less productive onshore wind farms costs £85 per MW/h average. This means offshore wind can be competitive with onshore. [Herald Scotland]

¶ Renewable energy firm Welspun Renewables today said it will set up 11 GW solar and wind projects across India. The 11 GW capacity will be developed as 8,660 MW of solar and 2,341 MW of wind power projects, the company said in a statement. It will commission over 1 GW of solar and wind this year. [Business Standard]

¶ US-based SunEdison and First Solar committed to build more than 20,000 MW of renewable capacity in India, boosting India’s renewable energy targets. SunEdison will build 15,200 MW of solar and wind power capacity by 2022, while First Solar made a commitment to develop 5,000 MW of solar by 2019. [Times of India]

US:

¶ The White House has backed solar and wind power projects and touted the benefits of the country’s surging production of natural gas, which burns about 50% cleaner than coal, still the largest source of electricity in the US. It had backed clean coal, but now, the US DOE is beginning to withdraw that support. [Bloomberg]

¶ One thing energy companies leave out of their talking points for expanding pipelines in New England is an effort to deliver natural gas to Canada for export. Developers are already moving to send natural gas through Massachusetts to Nova Scotia, where it would be converted to liquefied natural gas and exported. [ecoRI news]


February 14 Energy News

February 14, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “What Snow and the US Army Tell Us About Coal vs Renewable Energy” Coal vs renewable energy is central to two current debates about energy in official arenas. Interestingly, one very important supporter of renewable energy in the debate is the US Army. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

Science and Technology:

¶ As bad as recent droughts in California, the Southwest and the Midwest have been, scientists say far worse “megadroughts” are coming, lasting for decades. Unprecedented drought conditions, the worst in more than 1,000 years, are likely to come to the Southwest and Central Plains after 2050. [Huffington Post]

World:

¶ A 42-MW geothermal power station is being planned by Electric Power Development Co for a site in northern Japan. It should be operational by May 2019. Financing for about $221 million will come from a number of banks and 80% is guaranteed by Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corporation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Leaders of the UK’s three main political parties pledged a cross-party fight against climate change. David Cameron of the Conservatives, Ed Miliband of Labour and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats agreed to “seek a fair, strong, legally-binding global climate deal which limits temperature rises to below two degrees celsius”. [reNews]

¶ Pattern Energy has entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement with Hydro-Québec for the 147-MW Mont Sainte-Marguerite wind project. The facility will have 46 of Siemens 3.2 MW wind turbines. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2016, and commercial operation in December 2017. [Greentech Lead]

¶ French and Spanish power grid operators have completed a long-awaited power line across the Pyrenees that will allow export of excess Spanish renewable energy and ease one of the worst network bottlenecks in Europe. They will inaugurate a 1,400-MW cable that will double French-Spanish interconnection capacity. [Reuters]

¶ Interest in building a 100-MW plus solar thermal plant in Western Australia’s Goldfields region has been revived, as more miners turn their interest to solar and other renewables as a means to deflect volatile diesel costs. Two solar developers are considering plans for large solar thermal plant near Kalgoorlie. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Ontario has issued the all clear to NextEra Energy Canada’s 102-MW Goshen wind farm, the seventh project in an eight-part 615-MW feed-in tariff portfolio in the province. The municipality of Bluewater, a host community, and a local resident failed to prove the wind farm would cause serious harm to human health. [reNews]

US:

¶ The American Wind Energy Association released a new report, “Wind energy helps build a more reliable and balanced electricity portfolio,” answering 15 frequently asked questions, basing answers upon lessons learned from grid operators’ experiences reliably integrating wind energy into the existing grid. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Procter & Gamble and Constellation Energy announced this week that they are moving ahead with the development of a biomass-fueled plant that will generate up to 50 MW and provide power to P&G’s Albany plant, one of its largest US facilities. The plant is expected to begin commercial operation in June 2017. [The Albany Herald]

¶ Inverter load rejection overvoltage tests completed by the US DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory as part of a cooperative research agreement with SolarCity have proven so successful that a testing partner, Hawaiian Electric Companies, has proposed to double its hosting capacity for solar energy. [Phys.Org]

¶ New York ratepayers will subsidize operation of the Ginna nuclear facility near Rochester, under terms of an agreement with the plant’s operators, Exelon. The Ginna Nuclear Generating Station will be allowed to charge customers above-market rates until 2018, because the plant has been losing money. [Capital New York]


February 13 Energy News

February 13, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Energy innovation for Vermont” by Peter Shumlin – Pursuing clean energy policies in Vermont isn’t just about doing what is right for our environment and protecting our unrivaled quality of life. A thriving clean energy sector is also integral to our economy, keeping young people in Vermont … [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ Tesla’s crusade against fossil fuels could soon hit home with a battery-powered energy pack. The company plans to start producing a home battery within six months, Bloomberg reports, and will reveal more details in the next month or two. Backup power is one application, but there are a number of others. [TechHive]

World:

¶ South Africa’s government is forging ahead with plans to spend as much as 1 trillion rand ($85 billion) on new nuclear plants, ignoring objections from environmental activists, opposition parties, unions and even its own advisers. Bids will be sought to add 9,600 MW of atomic power to the national grid. [Bloomberg]
…Greenpeace anti-nuclear activists unfurled a banner saying “nuclear investments cost the Earth,” at the 2nd Nuclear Industry Congress Africa 2015 in Sea Point on Thursday. “Not only is nuclear power controversial, but it would never be ready to alleviate this crisis,” Melita Steele of Greenpeace pointed out. [Independent Online]

¶ Belectric UK is collaborating in a project led by National Grid to show how solar PV and other renewable energy operators can help stabilize the frequency and voltage of distribution networks, protecting the UK from power blackouts and instability, and thus reduce grid reliance on spinning reserve. [solarserver.com]

¶ China boosted its installed wind energy capacity last year to a record 19.81 million kW as the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter pushes its power grid to cleaner energy sources. The National Energy Administration says that wind farms produced 153.4 billion kWh in 2014, 2.8% of total generated electricity. [The Denver Post]

¶ In an initiative of New Zealand company solarcity, customers have panels installed on their roofs but, rather than buying those panels, they instead buy the power produced from them at a rate lower than they can buy it from power companies. Furthermore, that rate is locked down for 20 years. [New Zealand Herald]

¶ An Irish renewable energy company has raised $760 million to build three wind farms in South Africa. Mainstream Renewable Power was awarded contracts for the wind farms totaling 360 MW by the Department of Energy under the third round of its Renewable Energy Procurement Programme. [Energy Live News]

¶ Lucky Electric Power Company Limited has finally got a green signal from the federal government for the setting up of $1 billion coal-based power plant in energy-scarce Pakistan. The LEPCL would be setting up the 660 MW power generation facility here at Port Qasim within the next five years. [Business Recorder]

¶ European utilities shut more coal and natural gas power plants in 2014 than in any year since at least 2009 amid falling demand for electricity and tougher pollution curbs. European Union power companies turned off 63% more coal- and gas-fed generation than they started; net decommissioning was 5 GW. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ In Belgium, GDF Suez subsidiary Electrabel announced that the operation to shut down the 433 MW Doel 1 nuclear reactor will begin on 14 February, with the unit scheduled to cease operating on the following day. The 121 fuel assemblies in its core will then be removed and transferred to storage pools. [World Nuclear News]

US:

¶ An analysis of concerns raised by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation about the impact on grid reliability of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for reducing carbon emissions from the electric power sector finds that reliability is unlikely to be materially affected. [IT Business Net]

¶ State utility regulators on Thursday unanimously directed Xcel Energy to go ahead with three large solar projects that will mean a tenfold increase in the amount of electricity generated from the sun in Minnesota. The projects are expected to be completed in 2016 to qualify for solar power tax credit. [Duluth News Tribune]

¶ The first utility-scale solar farm will be built to power the Tennessee Valley Authority in Alabama. TVA directors Thursday approved a 20-year lease with Next Era Energy Resources to buy the power generated by an 80-MW solar farm planned on nearly 600 acres in Northern Alabama. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

¶ Google is partnering with NextEra Energy to power its Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View at California. Beginning from 2016, Google will receive approximately 43 MW of wind energy from plants at Altamont Pass. As part of the deal, 370 old turbines will be replaced with 24 advanced ones. [Greentech Lead]


February 12 Energy News

February 12, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ The last time we checked into the “bionic leaf,” it involved making hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water. Now a team of Harvard researchers have come up with a new twist: a bionic leaf that throws bacteria into the mix. The result goes one step beyond hydrogen to produce a steady stream of… rubbing alcohol! [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Electric vehicle registrations in Europe rose by more than 60.9% in 2014, as compared to 2013, according to recent figures. Overall, 65,199 electric cars and commercial vehicles were registered in Europe during 2014, representing a significant increase over the previous year, which saw 42,194 EVs sold. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The quarterly solar PV module revenue made by the 20 leading global suppliers reached $5.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, an increase of 12% over the year prior, according to the latest report from IHS. The report showed a combination of sharp decline in solar PV module prices and higher revenues. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Reliance Power today inked a pact with government of the Indian state of Rajasthan government to develop a 6,000 MW solar park in the state over the next 10 years. A memorandum of understanding in this regard was signed by the state’s Chief Minister and Reliance Power’s CEO here today. [The Hans India]

¶ Japan’s atomic regulator on Thursday cleared two more of reactors for restart, another step towards returning the country to nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster of 2011 led to the shutdown of all units. The two reactors are at the Takahama nuclear station operated by Kansai Electric Power. [The Straits Times]

¶ Plans for Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation at Hinkley Point face fresh delays after French developer EDF warned a decision on building the reactors may still be a “considerable” time off. The decision from EDF was to be by the end of March 2015 but now looks unlikely to meet that deadline. [Telegraph.co.uk]

US:

¶ An Arizona energy company has inaugurated a solar array at Fort Huachuca that will provide about one-quarter of the Army base’s energy needs. The array produces 17.2 MW of power, making it one of the largest arrays on a US military facility, and will offset about 58,000 tons of carbon emissions annually. [UPI.com]

¶ Two West Virginia power companies are attempting to eliminate competition from rooftop solar by misleading legislators about the language in House Bill 2201. Most recently, an industry lobbyist repeatedly misled the Senate Judiciary Committee about what the new bill language would do. [Your Renewable News]

¶ New York is looking at new energy laws, and might consider emulating Vermont’s Cow Power program. The manure from half the cows in New York could power about 45,000 homes. Capturing and utilizing this methane is equivalent to eliminating the carbon dioxide emissions from about 120,000 cars. [Albany Times Union]

¶ Apple Inc will buy about $850 million of power from a new California solar farm to cut its energy bill. The First Solar Inc plant, with the capacity to power the equivalent of 60,000 homes, will be used to supply electricity for Apple’s new campus in Silicon Valley and all offices and stores in the state. [Christian Science Monitor]

¶ Gulf Power filed a petition asking the Florida Public Service Commission to approve an agreement that would make the utility a leading purchaser of wind generation among Florida utilities. The project, called Kingfisher Wind, would be sited in Oklahoma, where conditions are favorable for wind energy. [NorthEscambia.com]

¶ A measure that would see decreased taxes for businesses utilizing renewable energy was passed by the Virginia House of Delegates this week with broad bipartisan support. The bill allows lower tax rates for machinery and tools businesses use for renewable energy, including solar, wind, and other forms. [Augusta Free Press]

¶ Innovative Solar Systems, LLC has received all approvals and is ready to break ground on a 75-MW Solar Farm in Fayetteville. North Carolina. It will generate enough electricity to power approximately 15,000 to 20,000 average size homes, according to John E. Green, the CEO of Innovative Solar. [RenewablesBiz]

¶ Governor Dannel Malloy wants to provide new incentives for solar power in the state. His office is crafting new legislation that would let homeowners trade in renewable energy credits for the first time. People or companies that install solar arrays on houses could receive 15-year contracts for their energy credits.
[WNPR News]

¶ Texas’ only radioactive waste dump wants to open its gates to tens of thousands of metric tons of spent nuclear reactor fuel now scattered across the country. Waste Control Specialists is seeking federal approval to temporarily store highly radioactive waste at its complex northwest of Midland. [KERA News]


February 11 Energy News

February 11, 2015

World:

¶ In Australia, the Bulli Creek solar project received approval from the Toowoomba Regional Council for building up to 2,000 MW over the next eight years across 13,000 acres of cattle grazing land. It has the option of building out the site in manageable stages of 100 MW to 500 MW or more per stage. [Renew Economy]

¶ A report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives questions the economic cost and environmental benefits of SaskPower’s $1.5-billion Boundary Dam Carbon Capture and Storage project, claiming there are cheaper, more sustainable options to reduce the province’s greenhouse gas emissions. [Regina Leader-Post]

¶ New figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council show that the global wind industry grew by 44% in 2014, installing over 51 GW. The figure indicates a “solid sign of the recovery of the industry after a rough patch in the past few years.” The cumulative total worldwide was about 369,500 GW at year’s end. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Some communities in Abuja, the Nigerian the Federal Capital Territory, have marked one year of steady power supply, following the implementation of the Light up Rural Nigeria project, National Mirror reports. The project uses renewable power generation to supply electricity to the communities. [Nigerian Bulletin]

¶ Sandfire Resources has signed an agreement with juwi, a renewable energy company, which will see the construction of a 10.6-MW solar power station at its DeGrussa copper mine in Western Australia. The $40 million project will involve the construction of the largest integrated off-grid solar array in Australia. [Australian Mining]

¶ In Pakistan, there are over 1.1 million agriculture tube wells, with only 30% of them operated by electricity. With the country’s growing energy crisis, farmers are left with no option but to switch from diesel to solar energy to irrigate their crops. Tube wells consume around 2,000 million liters of oil per year. [eco-business.com]

¶ Some 77% of people in the UK think the nation should generate more electricity from renewable sources, a study reveals. Solar energy had 78% backing rooftop solar for new houses. Some 51% of consumers identified nuclear power as the least desirable plant to have nearby, followed by coal-fired (21%). [reNews]

¶ At a joint press conference following a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in Egypt’s capital of Cairo, the Egyptian head of state said a nuclear power plant would be constructed in Dabaa in northwest Egypt on the Mediterranean coast. [Press TV]

US:

¶ Elon Musk believes solar and utilities can exist together, despite uneasy feelings of many within the utility sector. Speaking at the Detroit Auto Show, Musk said that expanding electric vehicle markets, along with businesses and homes as solar power generators, will change how we view electricity demand. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Vermont Gas Systems has abandoned its plan to bring natural gas under Lake Champlain to a New York paper mill after the plant withdrew its financial support. The pipeline, proposed to go from Middlebury under the lake to the International Paper facility in Ticonderoga, New York, proved too expensive. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Congressional attention on the Keystone XL pipeline detracts from a number of other significant developments in our quest for a better economy. Three significant moves by state officials in the last month show that clean energy’s importance to America is swelling, much to the benefit of the economy. [Triple Pundit]

¶ In what may be the largest commercial power agreement in the clean energy industry to date, First Solar just announced that it will supply Apple 130 MW of power for 25 years from its California Flats Solar Project. The deal reportedly is worth a total of $848 million. The project should be completed in 2016. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A consortium of US companies joined with California energy officials to launch of the Calgren Ethanol Biodigester in Pixley, California. The project utilizes waste from dairy farms to power the production of tens of millions of gallons of ethanol. The project is 100% American made and constructed. [Dairy Herd Management]

¶ California lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled a package of bills to significantly expand renewable energy use in California, cut gasoline use by 50% and require the state’s major government pension funds to sell off investments in coal companies. The bills support environmental goals of the state’s governor. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]

¶ Siemens has been awarded another order from Pattern Energy Group LP to supply and install 87 SWT-2.3-108 2.3-MW wind turbines for the Logan’s Gap Wind project. The 200-MW project, located in Comanche County, Texas, will create enough clean energy to power 50,000 homes in Texas annually. [PennEnergy]


February 10 Energy News

February 10, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Why nuclear industry needs to be paid $500/MWh” – South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill raised a few eyebrows about his plans for a “royal commission” looking into nuclear energy. But he is right about one thing: Nuclear energy would be economically viable in South Australia, or indeed the nation. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ The European wind sector installed more new capacity than gas and coal combined in 2014. The industry connected a total of 11,791 MW to the grid while coal and gas added 3305 MW and 2338 MW respectively. The coal and gas industries retired more capacity than they commissioned last year. [reNews]

¶ In the build-up to the Indian government-sponsored renewable energy investment summit, RE-Invest 2015, the participating companies have provided non-binding investment indication of 166 GW solar power generation capacity and 5 GW per year of solar manufacturing capacity. [Business Standard]

¶ Eskom, which provides about 95% of South Africa’s electricity, says there is a high probability of almost daily controlled power cuts for the next few months. Frustrated with epileptic power supply, South Africans are considering alternative power sources to reduce their dependence on the ailing grid. [Voice of America]

¶ Two new wind farms in the Philippines have added 303 MW of clean energy to the country’s power supply. The wind farms, which are located in Ilocos Norte and Panay, buffer the country’s expected power shortage in the coming month of March. Around 70% of Philippines’ electricity is generated from fossil fuels. [EcoSeed]

¶ Germany is not expanding power transport networks quickly enough and may need to extend a back-up power scheme beyond its planned expiry in 2017, the country’s energy regulator said on Monday. The scheme became necessary after Germany shut 40% of its nuclear capacity in 2011 after the Fukushima Disaster. [Reuters]

¶ The Japanese government is discussing setting a target of supplying 50% of Japan’s energy with a combination of nuclear and renewable power by 2030, increasing the ratio of renewable energy resources to nuclear power. It intends to show a positive attitude toward minimizing reliance on nuclear power. [The Japan News]

¶ Germany boosted its wind and solar capacity by 10% in 2014, adding a combined 6,800 MW of newly installed wind turbines and solar panels, putting further downward pressure on power prices, which already dropped to their lowest level in over ten years. The solar and wind capacity is now 77,400 MW. [Platts]

¶ Firms in Norway and Germany on Tuesday signed an agreement to build an over 600-km long power cable linking the electricity networks of the two countries, with 500 km under water. The Nordlink project is estimated to cost up to €2 billion ($2.2 billion) and is expected to go online in 2020. [Europe Online Magazine]

US:

¶ Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, a 550-MW farm that is the largest on public lands managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management, has begun operating and will provide enough energy to power more than 160,000 average California homes annually, according to the CEO of the farm’s developer. [Los Angeles Times]

¶ Solar power is really growing in Hawaii, according to the Energy Information Administration. Over the last five years, solar power has grown exponentially, particularly in Oahu where most of the state’s population lives: About 12% of Oahu residents have rooftop solar, compared to the US average of 0.5%. [Triple Pundit]

¶ The Federal Trade Commission will not investigate Green Mountain Power’s marketing of renewable energy, but cautioned the power company to be clear in its communications. A complaint had been lodged that GMP was claiming its power was renewable while selling renewable credits out of state. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

¶ A new UC Berkeley study shows that if biomass electricity production is combined with carbon capture and sequestration in the western US, power generators could store more carbon than they emit and make a critical contribution to an overall zero-carbon future by the second half of the 21st century. [AZoCleantech]

¶ In their fight against Wisconsin utilities, solar advocates haven’t had the state Public Service Commission on their side. But for the second time in less than a year, a judge has sided with Renew Wisconsin in a suit challenging changes in the way solar power customers are compensated. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]


February 9 Energy News

February 9, 2015

World:

¶ According to Frost & Sullivan, with no impending change in Saudi Arabia’s energy policy, the oil price could temporarily hit low $40 levels, or even lower for a brief period in 2015. However, they also say they expect tumbling oil prices will have little impact on renewable energy including solar power. [solarserver.com]

¶ Gamesa has signed two new wind turbine supply agreements in India totalling 260 MW. One contract is for160 MW, 80 G97 2-MW machines for developer and independent power producer Greenko. The other, with developer CLP India, is for construction of a 100-MW wind farm in Madhya Pradesh. [reNews]

¶ After decades of studies and field surveys, India has finally decided to focus on tapping clean and renewable geothermal energy. The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has drafted a national policy, which would make India a global leader in the sector, generating 1,000 MW in phase one, by 2022. [Daily News & Analysis]

¶ The Spanish Ministry of Industry intends to add 8,537 MW of renewable energy capacity between 2015 and 2020, local news agency Europa Press said Thursday. The government’s plan calls for the construction of 1,370 MW of solar PVs, 211 MW of solar thermal power plants, and 6,473 MW of wind farms. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Since 1903, Fortum Oyj’s Vaerta harbor site has generated power using coal, oil, natural gas and even considered nuclear. Now it’s phasing out the last coal furnace and replacing it with the world’s largest combined heat and power generator that will burn just wood chips and timber scraps by next year.[Bloomberg]

¶ The prospect of a nuclear industry in South Australia has been embraced by the state’s peak business group as a multi-million-dollar industry. Business SA chief executive Nigel McBride said it would be good for the state and could result in reduced carbon emissions. SA has one of the world’s biggest uranium deposits. [ABC Online]

¶ A planned Ararat wind farm will go ahead after the Australian Capital Territory government announced it would power Canberra from the Wimmera. The 20-year feed-in tariff will mean a significant portion of the wind farm’s total output will be contracted to the ACT, which will get 33% of its power from wind. [Stock & Land]

¶ India has resolved US concerns about its existing nuclear liability regime, setting the stage for commercial negotiations to generate atomic power. However, the foreign ministry categorically stated that India’s nuclear liability law and its associated rules would not be changed, maintaining liability for reactor builders. [Economic Times]

US:

¶ A report by international energy research company Wood Mackenzie says solar PV has the capacity to disrupt the US energy landscape with speed and tumult similar to the shale industry. It may even directly impact natural gas markets in the near future, as it has already begun to in California. [pv magazine]

¶ Swinerton Renewable Energy and Scatec Solar have started construction on a 104 MW photovoltaic solar plant in Iron County, Utah. When operational by the end of 2015, the plant will be Utah’s largest solar energy generation facility, generating enough energy to power approximately 18,500 homes annually. [AZoBuild]

¶ North Carolina’s Roanoke Electric Cooperative recently dedicated a 100-kW community solar farm developed with the help of its Raleigh-based North Carolina Electric Membership Corp. Individual panels are now being sold to Roanoke EC consumer-members at an initial sale price of $480 each. [Electric Co-op Today]


Februayr 8 Energy News

February 8, 2015

Power Investments:

¶ “Will This Ruin $124 Billion in Natural Gas Investments? (Hint: It’s Not OPEC)” – A new process for manufacturing ethylene developed by Brazilian chemical leader Braskem could be the biggest global threat to the natural gas industry. It’s secret ingredient? That would be bio-ethanol derived from sugar cane. [Motley Fool]

¶ “Nuclear Energy Renaissance Takes Another Blow and May Never Recover” – Setbacks like the Vogtle Nuclear Plant faced this week have become all too predictable in the nuclear industry, and they’re the reason a nuclear renaissance is unlikely in the US. Costs are simply too high, and competition too strong. [Motley Fool]

World:

¶ The premier of South Australia revived the nuclear debate when he announced a Royal Commission to investigate the costs and benefits of involvement in the nuclear industry. The commission would consider nuclear power stations, uranium enrichment plants, and a nuclear waste dump in the state. [The New Daily]

¶ There has been a surge in renewable energy uptake in the UK since the introduction of Feed-in Tariffs almost five years ago. Industry estimates suggest there is still as much as 20 GW of untapped generating potential on UK farms. But changing government support requires careful planning. [FarmersWeekly]

¶ Punjab is expected to achieve 2,500 MW renewable power generation with France pledging to become a partner in solar and biomass power sector in the State providing technologies along with investment by major French renewable energy companies. Special emphasis will be on Solar and Biomass projects. [NYOOOZ]

¶ Two Egyptian banks are moving into green lending with an initiative to finance rooftop solar power systems for residential consumers. National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr are offering loans within specific areas of Cairo, with plans to expand into Egypt’s other governorates. Interest range from 4% to 8%. [Green Prophet]

US:

¶ The Columbia, Missouri Water and Light Department generated 7.22% of its energy for utility customers using renewable sources, exceeding the 5% goal for 2014 and nearly halfway to the 15% objective by 2018. At the end of 2014, the city had spent $1.12 million of the $3.29 million allotted. [Columbus Telegram]

¶ New York state is encouraging community-based microgrids through NY Prize, a $40 million first-of-its-kind competition announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The competition was discussed before an audience of a hundred at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Poly last week. [Troy Record]

¶ Wyoming and Montana are among the country’s top coal producers, and both rely on coal for most of their electricity generation, but they have opposite approaches to the Clean Power Plan. Wyoming intends to fight the plan. Montana will comply with it. There are implications for the states’ economies. [Flathead Beacon]

¶ Solar power in Arkansas received a boost this week with the announcement of an agreement between a new Arkansas Electric Cooperatives subsidiary and an innovative Minneapolis solar panel company called tenKsolar to create the largest solar initiative for the electric company, which has 100,000 customers. [Times Record]


February 7 Energy News

February 7, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Nuclear Power Counts As A Renewable? Arizona Senate Committee Says So…” – Committee approval of a bill saying nuclear was renewable is especially funny considering the fact that Arizona is fast approaching some serious water-sourcing issues, and nuclear power plants require huge quantities of water. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ An engineer has devised a system to convert the power of the wind directly into heat in an invention which could rid Scottish roads of frost in the winter and allow certain crops to be grown for 365 days a year. He believes one of the systems could heat up to 250 acres of farmland and also generate electricity. [Herald Scotland]

World:

¶ India could start installing 20,000 MW of solar power capacity as early as April after companies pledged to support the government’s drive for clean energy, an official told Reuters. Details of the plan, which has commitments from US, German and Chinese companies, will be announced on Friday. [Economic Times]

¶ A rebound in demand for Victorian brown coal since the end of the carbon tax continues to drive up the carbon emissions intensity of the National Electricity Market, which supplies power to about 80% of Australia’s population across the eastern states. It is up 3.3% since the carbon price was scrapped in July. [SteelGuru]

¶ A new study released by the International Renewable Energy Agency says renewable power generation technologies reached a historical level of competitiveness between 2013 and 2014. Power from geothermal, hydro and onshore wind are in the same competitive price range as traditional fossil fuels. [The Weather Channel]

¶ Siemens has handed over the first of five North Sea grid connections, the BorWin2 offshore platform, to its customer TenneT, a German-Dutch transmission grid operator, for immediate commercial operation. It is important as the first offshore grid connection for efficient high-voltage DC power. [Breaking Energy]

¶ A leaky roof at the Kingspan Environmental factory was costing the company up to £15,000 annually. Now the company has transformed that roof into a major power plant, installing 4,900 solar panels to create Ireland’s biggest rooftop solar PV installation. The company is now saving £40,000 a year. [Belfast Telegraph]

¶ Northern Ireland has one of the best wind resources in Europe. Nevertheless, until now they haven’t been able to make full use of them. That’s all about to change with AES’ plans to install Europe’s biggest electricity storage battery, a 10-MW lithium-ion battery array, at a site next to Kilroot power station. [Belfast Telegraph]

US:

¶ Aerojet Rocketdyne and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation have signed agreements with Silicon Ranch Corporation to build and manage what will be the largest solar field in Arkansas. The 12-MW project will occupy approximately 100 acres. It is valued for its predictable energy costs. [MyArkLaMiss]

¶ The National Hockey League today announced that it is ranked Number 17 on the US EPA’s National Top 100 list of the largest users of green power, making it the first professional sports league ever to achieve the distinction. The league has a number of significant green power achievements that it can point to. [NHL.com]

¶ A Massachusetts lawmaker is proposing sweeping changes to the state’s energy strategy, including measures to help fund a gas pipeline, more efficiently site electric transmission and expand the use of offshore wind generation. The state is expecting to retire 8,000 MW of existing generation in coming years. [Utility Dive]

¶ Over a hundred representatives of energy efficiency and renewable energy businesses went to Richmond, Virginia for Clean Energy Lobby Day. They met legislators, witnessed a critical subcommittee meeting, and came away with a powerful impression: the only bills utility-backed bills made it out of committee. [Energy Collective]

¶ The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is taking a closer look at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station after the plant shut down unexpectedly during last week’s blizzard, the NRC announced Monday. The special inspection at the plant is to review problems that led to the shutdown on January 27. [Barnstable Patriot]


February 6 Energy News

February 6, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Putting renewable energy costs in perspective” Anti-renewable people consistently cite ‘increased’ rates due to renewable energy, without comparing what the rates would have been if there were no renewables. They speak as if oil, coal and natural gas prices never go up, despite their history. [New Hampshire Business Review]

World:

¶ The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has awarded power purchase agreements (PPAs) to almost 200 MW of projects following a large-scale reverse wind energy auction. The PPAs will be signed for a term of 20 years and are planned to meet some 33% of the ACT power demand in 2020. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Siemens Canada is a leading company in the Canadian wind market, contributing to more than half of the 1.9 GW of new capacity installed in 2014. That momentum is reinforced today with the completion of the 1,000th blade at Siemens’ wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in Tillsonburg, Ontario. [Your Renewable News]

¶ An investment management firm, InfraRed, has announced its agreement to invest in the £1 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon in Wales. The project is designed to generate around 500 GWh of electricity every year for 120 years, enough to provide nearly all of the domestic electricity for the Swansea region. [ITV News]

¶ On Wednesday new figures showing the “incredible strength” of Scotland’s renewable energy industry were announced by World Wildlife Fund Scotland. In January 2015, wind turbines alone produced enough average daily electricity to meet the needs of 146% of Scottish households, a 27% increase from 2014. [Blouin News Blogs]

US:

¶ The city council of Hillsboro, Oregon unanimously endorsed a plan to have the city recognized as a member of “Northwest Solar Communities” by the US DOE. The designation will help to promote increased use of solar power, resulting in reduced costs for installation of solar rooftop panels on community homes. [Hillsboro Tribune]

¶ The demand for renewable power resources such as wind and solar is not only holding steady, but growing. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported the story from Albany. People want solar panels in the American snow belt. Hudson Solar is paneling more than a dozen houses a month in the state of New York. [CCTV-America]

¶ In a breakthrough proposal, Dominion Virginia Power is planning to build solar power plants generating 400 MW of electricity in the state, with the energy coming online by 2020. The Richmond-based utility expects to invest $700 million in the large-scale solar photovoltaic projects in a number of locations. [Richmond.com]

¶ Representatives from 20 different groups are getting together to block the proposed Bakken oil pipeline’s path across Iowa. The pipeline would carry oil across 18 Iowa counties on its way to the Gulf coast. A legal battle can be launched now that a permit application was filed with the Iowa Utilities Board. [KIWARadio.com]

¶ The probability of saving money by using solar energy rather than standard grid electricity is 92% for Indiana farm businesses and about 50% for homes, Purdue University energy economists find. Unlike homes, businesses can deduct their investment in solar systems from their revenues. [Purdue Agricultural Communications]

¶ Washington state Senate Republicans want to revise the state’s renewable energy standard to encourage utilities to pay for carbon reductions in the transportation sector. Other proposed amendments for SB 7535 include tax incentives for alternative fuel vehicles and small modular nuclear reactors. [Argus Media]

¶ The governor of West Virginia has approved a law repealing the state’s controversial 2009 Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act, which required the state to generate 25% of its electricity from renewables or alternative energy sources (including some coal-based technologies) by 2025. [World Coal]


February 5 Energy News

February 5, 2015

World:

¶ North Eastern Electric Power Corporation has commissioned a 5-MW solar power plant at Monarchak in Tripura, which will be the biggest and the first of its kind in northeast India. NEEPCO will set up a 50-MW solar power plant in Madhya Pradesh and a 2-MW plant in Lanka in Nagaon district of Assam. [The Week]

¶ Developer and operator WPD has exported first power from its 288 MW Butendiek offshore wind farm some 32 km west of the island of Sylt in the German North Sea. The first of 80 Siemens SWT 3.6-120 wind turbines to be installed has commenced trial operations and is feeding electricity into the grid. [reNews]

¶ Welspun Renewables Energy Limited has signed an agreement to build a 100-MW solar photovoltaic power project in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. This follows other agreements by other companies to set up solar projects in Gujarat, Rajasthan and, Karnataka to totalling over 13 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Tohoku Electric Power Company found more than 4,000 improper entries in its inspection records for one of the reactors at its Onagawa nuclear power plant. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority had said company inspections were lax, and the firm was re-examining its records. [Citizens for Legitimate Government]

US:

¶ The electric power industry is turning away from coal, and clean energy is growing again in the US as investments in renewables increased in 2014 after a three-year decline. The 2015 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook report says US as second in the world behind China for clean energy investments. [Climate Central]

¶ In the current legislative session, Republicans who control the Washington state senate jumped into the discussion of how to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases. Senators from both parties outlined a plan for promoting such “carbon reduction investments” as electric-vehicle chargers and efficiency. [Bellingham Herald]

¶ The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to give tentative approval to a pair of proposed solar projects in Boulevard that are expected to generate enough energy to power around 46,000 homes. They are the 420-acre Tierra Del Sol Solar project and the 765-acre Rugged Solar project. [KUSI]

¶ Labor, business, and environmental leaders have formed a unique coalition that will urge Illinois lawmakers to pass new standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy, leading to tens of thousands of new, local jobs. More than 100,000 individuals across the state already work in the clean energy industry. [Forbes]

¶ Energy use in federal post offices, court houses and military bases has dropped to its lowest level on record. The sharp decline is largely thanks to a Bush-era push to slash electricity and fuel consumption in thousands of facilities and vehicles. The total was the lowest since record keeping began in 1975. [Investing.com]

¶ The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory has joined the Electric Power Research Institute to launch the Clean Energy Incubator Network to improve the performance of clean energy business incubators, connect potential partners, and advance new clean energy technologies from researchers. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Southern Co expects the firms building its new nuclear plant in Georgia will pay $240 million in damages if the construction schedule slips another year-and-a-half, power company CEO Thomas Fanning said Wednesday. The payments would offset a portion of the extra costs associated with late completion. [Access North Georgia]


February 4 Energy News

February 4, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Siemens introduced Spectrum Power 7 Microgrid Management System, the company’s first advanced microgrid management software. It allows microgrid operators to manage and control distributed energy resources dynamically with integrated weather and load forecasting, based on the microgrid’s goals. [PennEnergy]

World:

¶ European day-ahead electricity prices went sharply lower in January as wind power generation posted new records in Germany and the UK. The Platts Continental Power Index fell 7.44% in January to €35.81/MWh compared to December’s €38.69/MWh. The Index was down 11.12% from January 2014. [Your Renewable News]

¶ SunEdison, Inc and Brakes India Limited announced that they have installed a solar power plant to generate 7.72 MW at Brake India’s facilities in Munanjipatti in the state of Tamil Nadu. A Solar Purchase Requirement states that high tension wire customers must source 6% of their energy use from solar. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Renewable energy accounted for 14.8% of Estonia’s total electricity consumption in 2014, 2.2% more than in the year 2013, LETA/Public Broadcasting reports. Estonia has taken a commitment to bring the share of renewable energy in the total consumption to 17.6% by the year 2020. [The Baltic Course]

¶ The installation of a solar power station which could provide enough electricity to serve 4,500 homes is getting underway near the UK town of Tring. The proposals involve the construction of a solar park capable of generating up to 15 MW of electricity. The park will be on farmland, which can remain productive. [Hemel Gazette]

¶ Africa’s first grid-connected biogas plant will begin supplying power by March 1. The $6.5 million anaerobic digester in Kenya will consume an annual 50,000 tons of organic waste. The power that the 2.8-MW will put on the grid will cost $0.10/kWh compared with $0.38/kWh for diesel-generated power. [Bloomberg]

¶ Indian wind power capacity additions are expected to go up 10% to 2300 MW during the current financial year 2014-15. As on December 31, 2014, the total installed wind power capacity was 22,465 MW, constituting 9% of the overall installed capacity in the country and 66% of the renewable energy segment.
[Times of India]

US:

¶ According to a recent US Forest Service study, current policies in the European Union and elsewhere requiring the use of renewable and low greenhouse gas emitting energy are driving demand for wood pellets used for bioenergy. Such a demand could provide new markets for US timber exports. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A major Midwest utility holding company is teaming up with a Massachusetts equipment maker to create a statewide series of microgrids, including one in the Albany, New York Region. Microgrids using locally supplied power, including from renewable sources, can operate even during overall grid disruptions. [Albany Times Union]

¶ LaCrosse, Wisconsin-based Gundersen Health System has gone off the grid. As of October 14, 2014, the nonprofit healthcare network became the first hospital to offset all of its fossil fuel use with locally produced, green energy. After an energy audit, Gundersen turned to efficiency and renewable power. [Healthcare Finance News]

¶ For those focused on our transition to renewable energy, the general takeaway from the monthly US electricity generation report is that renewables had increased to 14.8% of US electricity generation in November 2014, and 13.5% for the year through November. This is despite a decline in hydropower due to weather. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Frustrated by its lack of influence in the siting of solar projects in town, the Rutland Town Select Board is distributing a resolution asking all Vermont municipalities to call for more municipal involvement in the Certificate of Public Good process required in permitting renewable energy projects in the state. [Vermont Public Radio]

¶ Arizona is one step closer to officially declaring nuclear power a renewable-energy source. (Yes, you read that correctly.) The Senate Committee on Water and Energy narrowly passed SB 1134, a bill that classifies nuclear power from recycled fuel or naturally occurring thorium to be a renewable-energy source. [Phoenix New Times]


February 3 Energy News

February 3, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Battery storage – the growing spectre of grid parity” In a study published this month, IRENA provides a global scope. One of the most interesting presentations in the study is a table showing what battery storage costs in Germany. It shows the point of grid parity for solar+storage as coming this year. [RenewEconomy]

¶ “Low Carbon Fuels: How Clean Fuels Can Power the West Coast and Beyond” As California prepares to readopt their 2010 Low Carbon Fuel Standard, we are seeing clear evidence that diverse types of clean fuel can make a significant contribution to cutting fossil fuel use. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

¶ Grid operators in New England have multiple options to offset the loss of generation from closing the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, and they will most likely use several of them in combination. One way is to expand transmission capacity into New England. Another is to reduce demand. There are others. [PennEnergy]

Science and Technology:

¶ While fossil energy use produces much more greenhouse gas emissions than other causes, land use alteration is another major source (roughly a quarter of all global emissions). GHG emissions arise from deforestation, peatlands, methane from cattle, nitrogen from overfertilization, and other human activities. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Chinese renewable energy giant Hanergy Holding Group says it will unveil three to five solar-powered cars using its thin-film PV technology in October. The cars will have six square meters of PV modules on their frames. In theory, four hours’ sunshine could power a one-ton car to run 80 to 100 kilometers. [ecns]

World:

¶ Hong Kong-based GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Limited has plans to build 2 GW of solar power plants in China in 2015. If all goes well, the company could achieve 3 GW by 2017. Many of these projects are utility-scale, with some distributed generation. The company connected 52 MW to the grid in January. [CleanTechnica]

¶ More wind and solar plants raised Poland’s renewable energy installed capacity to 6,029 megawatts (MW) in 2014 from 5,511 MW a year earlier. Wind farm capacity rose 13% to 3,834 MW, while solar power capacity grew to 21 MW from 1.9 MW. Poland’s economy generates around 90% of its electricity from coal. [EurActiv]

¶ The Philippine government is keeping up its push for renewable energy projects to diversify energy sourcing and boost power supply in the country. At the of end of 2014, 638 renewable energy projects had been awarded with a total potential capacity of 10,041 MW, of which 2,584 MW were up and running. [eco-business.com]

US:

¶ Newly announced support from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has the city kicking its potentially 100% renewable-energy power program, CleanPowerSF, into high gear. CleanPowerSF is a proposed city-run power program that would provide solar, wind, small hydro and other renewable energy to San Francisco. [San Francisco Examiner]

¶ A recent report by Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national environmental policy group, notes that in the third quarter of 2014, North Carolina ranked fifth in the nation for new clean energy job creation. That’s due in large part over 200 companies focused on smart grid, water, and transportation technologies. [CleanTechnica]

¶ President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal 2016 budget would make federal renewable energy tax credits permanent and provide billions of dollars for climate change initiatives, while eliminating almost $50 billion in fiscal incentives for the fossil fuel industries. He faces stiff opposition from Republicans. [Recharge]

¶ A bill in the Oregon Legislature this session would require electric companies to stop delivering coal-fired power to Oregon customers by 2025. Only coal-fired power from out of state would be effected, as Oregon’s only coal-fired power plant in Boardman is scheduled to be retired in 2020. [Jefferson Public Radio]

¶ The year 2014 may just shape up to be the best renewables have ever had in the United States. Data in the US Energy Information Administration’s Monthly Energy Review points to 2014 continuing an upwards trend in renewable energy production. At this time, data has only been released up to October 2014. [Energy Digital]

¶ Rocky Mountain Institute announced the launch of the Business Renewables Center, a collaborative platform to accelerate corporate renewable energy procurement. The BRC’s goal is to add another 60 GW of wind and solar by 2025 by decreasing costs and the complexities of installation for businesses. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ Apple will build a $2 billion global command center in Mesa, Arizona, with 150 full-time employees. The tech giant said it would be one of the largest investments it has ever made. Apple has pledged to completely power the facility with renewable energy, building out solar projects in the process. [Yahoo!7 News]


February 2 Energy News

February 2, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “The fossil fuel industry’s continued chokehold on state resources” – According to International Energy Agency (IEA) figures, in 2012 global fossil fuel subsidies amounted to $544 billion. On the other hand, the financial support provided to the renewable energy sector was under 20% of that, at $101 billion. [eco-business.com]

¶ “Renewable Energy Jobs Soar, But What Does It Mean for Investors?” – Here’s my nominee for stat of the day: The American economy added over 8 million jobs from January 2011 to June 2014. Yet despite the shale gas boom, the nation’s electric power generation sector lost 5,800 jobs in the same period. [Motley Fool]

World:

¶ With six consented projects totalling up to 4.15 GW, the scale of ambition for Scottish waters is undeniable. Even so, the UK Government has been urged to provide policy certainty on offshore wind energy following news that the UK will be overtaken by Germany on the installation of new turbines. [Click Green]

¶ Renewable energy is still very much on the back-burner for the South African government, but a recent Council for Scientific and Industrial Research study says wind and solar energy saved around R3.7 billion ($327 million) that otherwise would have been used to generate of electricity with diesel and coal. [htxt.africa]

¶ The two largest German power producers, RWE AG and EON SE, are keen to sell their gas-fired plants, rendered uncompetitive by the rise of renewable energy on the one hand and record low coal prices on the other. They will take them apart, move them by truck and ship and reassemble them elsewhere. [BizNews]

¶ Good Energy, which specializes in providing 100% renewable power, confirmed today that as of April 15th it will cut its gas prices by an average of 3.2% and lower its electricity prices by an average of 2.1%. The company said the savings for an average dual fuel user would be £33 off their annual bill. [Business Green]

¶ SMart Wind has handed in its planning application to the UK authorities for the second phase of the 4-GW Hornsea offshore wind project. Plans for the 1.8-GW phase are built around a layout of 360 Siemens turbines installed 90 kilometers off the Yorkshire coast. The 1.2-GW first phase was approved in December. [Recharge]

¶ In order to curb pollution in the National Capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi- led NDA government has approved plans to make Delhi free of petrol and diesel generators, according to the Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Minister. He also said a programme to transmit 7400 MW to Delhi has been approved. [indiatvnews.com]

¶ Instead of investing in expensive nuclear power plants, the Pakistani government should be working to develop sources of renewable energy, advised a panel of experts at a consultation held on Sunday in preparation for a public hearing over the environmental impact of proposed nuclear plants. [The News International]

US:

¶ Solar City has a way to make solar installation easier for ordinary people to afford. They will provide and install all the equipment required with no up-front cost to get a household or business up and running. The consumer pays Solar City for the power that they generate, and Solar City maintains the system. [Irish Times]

¶ California State regulators have approved a Pacific Gas and Electric Company plan to offer a clean energy program that will provide up to 100% solar power for a modest monthly premium, for customers who want power with a low carbon footprint. The utility expects to start enrolling customers in late 2015. [SmartMeters]

¶ Independent solar PV developer 8minutenergy Renewables, LLC of Folsom, California, and renewable energy provider sPower, of Salt Lake City, Utah, announced that construction on three solar PV facilities in the 72.9 MW-dc Redwood Solar Farm cluster located in Kern County, California will begin in Q1, 2015. [solarserver.com]


February 1 Energy News

February 1, 2015

Discussion:

¶ “Running on renewable energy, Burlington, Vermont powers green movement forward” Burlington, the state’s largest city, recently became the first of its size to use 100% renewable energy for its residents’ electricity needs. In a state known for socially conscious policies, the feat represents a milestone. [PBS NewsHour]

World:

¶ Israeli startup EnStorage is making news. The concept of a flow battery – which uses separate electrolyte components – is hardly new. Neither is the idea of using the common chemical hydrogen bromide for energy storage. EnStorage is putting the two concepts together in a low-cost commercial-sized unit. [TheTower.org]

¶ A new expert body has been formed to advise governments and organisations around the world on how best to ditch fossil-fuel and nuclear-energy systems and make the switch to 100% renewables. The group will focus on adopting a combination of energy efficiency and decentralized renewable energy systems. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The report, “RE100: the journey to 100%,” lists some achievements of RE100: H&M’s operations in the UK and Netherlands are already at 100%. Philips is getting half its power from renewable electricity. Mars is building a 200-MW wind farm in Texas that is expected to supply 100% of its US energy. [The Nation]

US:

¶ The state of Florida has been something of a solar power laggard, despite abundant sunshine. Politics has been the main barrier. Now, however, Florida Power & Light has announced plans to add at least 220 MW of new solar power capacity by the end of 2016, and plans to retire some of their fossil-fuel plants. [Solar Love]

¶ Plans to build Arkansas’ first wind farm have sparked interest and excitement in town and across the state. Dragonfly Industries International, a Texas wind company, hopes to install dozens of turbines, with a total capacity of 80 MW, costing $100 million, on more than 300 acres of rural land near Elm Springs. [Arkansas Online]

¶ Solar power has become the poster child of renewable-energy champions, leaving power sources such as biomass, hydro and wind in the shade. Small hydro isn’t dead, however, and small hydro projects can supply both energy and income through net metering, where the circumstances are right. [The Durango Herald]

¶ On Friday, 62 Senators approved Keystone XL. Fourteen of the 62 had voted for an amendment acknowledging that humans contribute significantly to climate change (the vote was 50-49). And nearly all of them had voted to acknowledge that climate change is no hoax and is happening now (98 to 1). [Scientific American]

¶ In 2009, after California passed a landmark law to source one third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, Southern California Edison formed a new lab. Engineers there are hatching plans to ensure its survival – and maybe even the survival of the other big utilities, which are watching closely. [ABS CBN News]

¶ In its first year of operation, the Colleton Solar Farm near Walterboro, South Carolina produced slightly more solar power than expected and demonstrated the benefits of tracking panels, even though they cost more. The 15-acre site generated 4,687 MWh, which was 5% more than expected in year one. [The Tand D.com]


January 31 Energy News

January 31, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “How Eon’s Transformation Will Change The Energy Debate In Europe” – The decision to divide Eon has the potential to be far more significant than any policy pronouncement and could light the blue touch paper on a transformation of the energy system that will revolutionise the way energy is consumed. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Seven Reasons Cheap Oil Can’t Stop Renewables Now” – Oil prices have fallen by more than half since July. Just five years ago, this would have put the renewable-energy industry on bankruptcy watch. Here are seven reasons why humanity’s transition to cleaner energy won’t be sidetracked by cheap oil. [Bloomberg]

Science and Technology:

¶ Eos Energy Storage will be making its MW-scale Aurora system commercially available starting in 2016 at a price of $160/kWh, according to a recent press release. The company’s standard offering is a containerized 1-MW DC battery system that can provide roughly 4 hours of continuous discharge for cost-effective energy storage. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Royal Dutch Shell has joined the ranks of energy companies who are slashing their spending. Shell said it was scaling back its planned capital investment by $15 billion over the next three years in a move that signals caution. Oil is now trading around $45 per barrel, down from over $100 per barrel this summer. [CNN]

¶ The government of the Indian state of Karnataka might not consider any more thermal power projects in future, the energy minister said. He warned that the summer might be tough because of coal mining licence cancellations by the Supreme Court. He pegs his hopes on renewable energy, especially solar power. [The New Indian Express]

¶ In Turkey, the Geycek Wind Power Plant officially opened. Each year, the plant is expected to produce around 400 million kWh of electricity with 70 wind turbines, and provide for the whole electricity requirement of the city of Kırşehir. It will eliminate 245,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. [Daily Sabah]

¶ ETESA, Panama’s state transmission company, selected five groups to build PV projects with a combined capacity of at least 172 MW in the country’s first solar auction. The developers offered an average price of $87.25/MWh. Decisions one projects were based on price and need for a power supply. [Recharge]

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency invested $1 billion into more than 230 projects, fellowships, and scholarships. The news comes only days after the Bureau of Meteorology and science agency released a report which claims Australia will be subject to massive current and future climate impacts. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Over the course of last year the electricity generated from solar installations across the UK almost doubled. Official data finds that at the end of 2014 solar generated almost 5 GW, up from 2.8 GW at the end of 2013. The latest figure is enough power to supply 1.5 million homes across the country. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

US:

¶ The city of Ann Arbor has worked out a license agreement with DTE Energy to construct a large solar array at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport. City officials say it could be the largest solar installation in the entire state of Michigan. Initially, it would be up to 1.6 MW, but a second phase could it to 2.15 MW. [MLive.com]

¶ Not only is demand for electric power in the US falling, but competition from renewable energy sources is growing. In the past few years, that competition is not just from other large power producers, but from utility customers themselves. The rising opportunity for consumers is a problem for utilities. [Huffington Post]

¶ Supporting the Administration’s effort to double renewable energy generation by 2020, the US DOE announced more than $59 million in funding for solar energy innovation. Innovative solar manufacturing technologies will get $45 million, and $14 million will go to multi-year solar community deployment plans. [PennEnergy]

¶ Delays and cost overruns are piling up for a new plant in Georgia that was supposed to prove nuclear energy can be built affordably. Instead, the companies building first-of-their-kind reactors at Plant Vogtle expect they will need an extra three years and $1 billion to finish construction. [Savannah Morning News]


January 30 Energy News

January 30, 2015

World:

¶ A series of graphs shows how the German Energiewende renewable targets are on track, have lowered emissions, decoupled energy consumption from economic growth, pushed wholesale prices down to record lows, and are now pushing retail prices down. Interesting things are happening to the energy mix. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Germany’s newly installed onshore wind power capacity rose by a record 4,750 MW in 2014, marking what is likely to be a peak annual gain as the country gears up for a nuclear-free future. The increase production is roughly equivalent to one nuclear plant. It is a 58% percent bigger increase than 2013’s. [Reuters]

¶ Countries from Mexico to Germany and Malaysia are increasingly taking advantage of cheap oil by trimming fossil-fuel subsidies, easing the way for renewable power that can help the environment. The IEA’s latest report says fossil fuel producers were paid $548 billion in 2013, a $26.5 billion decline. [Bloomberg]

¶ New figures released by GTM Research show that the Latin America solar PV market grew by 370% in 2014, installing a total of 625 MW. In the fourth quarter of 2014 alone, Chile installed double the amount of Latin America’s annual solar PV total in 2013. Projections are for 2.1 GW of PV installed in 2015. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The northern African country of Algeria is doubling its previous 2030 goal for renewable energy, according to recent reports — with the new goal standing at 25 GW by 2030, rather than 12 GW. Currently, there are more than 350 MW of solar PV projects being developed in the very sunny African country. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ Renewable energy production has outperformed natural gas resources, contributing nearly half of new generating capacity in the US in 2014. Various renewable energy sources such as biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar and wind contributed 49.81% of new capacity. Natural gas accounted for 48.65%. [Greentech Lead]

¶ The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board denied the state of Vermont’s request for a hearing designed to force Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee and Entergy Nuclear Operations to maintain an operational status regarding its Site Emergency Plan. [Nuclear Street – Nuclear Power Plant News, Jobs, and Careers]

¶ Even low-income families now have a path to embracing solar energy thanks to work being done by the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance. The organization has been working to create a system whereby families on the federal government’s energy assistance program can receive their electricity via solar technologies. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In a brief competition lasting all of two rounds, Offshore MW LLC and RES Americas Inc. were named provisional winners for offshore wind leases off the coast of Massachusetts. Offshore MW and RES Americas won Lease Area OCS-A 0500 (187,523 acres) and OCS-A 0501 (166,886 acres), respectively. [North American Windpower]

¶ Millions of apartment dwellers and home renters across California will soon be able to go solar, under programs authorized by state utility regulators. Though any customer can join, the effort is geared toward utility customers who don’t own property or may not want to tack on solar panels to their property. [U-T San Diego]

¶ MillerCoors has constructed a 3.2-MW solar array at its brewery in Irwindale, California, the largest PV array at any US brewery. The solar plant will generate enough energy to product 7 million cases of beer annually. The brewery also uses biogas from its wastewater treatment plant to power two GE engines. [Forbes]

¶ Environmental advocates called on the divided Maine Legislature to back a series of bill this session they say will expand the use of solar power, help residents cut their heating bills and bolster wildlife protections. The six-bill package includes incentives for solar power and financial aid for insulating. [The State]

¶ Two days after a major New England blizzard contributed to the shutdown of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the facility remains closed. Nuclear power critics cite the Pilgrim shutdown as one more proof the industry is not ready for storms driven by climate change. [InsideClimate News]


January 29 Energy News

January 29, 2015

World:

¶ The UK could halve the amount of water used in energy generation by 2030, if it realises an ambitious renewable energy plan, says the International Renewable Energy Agency. IRENA’s report, Renewable Energy in the Water, Energy & Food Nexus, says the water benefits of renewable energy are under-reported. [edie.net]

¶ According to Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group, this January has seen the highest levels of wind energy ever recorded there. A record was set just over three weeks ago, 2:45 pm on January 7, as windpower provided 42% of electricity needs at that moment, enough to power 361,400 homes. [Belfast Telegraph]

¶ Wind power solutions provider Inox Wind Limited, a subsidiary of Gujarat Fluorochemicals Limited, says it was awarded two wind-farm project contracts of 54 MW and 118 MW in Gujarat and Rajasthan, respectively, by Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited, a subsidiary of The Tata Power Company Limited. [NetIndian]

¶ Conversion to hydrogen can provide a store for all of the excess electricity produced by the renewable industry, according to a report. It also points to a huge potential power to gas storage industry, with the European energy storage potential for electrolysis estimated at several hundred gigawatts. [Proactive Investors UK]

¶ Gamesa has secured 84 MW of wind turbine supply contract from Brazil’s Força Eólica do Brasil for three projects in Rio Grande do Norte. Delivery of 42 of the Gamesa G114 2-MW turbines is scheduled for the third quarter of 2016 and the wind projects are expected to be commissioned in the fourth quarter. [Greentech Lead]

¶ IKEA this week revealed demand for its greenest products jumped 58% last year to over €1 billion as consumers purchased such products as LED lighting, solar panels, and water-saving taps. Products that help customers achieve “a more sustainable life at home” are a major growth area for the company. [Business Green]

¶ The Scottish government has announced that it will place a temporary ban on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. The Scottish energy minister told the country’s parliament that the ban would allow for time for the government to conduct a public health assessment. [ThinkProgress]

¶ A UK village made famous after strong anti-fracking protests has installed the first community-owned solar panel project. Residents from Balcome, West Sussex set up an energy co-operative after the protests. The co-op has installed a total of 69 panels on the roof of a cow-shed at a nearby family-run farm. [E&T magazine]

US:

¶ Idaho Power has signed on 13 new solar projects representing 461 MW of solar capacity, which are scheduled to be built and come online in 2016, according to Idaho Power communications specialist Brad Bowlin. He says there are additional pending projects that will produce more than 800 MW. [Ontario Argus Observer]

¶ California State Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia has introduced a bill, AB 197, which would set a bold but achievable goal of utilizing a minimum of 50% renewable energy resources by 2030. This goal was highlighted by Governor Jerry Brown during his State of the State address earlier this month. [Imperial Valley News]

¶ NRG Energy and Denver-based SunShare announced a deal for SunShare to grow its community solar portfolio about eightfold. NRG Renew will finance the $25 million development of five new “solar garden” projects in Colorado. Four of these are in the metro Denver area and one in Colorado Springs. [Colorado Springs Gazette]

¶ Pennsylvania has developed a fast-growing clean energy economy, attracting investments for solar, wind, hydropower and other renewable energy, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. Between 2009 and 2013, Pennsylvania added nearly 1.4 GW of clean energy capacity and attracted $3.5 billion in investment. [keystoneedge]

¶ Illinois had been the fourth largest wind energy state behind Texas, California and Iowa for several years, but installed no new wind capacity in 2014 and is now in fifth place after Oklahoma. Illinois’ lack of growth had much to do with an ongoing stalemate over changes to the state’s 2011 clean power law. [Crain’s Chicago Business]

¶ Large-scale wind projects are the most cost-effective way for Vermont utilities to meet proposed new renewable energy requirements being considered by the Legislature, according to testimony. A bill backed by the Shumlin Administration would have 55% of the power come from renewable sources by 2017. [Vermont Public Radio]

¶ The Washington state legislature is considering nuclear power as a component of Governor Jay Inslee’s push to trim the state’s carbon emissions as a way to combat global warming’s detrimental ripple effects on Washington’s shellfish industry, residents’ health, snowpack, irrigation and increasing wildfires. [Crosscut]


January 28 Energy News

January 28, 2015

World:

¶ There is a huge controversy about the level of subsidies in Germany towards renewables as it undertakes its energy transition – “Energiewende” – but the fact is that these subsidies pale in comparison to those that have been paid to conventional technologies, which have been more than twice as great. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Five of the 10 regional power monopolies in Japan will start buying renewable power again under a revised scheme that makes it easier for them to place limits on their intake if they face network limitations. The new rules allow the utilities to decline excessive solar and wind power at certain hours of the day. [Business Recorder]

¶ Bloomberg New Energy Finance has released figures showing that investment in clean energy in India jumped to $7.9 billion in 2014, up from $7 billion the year earlier. However, Bloomberg also predicts that clean energy investment is likely to jump up past $10 billion this year for the first time since 2011.[CleanTechnica]

¶ According to Mighty River Power, one of New Zealand’s largest electricity generation and electricity retailing companies, geothermal energy production is the second most important source of electricity fuel in the country, with hydro power taking the top spot. Geothermal increased 150% over the past decade. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶ Global nuclear power capacity increased slightly in 2014. Five new reactors (4.76 gigawatts) began supplying electricity and three were permanently shut down. Nuclear generating capacity increased by 2.4 GW, compared to 26 GW for windpower. Thus a long-standing pattern of stagnation continues. [Business Spectator]

¶ The world can enjoy higher standards of living and more travel, while drastically cutting emissions to avoid dangerous climate change, but only with sweeping changes to our infrastructure, the natural world, and agriculture, and continuation of poverty for many, UK Government analysis has found. [Greenwise Business]

US:

¶ The Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts shut down due to the storm after two transmission lines failed. The power lines into Pilgrim are working, but the plant could not deliver the electricity it generated. The plant has a week’s supply of fuel for its emergency generators. [Wicked Local Plymouth]

¶ The Vermont Public Service Department has awarded two Vermont-based companies, Casella Resource Solutions, Rutland, and Grow Compost, Waterbury, with Clean Energy Development Fund grants to build and operate pilot projects to demonstrate the feasibility of anaerobic digestion of food scraps. [Renewable Energy from Waste]

¶ US tight oil production from shale plays will fall faster than most assume. High decline rates from shale reservoirs is one reason. But also, every rig used in pad drilling has approximately three times the impact on the daily production rate as a rig did before pad drilling. Well productivity has decreased by about a third. [Resilience]

¶ With power less than $0.10/kWh throughout Washington state, some customers would not put solar panels on their roofs without the incentive. The state paid out about $19.6 million for incentives in 2013. A Solar Washington study found that every $1 of solar incentives puts $2.46 into the economy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Obama administration released a draft five-year plan for oil and gas lease sales that would open areas of the Atlantic Ocean and offshore Alaska to drilling. The draft plan includes 14 potential lease sales in eight planning areas, ten in the Gulf of Mexico, three off Alaskan coasts, and one off Virginia through South Carolina. [Huffington Post]

¶ Hawaiian Electric has proposed to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to raise the allowable PV penetration threshold from 120% to 250% of a circuit’s daytime minimum load. With the change, new net-metered PV customers would be paid less for their excess electricity, closer to the utility’s avoided costs. [Business Spectator]

¶ Solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, geothermal and waste-to-energy electricity production could account for 98% of Oregon’s and Washington’s electricity needs in just 15 years, according to two new reports from the Wind Energy Foundation’s Renewable America project, which promotes wind development. [Jefferson Public Radio]


January 27 Energy News

January 27, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ A new study has found that wave energy production, once the infrastructure is in place, would be a reliable, steady, and dependable source of electricity—even cheaper than wind power. Along the US coastline, it could make 1,170 TWh per year. That is enough to supply half the United States’ annual electricity demand. [TakePart]

¶ Global warming may boost the frequency of extreme and devastating La Niña events, a study released suggests. It says that as the climate warms, extreme La Niña events will occur almost twice as often as they do now, causing heavy flooding in some places, droughts in others, and increasingly intense storms. [NBCNews.com]

World:

¶ The largest concentrated solar power project in the Middle East, Shams 1, has performed better than expected, the Shams Power Company has reported. The company had expected to generate about 193,000 MWh electricity in 2014 but managed to generate just under 215,000 MWh, 12% over expected generation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The underlying theme of the agreements the US made with China and India, and the position taken by the leaders of the world’s three most influential national economies, is that coal no longer rules. The “all of the above” credo that once dominated their thinking on energy is morphing into “anything but coal.” [RenewEconomy]

¶ GE announced it will supply China’s Huaneng Corporation with 55 units of the GE 2.75-120 brilliant wind turbines, to be installed at the Huaneng Dali Longquan wind project in the Yunnan province of China. The project will provide 151 MW of capacity, making it GE’s largest wind order in China to date. [RenewablesBiz]

¶ The UK Government has been forced to perform a U-turn and concede to a number of Opposition amendments to squeeze through legislation that will allow shale gas development to go ahead. Ministers had to accept the 13 conditions laid out by Labour watering down fracking laws to pass them through Parliament. [Click Green]

¶ Following the recommendations of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the British government sacked NMP, the consortium responsible for cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear site, saying not enough progress had been made. NMP has been accused by oversight offices for cost overruns and countless delays. [Digital Journal]

US:

¶ Boston’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure is showing the signs of age and is starting to leak like a sieve, according atmospheric scientists at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Not only are these methane leaks, already responsible for severe climate changes, the lost gas is worth almost $90 million. [CleanTechnica]

¶ NV Energy announced that it is seeking proposals to secure an additional 100 MW of renewable energy resources for Southern Nevada customers. Its 2015 RFP will be combined with the previously issued 2014 renewable energy RFP for a total of up to 200 MW of new renewable energy resources. [Your Renewable News]

¶ An Oklahoma electric cooperative will get about a third of the electricity from a huge wind farm being built across 10,000 acres of farm and ranch land. Western Farmers Electric Cooperative will buy 50 MW produced by the 150-MW Grant Wind project, which will begin commercial operations later this year. [Electric Co-op Today]

¶ Florida Power & Light Co unveiled plans to add over 225 MW of solar power capacity to its portfolio by the end of 2016, thus tripling its current amount. The company currently owns 110 MW of solar photovoltaic assets in Florida and plans to expand its capacity for an expected increase in its client base in 2019. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corporation announced it will use wind energy to help power its manufacturing facility located in Findlay, Ohio. Two of the five turbines at Findlay Wind Farm will be used by the company to offset an estimated 22% of the manufacturing facility’s electric consumption. [Energy Matters]

¶ tenK Energy, Integrys Solar, LLC and groSolar today announced the completion of a 4.5 MW DC solar power project in Templeton, Massachusetts. The solar farm uses the high energy density tenKsolar ® DUO system, which provides nearly 40% more energy per unit area, as well as conventional PVs. [RenewablesBiz]


January 26 Energy News

January 26, 2015

Weather Warning:

¶ Northeast residents are girding for a “crippling and potentially historic” storm that could bury communities from northern New Jersey to southern Maine in up to 2 feet of snow or more. A blizzard warning was issued for a 250-mile stretch of the Northeast, including New York and Boston, for Monday and Tuesday. [WXXI News]

World:

¶ The Indian government is looking to set a target of 100 GW under its national wind energy mission. While the mission is being mulled for almost a year it could be launched within months, if not weeks. The plan is to add 10 GW per year of windpower for seven years, adding to the country’s current capacity of 22.5 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Mahindra Group, a large Indian vehicle maker and industrial conglomerate, will treble its investments in solar energy this year. The group will have installed 180 MW of solar electricity by the end of its financial year in March and is now planning to add another 500 MW for itself and others in the following year. [Financial Times]

¶ News from the World Future Energy Summit and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is that GE is the latest in a number of high-profile companies to join the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium. The consortium now consists of Masdar Institute, GE, Etihad Airways, Boeing, Honeywell UOP, and Safran. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Bangladeshi government aims to provide electricity to all of the country’s households by 2021. It plans to generate 220 megawatts of electricity for around 6 million households by 2017 through the solar home system programme. Each solar home system will have a solar panel on the roof.
[eco-business.com]

¶ The world’s largest oil exporter has chosen not to cut production, counting instead on lower prices to stimulate consumption, because consumption is declining, according to a former adviser to Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister. The Saudis are watching investments in fuel efficiency and renewable energy. [Malay Mail Online]

¶ President Obama says that the United States and India have reached a “breakthrough understanding” that would make it a lot easier for U.S. firms and other folks abroad to invest in Indian nuclear energy plants. Indian law holds suppliers, designers and builders of plants liable in case of an accident. [National Review]

US:

¶ North Carolina is forging ahead with plans to hop on the East Coast offshore wind energy bandwagon. It is not that the state’s lawmakers have any choice in the matter. The Interior Department is leasing large swaths of federal waters for offshore wind development, and North Carolina just happens to be included. [CleanTechnica]

¶ New figures show how steadily the solar industry has grown since 2008. According to preliminary numbers from Shayle Kann of GTM Research, America installed twenty-two times more solar in 2014 than in 2008. That includes both photovoltaics and concentrating solar power, tracked in AC terms. [Energy Collective]

¶ Gas and electricity prices spiked last winter in New England. So far, this winter is different. In December, wholesale electricity and natural gas prices were down 55% and 64% from last year, respectively. January saw some price increases on cold days, but much less than last year. [Foster’s Daily Democrat]

¶ Google has slowly been stepping out onto the energy scene with its acquisition of Nest Labs, its partial ownership of the Ivanpah solar array, and now, its Nest Rush Hour Rewards Program. Some may not realize why Google is branching out in this direction. Energy efficiency and home automation are taking off! [Energy Collective]


January 25 Energy News

January 25, 2015

World:

¶ More than 800 MW of small-scale solar energy capacity was installed in Australia in 2014, according to recent figures released by Green Energy Markets. This 800 MW of new small-scale capacity was split amongst 185,950 different systems, with the average size of these systems being about 4.4 kW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new report investigating the importance of public opinion and policy priority on renewable energy development was published in the UK by the Fabian Society. It concluded, “winning community consent is the only sustainable way to deliver affordable, green energy to the UK in the long term.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ In a letter, more than a dozen organisations, businesses and clean energy venture capitalists outlined the goals of a proposed initiative to help the Indian government increase the scale of clean energy deployment for its ambitious clean energy and energy access goals – including solar power for all by 2019. [mydigitalfc.com]

¶ Dairy farming requires cropland not only to produce feed for the herd, but also as a way to get rid of manure. Manure management is a hot-button issue in Metro Vancouver, where air quality and odour problems are significant issues. A biodigester can supply natural gas customers and eliminate problems. [The Province]

¶ Havana Energy signed a £500 million deal to build five renewable power plants with more than 300 MW capacity. During harvest time for sugar cane the plants will run on bagasse, the waste pulp from sugar cane production. The rest of the year they will be fuelled by ­marabu, a problematical invasive weed. [Scotsman]

¶ Left over cooking oil from full English breakfasts or fried fish and chips could be used to power homes across the country following the opening of a new power station in North Yorkshire. Whitemoor Power Station has the capacity to provide 18 MW of electrical power during periods of high grid demand. [The Press, York]

¶ The government of Sindh, Pakistan, has allotted 1408 acres of land in the Wind Corridor of Thatta District for development of a 49.5-MW wind energy project by Master Wind Energy Limited. The project will start its commercial operations in July 2016, and is expected to produce about 140 GWh of electricity per year. [The Nation]

¶ TEPCO, owner and operator of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, says it will be unable to process all the highly radioactive water still stored at the plant before the end of March, as it had promised, due to ongoing problems with faulty and untested equipment. The new deadline is in May. [Live Trading News]

US:

¶ President Obama and the new GOP-controlled Congress face showdowns over climate change, health, and environmental safeguards. But new public opinion research shows a strong majority of Americans, including Republicans, in five key states support existing protections and tougher environmental enforcement. [Investor Ideas]

¶ Milford, Delaware is first in the nation in terms of cumulative solar watts per customer. With the 10-MW Dover Sun Park and the 15-MW Milford Solar Park, Kent County produces 27.7 MW of solar energy, according to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. [Smyrna-Clayton Sun Times]

¶ The SunZia project, a proposed $2 billion transmission line that would carry renewable electrical energy generated by solar and wind resources in New Mexico and Arizona to markets across the West, is a single step closer to being in service following final federal approval. The line is to be 515 miles long. [National Review]


January 24 Energy News

January 24, 2015

World:

¶ More than 125,000 UK homes put solar on their roof last year, according to the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change’s statistics on small-scale solar PV installations. A total of 700 MW of solar, enough to power 212,000 homes, was installed on buildings and in ground-mounted solar farms. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ Mexico will add 66 GW to its power grid over the next 15 years, with investments of $90 billion expected in renewables, according to a high-ranking Mexican energy official. The energy reform will create a competitive market and encourage use of renewables by awarding clean energy certificates. [Business News Americas]

¶ Efforts to combat climate change will figure prominently in talks between Prime Minister Modi and President Obama this weekend. India wants more private sector partnerships and technology to support a drive to expand its use of clean energy from the US. The US wants a global climate change deal in 2015. [Bharat Press]

¶ Vietnam’s plan to introduce nuclear power to its energy mix faced a fresh setback on Thursday as safety concerns and legal issues pushed back the planned construction of the country’s first nuclear plant by about five years from the initial schedule. Construction is not likely to begin until 2019. [Wall Street Journal]

¶ So many solar farms have been built or are planned in Wiltshire that this year more than half the county’s homes could be powered from the sun. Three years ago, there were nearly no solar installations in the county, now, there are enough to power 106,323 homes – or 54.7% of the total of 190,200. [Western Daily Press]

US:

¶ An energy program offered by the Northern Indiana Public Service Company allows the utility’s residential, commercial and industrial electric customers to receive 25%, 50%, or 100% of their energy from renewable energy sources, even if they don’t have a wind turbine or solar panels. [The Elkhart Truth]

¶ In addition to Wednesday’s budget speech, New York Governor Cuomo released 550 pages of proposals that go into more detail that included changes to the state’s power grid. The changes to utility regulation are meant to make it easier for local, small-scale producers to get their power to customers. [Innovation Trail]

¶ Ohio utilities are asking for sweeping bailouts for aging coal and nuclear power plants, to the tune of $3 billion. And Ohioans are asking why they should shell out billions to prop up harmful fossil fuels, when they could instead create thousands of good clean energy jobs, protecting their health and prosperity. [Huffington Post]

¶ The possible closure of three financially struggling Exelon nuclear plants in Illinois could deal an economic blow to the state, but increased investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency might mitigate much of those “near-term” impacts, according to a study issued this month by four state agencies. [Progress Illinois]

¶ Abengoa Yield celebrated the grand opening of the Mojave Solar plant, which is located 90 miles northeast of Los Angeles, near Barstow, California. Mojave Solar has a gross capacity of 280 MW. It will provide clean energy able to serve about 91,000 California households, eliminating 223,440 tons of CO2 emissions. [Nasdaq]

¶ The US is about to auction development rights to the 5-GW Massachusetts offshore wind lease area, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s largest sale to date. The 742,000-acre zone 12 miles off Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket will be sold as four commercial wind energy leases on 29 January 2015. [reNews]


January 23 Energy News

January 23, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Why utilities across the nation are embracing community solar” – The shared renewables movement is catching on, and 2015 could be community solar’s year. Utilities and private sector players are immersed in plans. Regulators from California to the District of Columbia are working on program designs. [Utility Dive]

World:

¶ Powerful fossil fuel companies and energy utilities have taken control of key renewable energy lobby groups in Europe in an effort to slow the transition to clean energy, according to industry insiders. They have majorities on the boards of the European Wind Energy Association and European Photovoltaic Industry Association. [The Guardian]

¶ French electric utility company Electricite de France (EDF) is seeking to either sell stake or opt for partial spinoff of its French distribution network Reseau de Transport d’Electricite this year. Whatever transaction the majority state-owned utility decides on may be worth about €15 billion ($17.1 billion). [Energy Business Review]

¶ South Africa’s fledgling renewable energy sector contributed $490 million worth of benefits to the country last year. It saved $320 worth of diesel and coal. It also saved $140 million of avoided costs to some consumers because the increased capacity made it possible to avoid a certain amount of load shedding. [Independent Online]

¶ Siemens has broken ground for its new 6-MW wind turbine assembly and blade facilities in northeast England. The £310 million investment will create 1,000 new jobs directly, with more in the construction phase and supply chain. The Dudgeon offshore wind farm will be the first supplied by the plant. [Recharge]

¶ In Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said Friday her party is aiming to phase out nuclear power by 2025. Tsai said the DPP will try to achieve the goal by increasing the percentage of renewable energy from 4% at present to 20% at the end of 10 years. [Focus Taiwan News Channel]

¶ A Saudi Arabia company is to build the world’s first large-scale solar-powered water desalination plant, using solar PV for its power needs during daylight hours. Abengoa will build the 15-MW solar PV facility, with tracking, and expects it to provide all desalination plant’s energy needs during peak output. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ A groundbreaking for a trash-driven power project at an Orange County, California landfill could be one of the last on the books. With evaporating tax credits and grants, and low natural gas prices, the waste pit near Irvine is one of the last in the nation large enough to generate enough power to be profitable. [The Register-Guard]

¶ US company EDF Renewable Energy has kicked off commercial operations at its 200-MW Hereford wind farm in Texas. The Hereford wind park, in Deaf Smith County, is powered by 54 GE 1.85-MW turbines and 50 units of Vestas’ V100 2.0-MW machines. Construction started in November 2013. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Vermont is considering legislation changing its energy policy. It would end a practice critics say double-counts benefits of its renewable power sources. It would also allow utilities to count for credit weatherization or efficiency projects they sponsor, such as new windows, insulation, biomass heat, or heat pumps. [San Francisco Chronicle]

¶ Vestas has received a firm and unconditional order from First Reserve for 149 V100-2.0 MW turbines to be installed at the 298 MW Kingfisher Wind project in Oklahoma. When complete, Kingfisher is expected to be one of the two largest single-phase wind projects in Oklahoma. Completion is scheduled for 2015. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ California is in a state of drought emergency. Residents are being urged to save water in any way they possibly can. In the midst of this time where conserving water is crucial, however, it has been discovered that at least nine underground water aquifers have been purposely contaminated by fracking waste water. [One Green Planet]

¶ Officials of Gulf Power, a Florida Panhandle subsidiary of utility giant Southern Co, the Navy, and the Air Force officials announced a partnership to install three solar plants at as many Panhandle bases, with a combined output of 120 MW. That’s enough power for 18,000 homes, and is the state’s largest solar project. [Orlando Sentinel]

¶ A partnership between Duke Energy, the Department of the Navy and the US Marine Corps will lead to a 13 MW solar facility being built at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Onslow County, NC. The facility will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Progress and is expected online in 2015. [PennEnergy]


January 22 Energy News

January 22, 2015

World:

¶ Water saving potential of renewable energy is a key finding of new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. Realising the current renewable energy targets of the Gulf Cooperation Council region will result in a 22% reduction in water consumption for power generation and associated fuel extraction. [Yahoo! Maktoob News]

¶ A project called Second Life Batteries is bringing Bosch, the BMW Group, and Vattenfall together to interconnect used batteries from electric vehicles to form a large-scale energy storage system in Hamburg. As part of a virtual power plant, its energy is available within seconds to help keep the power grid stable. [Autocar Professional]

¶ Gamesa announced its deal to supply 100 MW of wind turbines –50 units of 2 MW — in two phases for Orange Renewable Power’s plant in Maharashtra, India. The first phase of 50 MW of the project is scheduled for completion in March 2015, and the second phase should be completed by June 2015. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Dubai has more than doubled its target for renewables in its overall energy mix given the falling cost of solar power. The change comes days after the emirate upsized a planned solar after receiving what the consortium building the scheme said was the cheapest cost ever proposed to generate solar power. [Gulf Business News]

¶ A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency has found that the cost of generating renewable energy is now equal to or below the cost of fossil fuels in many parts of the world. The report also asserts that renewables should remain financially competitive even if oil prices remain low for a while. [Business Spectator]

¶ A low carbon heating project has received a government research grant to carry out a feasibility study into what will be the first district heating project in the UK using renewable energy sources for energy. The low carbon heating project will be led by E.ON in partnership with the University of Exeter. [Green Building Press]

¶ Japan’s nuclear watchdog gave the green light to the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant to discharge pumped up groundwater into the sea if radioactive substances in the water are within safety standards. TEPCO will be obliged to remove radioactive substances in the groundwater. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Prologis Inc, an industrial real estate company, announced the completion of four new solar projects in Los Angeles. Some 1.1 million square feet of Prologis rooftop space will feed a combined 4.2 MW of power, enough for 1100 homes, directly into the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power electrical grid. [AZoCleantech]

¶ Minnesota’s solar energy industry may have run into its first significant opposition. The Marshall Solar Energy Project, a 500-acre solar panel complex is planned to be installed on land on a farm in southwest Minnesota, but nearby residents are unhappy about the planned solar panel farm. [Duluth News Tribune]

¶ The first pieces of legislation put forth by a Republican-controlled West Virginia Legislature advanced Wednesday, with the Senate voting 33-0 to repeal the 2009 Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act and the House of Delegates advancing its own repeal to a third reading. [Huntington Herald Dispatch]

¶ Kansas City Power & Light, facing tougher environmental regulations, plans to curb its use of coal to generate electricity. The utility said Tuesday that a total of 700 MW of generating units will be shuttered or converted to use natural gas starting in 2016. This amounts to a nearly 19% reduction in use of coal. [Lake Expo]

¶ Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Heising-Simons family today announced the launch of a new Clean Energy Initiative to support state-based solutions that will ensure America has an energy system that is clean, affordable, and reliable. New energy technologies make it possible to achieve all three goals at once. [RenewablesBiz]

¶ Hawaiian Electric Companies, Hawaii’s biggest utility, wants to end to its solar net metering program by April, and replace it with a new tariff regime that will be less lucrative for solar-owning customers. The company says the change is needed to prevent distributed solar from overwhelming grid stability. [Greentech Media]

¶ The US DOE announced an incentive program for developers adding hydroelectric power generating capabilities to existing non-powered dams throughout the United States. According to the DOE, equipping non-powered dams with generating capabilities could provide up to 12 GW. [Renewable Energy Focus]


January 21 Energy News

January 21, 2015

State of the Union:

¶ What President Barack Obama described as the greatest threat to future generations was neither terrorism nor ISIS. It wasn’t nuclear weapons in rogue states either. “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” said Obama in his State of the Union speech Tuesday. His statement was met with scattered, muted applause. [CNN]

World:

¶ Chile’s combined PV and wind installed capacity almost quadrupled in 2014 to about 1.2 GW. Solar capacity grew from 6.7 MW to 362 MW in the year, and wind capacity grew from 330 MW to 836 MW. Chile’s total installed renewables capacity of 2.2GW and another 1.2 GW is expected in 2015. [Recharge]

¶ Southeast Asia’s first wind power plant, in Ilocos Norte, Philippines, has raised its power capacity by 19 MW bringing to 52 MW its total power generating capacity to augment other renewable energy resources’ power production. The Bangui wind farm is operated by the Northwind Power Development Corp. [Philippine Information Agency]

¶ In Australia, Carnegie Wave Energy says it has completed the onshore power plant for its Perth wind energy project. The company said the plant at HMAS Stirling on Garden Island south of Perth was now ready to be connected to the power grid, and is pending Western Power approval. [The West Australian]

¶ Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, the Swiss co-founders and pilots of Solar Impulse, along with their partners, on Tuesday revealed the detailed global flight route of Solar Impulse 2. The solar-powered plane will land in 12 locations across the world and travel 35,000 kilometres on solar power. [Khaleej Times]

¶ Access Power MEA (‘Access’), a power project developer focused on the Middle East and Africa, and EREN, a leader in renewable energy, has announced the launch of Access Infra Africa. With $500 million, this project will be looking at investment opportunities in renewable energy in Africa. [Africa IT News]

¶ Global wind power capacity is set to rise from 364.9 GW in 2014 to 650.8 GW by 2020, increasing the demand for wind turbine components across the value chain, says GlobalData. They expect global investment in wind projects to increase from $70 billion in 2013 to $101 billion by the end of 2020. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Austria is to launch a legal challenge against the European Union’s decision to allow billions of pounds of subsidies for Hinkley Point C, casting fresh doubt over the UK’s first planned nuclear reactors in 20 years. The EU approved the controversial £17.6 billion subsidy deal for the power station last October. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ A Montana pipeline burst and sent 50,400 gallons of oil gushing into the Yellowstone River. The massive oil spill happened when the 12-inch pipeline, which crosses the Yellowstone River, ruptured Saturday about 5 miles upstream from Glendive, Montana. The state’s governor declared a state of emergency. [CNN]

¶ Dominion Virginia Power has filed an application with the State Corporation Commission to build the 20-MW facility on about 125 acres of company-owned land near its Remington Power Station in Northern Virginia. It would be the first commercial solar energy plant in the state. The expected cost is $47 million. [Lynchburg News and Advance]

¶ Amazon’s cloud computing services company is partnering with Pattern Energy Group to construct the fourth phase of a wind farm in Indiana. The project is part of the existing Fowler Ridge wind farm. Amazon Web Services has a goal of creating enough renewable energy to power all of its operations. [Indiana Public Media]

¶ The Portland Water Bureau and Lucid Energy, a provider of renewable energy systems for in-pipe hydropower and smart water infrastructure, have turned one of the city’s major water pipelines into a generator of renewable energy. The pipeline powers four 42” turbines, powering about 150 Oregon homes. [RenewablesBiz]


January 20 Energy News

January 20, 2015

World:

¶ An 80-MW solar power plant will be built in Chile’s Antofagasta Region, beginning in the first part of 2015. It is scheduled to be completed and come online about one year later. Electricity generated by it will be sold to the spot market, making it the world’s largest merchant solar power plant. [CleanTechnica]

¶ China’s people expect electric vehicles to grow in significantly the next decade on the back of growing environmental awareness and stricter regulations, according to a new survey. It showed that 68% of the Chinese respondents expect EV sales to be between 11% and 15% of markets in the next 10 years. [ecns]

¶ A new study has shown that increasing Britain’s installed wind energy capacity could go a long way to securing energy independence for the island nation. Independent analysts Cambridge Econometrics concluded that additional wind power would cut Britain’s need for increasingly costly imports of fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hydro and anaerobic digesters have long been seen as higher-risk investments than simpler technologies such as solar and wind. That may well still be the case, but high street banks appear to becoming more open to these schemes as more projects come on line and are able to demonstrate their performance. [FarmersWeekly]

¶ Saudi Arabia’s plans to build nuclear and solar energy projects will take about eight years longer to complete than originally intended, according to the head of the agency overseeing the projects. In 2012, the Saudi government said it would install 17 GW of nuclear power and about 41 GW of solar capacity by 2032. [Gulf Business News]

¶ Flexible grid management is a growing need. Technology investments to create a resilient grid infrastructure have become crucial as grid instability and power failures due to capacity overload plague Eastern Europe, and stand-by demand for intermittent renewable power sources grow in Western Europe. [PR Newswire UK]

¶ Egypt aims to build solar and wind power plants in the next three years with combined capacity of 4,300 MW, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told an energy conference in Abu Dhabi. The plan is part of Egypt’s strategy for renewable energy to contribute to more than 20% of its energy mix by 2020. [Egypt Independent]

¶ Fracking industry claims about job creation in the UK are wildly over-optimistic and any jobs boom would be short-lived, according to a new report. It also found investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy would create up to six-times more jobs than the same level of investment in fossil fuels. [Click Green]

US:

¶ Minnesota Power has completed commissioning on the latest phase of its Bison Wind Energy Center. All 64 turbines are now generating power. The 205-MW expansion makes it the largest wind farm in North Dakota and ranks Minnesota Power as one of America’s top-10 wind power-owning electric utilities. [AZoCleantech]

¶ Google has unveiled new plan to invest in two renewable energy projects worth more than $1.5 billion, reports Forbes. The first project consists of a $76 million investment in the 300-MW Balko Wind project in Oklahoma. The second is the 104-megawatt Red Hills solar power plant in Utah worth $157 million. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Clean-energy supporters and utilities are at odds over a new bill at the Indiana statehouse. Electricity customers who use solar power receive credits for selling excess power back to the grid, but HB 1320 would minimize those credits, and allow utilities to set fixed charges for solar users. [Public News Service]

¶ Maine’s wind power industry may double its energy output over the next four years and is projected to create more than 4,000 jobs in the state this year. Wind projects currently on the books have a capacity of 1,300 MW by 2018, largely replacing the closed Maine Yankee nuclear plant. [Foster’s Daily Democrat]

¶ Turboden, a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was chosen by Maine Woods Pellet Company to supply the world largest biomass based ORC power unit for its plant in Athens, Maine. The system will produce 8 MW using waste from wood residues from de-barking and chipping operations. [AltEnergyMag]


January 19 Energy News

January 19, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ The Harvard quinone flow battery got worldwide media attention in early 2014 for its inexpensive non-metal electrolytes. Now, a team of developers at Sustainable Innovations have verified Harvard’s results. This success, with funding from ARPA-E, this cleared the way for building a prototype test battery. [PR Web]

¶ New graphs show some new light on the falling costs of solar technology – both at utility-scale and on rooftops, and show how much further they may fall in coming years. They were released this weekend by the International Renewable Energy Agency at its annual conference in its home base of Abu Dhabi. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ Welspun Energy has announced fresh investment plans to expand its solar and wind capacity in India. Welspun Energy has signed agreements with the state government of Gujarat to install 1.1 GW of renewable capacity. The agreement includes 500 MW of wind energy capacity and 600 MW of solar energy capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ SunEdison has signed yet another landmark deal with a state in India to set up large-scale renewable energy projects. SunEdison will set up 5 GW of solar and wind energy capacity in the southern state of Karnataka. This is the second such deal the company has signed but the first to include wind energy as well. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The cost of unwinding nuclear is uncertain as estimates range widely, but concerns are rising. The International Energy Agency has said that almost 200 of the 434 reactors in operation around the globe would be retired by 2040, and estimated the cost of decommissioning them at more than $100 billion. [Yahoo News]

¶ For the second consecutive year, Canada has set a record for the installation of new wind energy capacity. According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, a total of 1,871 MW of wind energy capacity was installed in five provinces in Canada in 2014, with most growth centred in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ Spanish company Gamesa says it will construct a 24-MW wind farm in Jamaica. Under the contract, signed with Wigton Windfarm Ltd, the company will deliver and install 12 2-MW turbines. Gamesa will ship its equipment in the third quarter of 2015. The company did not disclose the value of the deal. [SeeNews Renewables]

US:

¶ In Hawaii, Parker Ranch announced that Parker Ranch Foundation Trust has entered into an agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources. This agreement provides NextEra Energy Resources with long-term access rights to PRFT lands to develop renewable energy derived from PRFT’s wind resources. [AZoCleantech]

¶ Like it or not, Idaho is going solar. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has recently approved agreements with 13 solar power projects. Together, federal regulations, tax incentives, cheaper solar panels and a rate-calculating method developed by the commission itself have made solar power financially attractive. [Idaho Press-Tribune]

¶ An empty lot in Plymouth, New Hampshire has become one of the largest solar arrays in the state. The 121-kilowatt system is projected to generate a quarter of the annual electric needs of the Plymouth Village water & Sewer District. It should help with the electric bill, which last year totaled nearly $70,000. [Washington Times]

¶ Kwigillingok, Alaska is off the power grid because it is too remote to be on one. It generates its own power, which now includes electricity from wind turbines. This is a microgrid, which can be independent of a larger power grid, as needed, to keep the power on. Such small systems could be the future of power. [Motley Fool]


January 18 Energy News

January 18, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at Glasgow University aim to harness photo-synthetic bacteria to create a hydrocarbon similar to petrol. As well as being renewable, the new fuel would be storable, cutting reliance on dwindling reserves of coal, oil and gas. The process would take up carbon dioxide that would otherwise be a greenhouse gas. [Scotsman]

World:

¶ European power sector emissions fell by 8% in 2014, and electricity consumption fell by 2.7%. These are fantastic numbers across the 28 member states of one of the most influential power-blocs in the world. This is according to Sandbag, which is dedicated to shining light on tracking emissions trading in the EU. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The UAE has signed partnership agreements to fund renewable energy projects in four Pacific island countries. The Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands will get 600 kW each, Nauru will get 500 kW, and Palau will have 434 kW. The solar-powered from are expected to be completed in 2016. [Gulf Business News]

¶ A report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, concludes that biomass, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind are all competitive with or cheaper than coal, oil and gas-fired power stations, even without financial support and despite falling oil prices. [Utilities-ME.com]

¶ China ranks the top in the world in terms of the use of renewable energy with the increasing switch to renewable energy resources. China’s investment in clean energy in 2014 hit a record $89.5 billion , accounting for 29% of the world’s total. Renewable generation provided for 22% of Chinese power consumption in 2014. [AsiaOne]

¶ The Bahamas is planning a major new green push, as the 700-island archipelago is set to launch a wide solar energy project. As part of its participation in the Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge, the Bahamas will advance 20 MW of solar utility-scale farms on several islands this year. [Caribbean Journal]

¶ In British Columbia, the Surrey Biofuels Processing Facility project will be the first closed-loop fully integrated organics waste management system in North America. It will convert household organic waste collected at curbside into renewable natural gas to fuel the collection trucks and also produce compost. [Beacon News]

¶ Solar energy is now cheaper than grid prices and most competing technologies on a utility scale. Electric vehicles pose a real threat to gasoline consumption. One big oil company in France has committed to the future of solar energy and other nascent industries that could interrupt the energy industry’s status quo. [Motley Fool]

¶ The Japanese government is considering setting 20% as the amount of the total domestic electric power output to be generated using nuclear energy in 2030, almost the same level as renewable energy resources. Prior to the Fukushima disaster, nuclear power contributed 28.6% of the country’s power. [The Japan News]

US:

¶ Economic evaluation of US federal climate policies hinges on a social cost of carbon estimate of $37 per metric ton of CO2 in 2013. Unfortunately, each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere causes $220 in economic damages, say the Stanford researchers, a staggering economic problem. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Last year, the 550-MW capacity Topaz Solar project became fully operational and claimed the title of largest solar plant on-line in the world. Now Topaz has to share the crown with First Solar’s 550-MW Desert Sunlight project in Riverside, California, which went all-on this month, according to the California ISO. [Energy Collective]

¶ Several of the Montana Legislature’s more conservative Republicans and a Democrat are sponsoring bills to broaden the market for renewable-power systems, by expanding net metering. Without it, most individual solar PV or windpower systems are un-economic for the average homeowner or business. [Ravalli Republic]


January 17 Energy News

January 17, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ 2014 was the Earth’s warmest year on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Average temperatures were 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit above the previous high recorded since record-keeping began in 1880, the agency said. [CNN]

World:

¶ Wind power displaced £579 million of coal and gas imports in the UK in 2013, increasing resilience, according to Cambridge Econometrics. Coal imports were reduced by an estimated 4.9 million tonnes and gas by 1.4 billion cubic metres. Some 56% of the nation’s gas supplies and 79% of its coal were imported. [reNews]

¶ South Africa’s Department of Energy has announced two new concentrating solar power plants to be built in the Northern Cape. The Kathu Solar Park and Redstone Solar Thermal Power project, each of which will have 100 MW capacity, are in the third round of the government’s renewable power program. [BusinessTech]

¶ Scotland’s rural electricity network is to receive its most significant upgrade in decades after Perth-based utility SSE accepted a new £1.118 billion funding proposal for the project. An SSE subsidiary agreed to develop the 1.2 gigawatt Caithness to Moray subsea transmission link with energy watchdog Ofgem. [The Courier]

¶ Australian Greens have launched their Queensland election campaign in Brisbane by promising millions to encourage households to start using solar energy. Greens Leader Christine Milne announced the three-point strategy, saying it removed barriers to installing solar for the people who most needed lower power bills. [Full-Time Whistle]

¶ Spending on renewable energy, which surged 16% in 2014, will remain strong this year, largely unaffected by the slumping oil prices that have depressed their shares. That’s the message from Goldman Sachs’ global head of clean technology and renewables, and Deutsche Bank AG’s renewable-energy analyst. [The News Journal]

¶ An additional 78 MW of energy are expected to be supplied to the Jamaican power grid, through two renewable projects to be undertaken along the nation’s south coast. They are a 58 MW wind energy development in Manchester and a solar facility to generate approximately 20 MW of power in Clarendon. [Jamaica Observer]

¶ Renewable energy consumption is set to grow over the next few years, and according to a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, said growth will outstrip growth in the fossil fuel industry. Despite this growth, non-fossil fuels are faced with political challenges that may hamper their ability to flourish. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Cuban government wants to make Granma province 100% renewably powered as a model for the rest of the island. They are well on their way. In 2013, renewables supplied 37% of all the energy consumed in Granma province, and the province currently has 3,664 renewable energy systems in operation. [BillMoyers.com]

US:

¶ The first large-scale wind turbine to be installed in New York City was installed in Brooklyn, built to help power a recycling plant at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. It was installed by Aegis Renewables, of Waitsfield, Vermont. The turbine was made by Northern Power Systems, of Barre, Vermont. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to look into weaning the state off coal-fired generation. Currently, Michigan sources about 50% of its power from coal-fired plants, but Snyder told the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum that now is the time to look at a long-term transition away from coal. [Platts]

¶ The Virginia administration put out the call this week, asking interested companies to suggest solar projects for state facilities. The state’s not planning to sign contracts immediately. It’s looking for ideas to harness the sun’s power “at, around and/or atop state-owned property,” the governor’s office said. [Daily Press]

¶ A subsidiary of New Jersey Natural Gas, NJR Clean Energy Ventures, has installed solar panels on more than 3,200 homes, making it the state’s third-largest residential solar provider. Including 17 commercial solar projects, the company invested almost $400 million in solar energy in New Jersey. [Asbury Park Press]

¶ With the aim of providing US customers with a single contracting group to manage and deliver nuclear decontamination and decommissioning, Bechtel and Westinghouse Electric Company have announced the formation a partnership between the two that brings more than 100 years of industry experience. [KHL Group]


January 16 Energy News

January 16, 2015

World:

¶ India’s largest wind energy equipment maker is continuing with efforts to take full advantage of the changing regulatory and financial environment in the country. Suzlon announced a plan to invest $3.7 billion to develop 3 GW wind energy capacity in Gujarat at the Vibrant Gujarat Global investors summit. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hanwha Group has recently completed construction of its 24 MW solar power plant in Japan, cementing its leading position in the Japanese solar power market. The Kitsuki plant is built on mountain slopes. The project has 97,000 modules and can produce enough electricity annually to power 7,190 homes. [The Korea Bizwire]

¶ The green bond market saw incredible growth last year, reaching $36.6 billion issued by 73 different issuers, according to figures released by the Climate Bonds Initiative. The figure for 2014 is more than triple the number recorded in 2013. The growth takes the total amount of green bonds outstanding to $53.2 billion. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶ Boston-Power, a notable players in the lithium-ion battery market, is apparently now looking to “compete with Elon Musk” and will be scaling-up its battery factories to produce much higher quantities of batteries. The scaling-up process will be funded with $290 million from Chinese government agencies. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ethiopia has signed an agreement with an Israeli solar power company to further its goal of providing environmentally friendly and affordable renewable energy for its population. Ethiopia often suffers from blackouts due to its lack of lack of power and two-thirds of the country’s citizens have no electricity. [Jspace News]

¶ The reputations of companies linked to fossil fuels are at immediate risk from a fast-growing divestment campaign, warned a senior investment analyst at Axa Investment Managers, which manages over $700 billion of assets. She pointed to four Australian banks losing $328 million worth of fossil-fuel business. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Prices of natural gas prices and electric power are not connected, as a graph from Deutsche Bank comparing them reveals. It shows that while natural gas prices in the US have fallen 88% since 2008, from a peak of $13/mmb to as low as $2/mmb, consumer electricity prices actually rose 20% over the same period. [CleanTechnica]

¶ California is clearly the US leader in energy storage after the state’s 2013 mandate that its largest utilities have 1,325 megawatts of electricity storage operating by 2024 to help fight climate change. Storage will help the state reach its climate goal of having 50% of its electricity supplied by renewables by 2030. [Discovery News]

¶ America’s clean energy economy is celebrating. A new report shows the solar industry’s explosive growth is creating new, highly skilled jobs at a rate nearly 20 times faster than the overall economy. One out of every 78 new jobs created in the US over the past 12 months was created by the solar industry. [Click Green]

¶ The West Virginia Legislature wants to repeal state renewable energy standards that require generating 25% of electricity have renewable or alternative power sources by 2025. A power company official said could be met at no additional cost. (Very efficient coal plants are included as alternative.) [Wetzel Chronicle]

¶ Florida businesses and property owners would be able to sell a limited amount of solar energy under a ballot initiative for a constitutional amendment rolled out Wednesday by a coalition, “Floridians for Solar Choice,” that brings together free-market conservatives, retailers and alternative-energy supporters. [RenewablesBiz]

¶ New York state regulators gave Rochester Gas and Electric and Exelon more time to negotiate the future of the Ginna nuclear power plant. Exelon says Ginna is losing tens of millions of dollars a year and needs to sell power at a higher price. RG&E would have to pass on extra costs to customers. [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle]


January 15 Energy News

January 15, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Why the Smart Money is Betting on Renewable Energy – Brewing Solar Power Boom” The price of oil may be down, for a while, but the decline in cost of renewable energy means last year’s investment brought in almost double the clean electricity capacity than what it did only four years earlier. [The Market Oracle]

¶ “Can Moore’s Law Be Applied to Power Electronics for Solar and Storage?” – Antoine Paquin, CEO of Solantro Semiconductor, based  in Ontario, Canada and Silicon Valley, believes Moore’s law can lower the cost of solar power electronics. And interestingly, the reasons for this are much the same. [Greentech Media]

World:

¶ The California-based renewable energy company SolarReserve, along with Saudi Arabian ACWA Power, have been given the go-ahead by the South African Department of Energy to build a 100-MW solar power + thermal energy storage project in the country. The Redstone project is expected to come online in 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Finnish scientists believe that renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, will become the cheapest energy for consumers in Asia in next 10 years. A project has successfully modelled comprehensive energy systems based entirely on renewable energy sources for China, South Korea and Japan. [New Kerala]

¶ A new report shows electricity demand in Australia’s National Electricity Market decreased again in 2014. Following a trend that began in 2009, GreenMarkets says consumption fell last year by 1.1%, down 2098 GWh from 2013. The fact that power from roof-top solar PVs is not considered for the tally is relevant. [Energy Matters]

¶ German offshore windpower had 258 turbines totalling 1049.2 MW as 2014 ended. This is more than double what there was the previous year. A further 268 turbines totalling 1218.1 MW are in place but not fully grid-linked by the end of the year, so they are already set to more than double the capacity again this year. [reNews]

¶ China’s ambitions to be a leader in nuclear technology have been dealt a fresh blow, as construction of its most advanced reactor is facing a new delay. The project, which China is developing with Westinghouse Electric Co, faces new development problems and is not expected to start up until 2016 at the earliest. [Wall Street Journal]

US:

¶ It is now common practice in the US coal industry for companies to sell a significant portion of the coal that they mine back to themselves, through the use of subsidiaries. In this way, the coal companies can both increase the amount of money they get from the Interior Department and dodge tax payments. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Goddard College said it has completed its divestment from fossil fuel company investments, making it the third college in Vermont to divest after Sterling and Green Mountain College. Its president said the college has moved its endowment funds into fossil fuel-free accounts at Trillium Asset Management in Boston. [Boston Globe]

¶ The US can increase its use of renewable energy in power generation by more than triple by 2030, according to a new report, “Renewable Energy Prospects: United States of America,” by the International Renewable Energy Agency. Currently, renewable sources provide 14% of US power. This can grow to 50%. [EcoSeed]

¶ The group Floridians for Solar Choice, which consists of several conservative groups and a couple of not-so-conservtive ones, is teaming up with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy to get a solar energy amendment on the state ballot in 2016. It would allow owners of PVs to sell solar power to consumers. [Creative Loafing Tampa]

¶ The Obama Administration is announcing a series of steps to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40% to 45% from 2012 levels by 2025, encompassing both commonsense standards and cooperative engagement with states, tribes and industry to put us on a path toward the 2025 goal. [Renewable Energy Focus]


January 14 Energy News

January 14, 2015

World:

¶ The South Australian grid operator is recognizing the value of rooftop solar. It says it has pushed the peak back much later in the day, reduced the breadth of peak demand (much to the chagrin of the conventional generators who relied on the peaks for income), and reduced stress on the grid at peak times. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Investment bank Deutsche Bank is predicting that solar systems will be at grid parity in up to 80% of the global market within 2 years, and says the collapse in the oil price will do little to slow down the solar juggernaut. Grid-based electricity prices are rising across the world, and solar costs are still falling. [CleanTechnica]

¶ GDF Suez is the latest European energy giant announcing plans to focus more on renewable projects. The French utility aims to double its power generation capacity from renewable energy in Europe by 2025, with emphasis on marine energies. It will have a renewables capacity of 21 GW by the end of 2015. [Utilities-ME.com]

¶ In Japan, the Abe administration decided to boost efforts next year to promote renewable energy, after the feed-in tariff system ran into trouble only two years after its introduction. The administration is expected to secure ¥130.7 billion ($1.12 billion) for renewable energy programs in the fiscal 2015 budget. [The Japan Times]

¶ The French energy and environment minister says France should build a new generation of nuclear reactors to replace its ageing power stations that provide a majority of the country’s electricity. The comments give the first signal the government will emphasize nuclear in France’s energy production. [Yahoo News UK]

¶ Based on a poll of E2Energy investors in the UK, wind was the most popular and preferred technology choice for investment at 87%, with solar coming second with 85%. The research also revealed 30% of lenders were female and an impressive 87% said they would consider investing again. [Click Green]

US:

¶ A recently released report from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center suggests that in almost every one of America’s 50 largest cities, a solar PV system of typical size offers a better return than the stock market, and for 42 of them, the cost of solar is already less than from their local utility. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Analysis of the impact US tight oil has on global oil markets shows that only around one quarter of the drop in US imports of 1.7 million barrels per day since 2005 to 2006 can be explained by the tight oil boom. Oil imports dropped by about 1 million barrels per day before the tight oil boom even began. [Resilience]

¶ The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation recently wrote a piece highlighting the impressive potential for offshore wind development in the US. The figures say the US has a projected 4,223 GW worth of offshore wind generating potential, with 50 GW from the Ohio waters of Lake Erie alone. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Northampton, Massachusetts may soon join dozens of other municipalities in the state that have turned old landfills into solar farms. And, in what appears to be a first in western Massachusetts at least, solar arrays may pop up at some municipal parking lots, according to the city’s energy officer. [WAMC]

¶ Spanish developer Iberdrola Renewables is laying the groundwork for a 100-MW wind farm in Maine. The Fletcher Mountain scheme will feature 30 to 35 turbines, depending on turbine type and final layout. It would interconnect into utility Central Maine Power Company’s Wyman Hydro substation. [reNews]

¶ Ohio’s two-year timeout on its mandate that utilities get more of their power from renewable and advanced technology sources has dampened investment in what were once booming solar and wind industries in the state, according to a study released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trust. [Toledo Blade]


January 13 Energy News

January 13, 2015

World:

¶ Access Power MEA has teamed up with EREN to form Access Infra Africa, an investment vehicle for early stage development of power projects in Africa. The partners say AIA will be the largest privately funded vehicle of its kind and plan for a portfolio of power assets in Africa worth over $500 million. [Ventures Africa]

¶ In India, SunEdison and Omnigrid Micropower Company Pvt Ltd announced that they have signed a framework agreement to develop 5,000 rural projects, representing 250 MW of electricity, throughout India over the next three to five years. They hope the deal will bring electric power to 10 million people. [Power Online]

¶ Market research firm IHS projects growth in the global market for grid-connected residential PV solar installations with energy storage from the current 90 MW to over 900 MW in 2018. Cost reductions for storage, such as lithium-ion batteries, are starting to help drive the installation of solar systems. [SmartMeters]

¶ Samsung Renewable Energy Inc and Pattern Energy Group Inc today announced that the Grand Renewable Wind project has completed construction and reached commercial operation. The 149 MW facility has the capacity to produce clean power for approximately 50,000 Ontario homes each year. [AZoCleantech]

¶ US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US had hopes for talks next month between President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi in four areas, one of which is nuclear reactors. The others are agreements on renewable energy and climate change, defence partnership, and the economic partnership. [The Hindu]

¶ From turning the thermostat down one degree to harnessing waste heat from industry to power homes, energy efficiency measures are worth more than £37 billion to the British economy each year, according to analysis that will issue next week from the Combined Heat and Power Association. [Business Green]

¶ Only 96 people live in the Polish village of Zurawlow, but they stopped Chevron! For 400 days, farmers and families from Zurawlow and nearby villages blockaded a proposed Chevron shale drilling site with tractors and agricultural machinery. Eventually, the company abandoned its plans. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ MidAmerican Energy hopes to complete the final wind farm in its five-project, 1050-MW Wind 8 cluster in Iowa by year end. They estimate total investment in the project will be $1.9 billion. Siemens is supplying its 448 turbines. Google will buy up to 407 MW of the output for its Council Bluffs data center. [reNews]

¶ Three hundred professors at Stanford University, including latest Fields medal winner Maryam Mirzakhani and a number of Nobel Laureates, have urged the university’s president and board of trustees to divest away from all fossil fuel companies and fully recognize the urgency of climate change. [pv magazine]

¶ Three Illinois state agencies gave state legislators a list of options for keeping Exelon’s nuclear plants running, including a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade program, all of which will likely result in higher consumer power prices. The Illinois House had requested the agencies to report on the issue. [RTO Insider]

¶ The US could get nearly 50% of its generation from renewable sources by 2030 with existing technologies and the right policies and investments, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency. The report is one of the first in IRENA’s Remap 2030 series. [POWER magazine]

¶ The owner of the Vermont Yankee, nuclear power plant says the fuel has been removed from the reactor and placed in the spent fuel pool. The information was contained in a letter dated Friday from Entergy Nuclear Operations to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]

 

 


January 12 Energy News

January 12, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Energy firms are waging a price war they might be unable to win” Oil prices have tumbled, dipping to less than $50 a barrel. This reflects efforts of the large established businesses with low production costs, to drive high-cost producers out of a market. But the market’s nature is changing, and the tactic can fail. [RenewEconomy]

Science and Technology:

¶ Every year, botanists in the UK look for flowers in bloom on New Year’s Day. Even given Britain’s mild climate, it seems surprising that they usually find about twenty or thirty species flowering. This year, however, they were stunned. They found flowers of three hundred and sixty-eight species. [BBC News]

¶ Researchers at the College of Engineering at Oregon State University found that large-scale wave energy devices will be able to produce power without putting significant new pressures on the grid to balance out supply and demand. This may make them even less expensive for power than solar and wind. [Business Green]

World:

¶ The latest ultra mega solar power project announced in India is in the state of Gujarat, the state that originated the concept of solar parks. It will also include wind energy installations. The new project announced under India’s ultra mega solar power policy will provide 5 GW of solar and wind power combined. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Uncertainty surrounding the renewable energy target has made the large-scale sector of the industry in Australia “uninvestable”, a clean energy analyst says. A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance said large-scale energy investment fell 88% to $240 million in 2014 compared to the previous year. [ABC Online]

¶ Pakistan’s Alternative Energy Development Board has issued a Letter of Intent for a $125 million 49.50MW wind power project to M/s Master Wind Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Master Group. The 49.5-MW wind power project will be set up on 1,408 acres of land in Jhampir, district Thatta. [Customs Today Newspaper]

¶ Institutional investors risk missing out on renewables boom, according to new research from indexing firm MSCI. They continue shifting away from carbon-intensive assets but are not moving fast enough to capitalise on the rapid growth of clean tech, and are missing out on potentially attractive returns as a result. [Business Green]

¶ Addressing the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Investors, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon today termed the year 2015 as ‘the most important year for humanity’ and called for working towards a better and sustainable world with special emphasis on inclusive growth and prevention of climate change. [Day & Night News]

¶ Switzerland-based ABB has commissioned the 500-kV Skagerrak 4 HVDC link between Norway and Denmark. The project sets a new record in transmission voltage using voltage source converters. Two 700MW VSC stations will use semiconductors to convert electricity from high-voltage AC to DC and back. [reNews]

¶ The hacking of South Korea’s nuclear operator means the country’s second-oldest reactor may be shut permanently due to safety concerns, said several nuclear watchdog commissioners, raising the risk that other ageing reactors may also be closed. Nuclear power provides about a third of South Korea’s electricity. [Daily News & Analysis]

US:

¶ Battery startup Aquion Energy made a deal with an off-grid residential estate in Hawaii to supply a 1-MWh Aqueous Hybrid Ion battery. The battery will be combined with the Bakken Hale estate’s 176 kW solar PV system to provide for almost all of its electricity use — allowing for a completely off-grid setup. [CleanTechnica]

¶ It looks as though opposition to the practice of fracking has finally started to coalesce even in the political world, based on recent statements and positions taken in places not known for their environmental boldness and leadership. Recent blunt statements from a Florida state representative stand out. [CleanTechnica]


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