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

August 24, 2016

1545 regular daily posts with 18,020 links

§ The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report, a depressingly dreary account of NRC news, posted on non-holiday weekdays and Saturdays. August 22 news is that out of 100 US-licensed reactors, 11 are at reduced output and 2 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week: 8/16/2016 -Tom and George talk about energy and climate change. A schoolgirl has invented a super absorbent polymer made from food waste. The Hinkley Point nuclear reactor is drawing ever more criticism. Scotland had over 100% of its electric demand met by wind power. And there is more.

geoharvey is one of George Harvey’s Blogs.

August 24 Energy News

August 24, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Holding Clean Energy Hostage” • Nuclear power got a much-needed lifeline in New York, at an estimated eventual cost to electricity customers of over $7 billion. Coal plants are uncompetitive. Clean energy is cheap, but electric utilities, invested in old technology, stand squarely in the way of such an energy future. [Jacobin magazine]

A coal-fired power plant in Flint Hills, KS. Patrick Emerson / Flickr.

A coal-fired power plant in Flint Hills, Kansas. Patrick Emerson / Flickr.

World:

¶ Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity and Water has reportedly scrapped plans to build a nuclear power plant citing cost concerns. The country had planned to obtain a licence for the project from the United Nations. The ministry said alternative energy sources like wind and solar power were more cost-effective. [Gulf Business News]

¶ A study of the UK’s offshore wind energy potential has suggested that the total amount of economically feasible installed capacity offshore might be up to 675 GW. This could provide more than six times the UK’s present electricity demand. Steady winds and shallow waters make offshore wind in the UK especially attractive. [CleanTechnica]

Specialist ships are needed to build offshore wind turbines. Nightman1965 / shutterstock.

Specialist ships are needed to build offshore
wind turbines. Nightman1965 / shutterstock.

¶ In a bid to cut the increasing costs to run bank branches across Nigeria, many deposit money banks are now opting for renewable energy. The banks’ new strategy will have them spend less on diesel and maintenance of their power generating plants. Solar PVs power facilities from large branches down to ATMs. [AllAfrica.com]

¶ The South African government made it clear it is pursuing a diversified energy mix which includes independent power producers. This comes after a utility chairperson wrote a letter to the energy minister saying the power utility will not sign further power purchase agreements with IPPs without engagement over the matter. [ITWeb]

The South African government is pursuing a diversified energy mix, which includes independent power producers.

The South African government is pursuing a diversified
energy mix, which includes independent power producers.

¶ Germany’s opposition Green party unveiled Monday a 10-point plan to end electricity generation from coal within 20 years, a key plank of its campaign heading into next year’s general elections. Coal currently accounts for 40% of the energy mix in Europe’s top economy and has been the focus of determined protests. [Prothom Alo]

¶ In India, a dam-top solar project of the Kerala State Electricity Board set up at Banasura Sagar Dam is ready to be commissioned. Under the project, 400 kW of solar panels have been fixed to form a canopy on the dam-top road at a length of 285 meters. The project has 1,760 solar panels. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Banasura Saga Dam has 400 kW capacity.

Banasura Saga Dam has 400 kW capacity.

¶ Members of the environmental audit committee have called for a ban on microbeads after hearing that trillions of tiny bits of plastic are accumulating in the world’s waters, harming marine life and entering the food chain. A single shower could result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean, said the committee chair. [The Guardian]

¶ The 300 residents of Tyalgum, near the Queensland-New South Wales border, are fond of saying their town is “beautiful 24-7.” Soon, if all goes to plan, this town in a region famed for its alternative lifestyle could be the first place in Australia to get off the electricity grid and keep the lights on 24-7 using 100% renewable energy. [BBC News]

The town of Tyalgum has just 300 residents and is aiming to be taken off the electricity grid. Kacey Clifford.

The town of Tyalgum has just 300 residents and is
aiming to be taken off the electricity grid. Kacey Clifford.

US:

¶ The EPA told Texas to improve its regulation of fracking, linking the energy extraction method to seismic activity in the state. Its annual report to the state body that oversees fracking concluded, “there is a significant possibility that North Texas earthquake activity is associated with disposal wells.” [The District Sentinel News Co-op]

¶ Canadian Solar subsidiary Recurrent Energy announced that its 100-MW Mustang solar installation in Kings County, California, has reached commercial operation. The Mustang solar project is part of a historic year for Recurrent Energy, in which the company will complete of more than 1 GW of US solar PV projects. [PV-Tech]

The Mustang project is expected to produce enough energy to power around 45,000 homes. Image: Recurrent Energy.

The Mustang project is expected to produce enough energy
to power around 45,000 homes. Image: Recurrent Energy.

¶ A long-awaited campaign to rebrand fossil fuels called Fueling US Forward made its public debut at the Red State Gathering 2016. The top line takeaway is that the campaign, which is backed financially by Koch Industries, is an effort to rebrand fossil fuels, focusing on the “positive” sides of oil, gas and coal. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A solar farm that will generate enough electricity to power more than 150 homes, or about 10% of the Black Bear Casino’s electric needs, was unveiled Tuesday by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The 1-MW solar farm was built on five acres of a reclaimed gravel pit near the casino. [Bemidji Pioneer]

The 5-acre solar power array on the Fond du Lac Reservation features 3,230 panels in 10 rows. Bob King | Forum News Service

The 5-acre solar power array on the Fond du Lac Reservation
features 3,230 panels in 10 rows. Bob King | Forum News Service.

¶ Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont are partnering on a community-wide rapid energy transformation project in Panton to reduce energy costs, lower fossil fuel use, and improve comfort. The project is called eVolve Panton, and it will put Panton at the forefront of energy innovation in Vermont. [Vermont Biz]

¶ As residents of Louisiana this week struggle to recover from a 1,000-year flood, “one of the worst floods in modern history,” there is a chance that federal aid may not be so forthcoming thanks to a trio of Bayou State Republicans, who back in 2013 voted against helping victims of another storm: Hurricane Sandy. [eNews Park Forest]

 


August 23 Energy News

August 23, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ According to a report by the New York Times, the coral reef on the floor of a remote island lagoon halfway between Hawaii and Fiji started to become a dead zone in the early 2000s. However, a team of biologists in 2015 was “stunned and overjoyed to find Coral Castles, genus Acropora, once again teeming with life.” [The Weather Channel]

AP Photo / Keith A. Ellenbogen

AP Photo / Keith A. Ellenbogen

¶ In a new study, scientists who study the largest ice mass on Earth, East Antarctica, have found that it is showing a surprising feature reminiscent of the fastest melting one: Greenland. The satellite-based study found that meltwater lakes have been forming, nearly 8,000 of them in summer between the year 2000 and 2013. [The Independent]

World:

¶ Navigating through the icy waters of the Arctic, a Greenpeace ship is delivering solar panels to the Inuit community of Clyde River, Nunavut. Delivering solar panels and a team to install the systems for the Clyde River community is Greenpeace’s way of offering a better solution to meet increasing demands for energy. [CleanTechnica]

Arctic Sunrise.

Arctic Sunrise.

¶ A strong national commitment to nuclear energy goes hand in hand with weak performance on climate change targets, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies have found. Pro-nuclear countries have been slow to implement wind, solar, and hydropower technologies. [(e) Science News]

¶ Construction of the $750 million staged Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia’s mid-north is now fully secured with the ACT Government signing up to its third 20-year power purchase agreement with the owners. The power will be provided at a fixed 20-year rate of AUS$73/MWh (US$55.79/MWh). [The Advertiser]

A turbine at the Hornsdale project, near Jamestown.

A turbine at the Hornsdale project, near Jamestown.

¶ Residents in Kidal in northern Mali are finding it easier to work and study into the night thanks to a solar lighting project recently introduced to the area. About 1,500 households are now able to switch on their lights thanks to a $50,000 project funded by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali. [Business Insider]

¶ The Arkona offshore wind power project in the German Baltic Sea has moved from the planning to the construction phase. The cornerstone for the joint project being carried out by E.ON and Statoil was laid on August 18, 2017, in Sassnitz on the island of Rügen. The wind farm will have an installed capacity of 385 MW. [PennEnergy]

Arkona offshore wind power project.

Arkona offshore wind power project.

¶ A large-scale solar and battery storage project in north Queensland has drawn interest from the world’s biggest miner, BHP Billiton, which is looking at the technology for its remote and off-grid mine sites. The project will combine 10.4 MW of solar PV with 1.4 MW / 5.3 MWh of lithium-ion battery storage. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Russia will soon launch several projects to build mini-hydropower plants, in an attempt to resolve the problem of power supply to remote regions of the country. At the end of July 2016, the BRICS New Development Bank’s Board of Directors agreed to provide $ 100 million for hydropower generation. [Russia and India Report]

Local power generation from mini-hydropower plants is much more effective than central power. Source:Vicktor Vonog / TASS

Local power generation from mini-hydropower plants is much
more effective than central power. Source:Vicktor Vonog / TASS

¶ Cumulative utility-scale capacity reached 75 GW by the end of June and there’s a possibility the 100 GW mark could be attained by the end of this year. A report states figures at the end of June indicate 2016 will be the 6th consecutive record year for utility-scale solar, with 10 GW of new solar plants to that point. [Energy Matters]

US:

¶ Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz recently told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources recently that increased investment is needed in US energy emergency response. Moniz highlighted the need for response capabilities in the face of increasingly integrated energy systems and evolving threats. [Electric Light & Power]

Flooding is just one type of emergency the DOE needs to face.

Flooding is just one type of emergency the DOE needs to face.

¶ The Climate Investigations Center, a progressive group that monitors energy and environmental outliers, says the coal lobbying influence is waning. CIC released a survey this month of the lobbying spend and the influence of climate change on it. Banks and utilities are reducing support for the coal industry. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In a fast-developing industry teeming with technologies that promise to be the next big thing, energy storage appears to be the biggest. Its supporters not only sing its praises but also tout what they say is its inevitability. Growth in the next decade could multiply our storage capacity to ten times what it now is. [Techwire.net]

A pumped hydro storage facility. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A pumped hydro storage facility. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

¶ This year, the high power demands that come with hot Texas weather did not produce shortages that lead to soaring prices, partly because of renewable energy sources. Power generators didn’t earn their usual profits from the summer price spikes. Now they want regulators to essentially guarantee them those profits. [Houston Chronicle]


August 22 Energy News

August 22, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “UK energy mix faces seismic shift” • These last weeks have been a time when an inescapable set of signals emerges, all pointing in the same direction. The idea that renewables are not competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear power has lost all basis in fact. It’s time to wake up to the energy revolution. [Climate Home]

Wind turbine and moon. Pic: Pixabay

Wind turbine and moon. Pic: Pixabay.

¶ “Trump’s Toxic Threat: Oblivion To Climate Change, Even In His Backyard” • One of the largely unrecognized dangers of Donald Trump’s slash-and-burn presidential campaign is that his many outrageous statements are causing us to lose sight of the very real threat he poses to our shared environment. [WBUR]

Science and Technology:

¶ A team of Australian National University scientists brought economically competitive solar thermal energy generation closer to reality. They hit a record in efficiency for the technology with a design that boosts conversion of sunlight to steam to 97%. This could produce a 10% reduction in the cost of solar thermal electricity. [RenewEconomy]

The ANU solar thermal dish. Image: Stuart Hay, ANU

The ANU solar thermal dish. Image: Stuart Hay, ANU.

World:

¶ A business based in South Canterbury, New Zealand has signed an Asian Development Bank contract to supply solar/battery mini-grids in the Cook Islands. The systems have been designed to supply nearly all the electricity requirements of four islands. Currently, the islands’ electricity is supplied by diesel generators. [Timaru Herald]

¶ A small Central American country of nearly five million people, Costa Rica is moving to create a society without fossil fuels, as nearly 100% of its electricity comes from five renewable sources – hydropower, geothermal, wind, solar and biomass. In 2015, they went 299 days with using fossil fuels for electricity. [The American Bazaar]

Costa Rica

Costa Rican landscape.

¶ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has invested $161 million in three biomass power plants in the Philippine province of Negros Occidental with support from the Canadian government and the Clean Technology Fund. The project is expected to generate 70 MW of clean renewable energy for the country. [The Standard]

¶ Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of wind and solar farms would need to be built in West Australia over the next four years under plans to double the state’s renewable energy. The Energy Minister wants obligations under the Federal Government’s revised renewable energy target to be sourced locally. [The West Australian]

Albany Wind Farm.

Albany Wind Farm.

¶ Jordan’s first nuclear power plant could be operational by 2025, if sufficient financing is secured, the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission said. The $10-billion, 2,000-MW project will be 30% financed by Jordan and Russia. JAEC is engaged in discussions with companies to secure the remaining 70%. [Ammon News]

US:

¶ New York state committed to getting 50% of its power from renewable sources by 2030, and conservation groups are creating tools to help. The Nature Conservancy is launching an initiative called “Renewables on the Ground” to facilitate good decision making for siting wind farms and large solar installations. [Public News Service]

Utility-scale wind and solar infrastructure can affect plant and wildlife habitat. (Sgt bender/Wikimedia Commons)

Utility-scale wind and solar infrastructure can affect plant and wildlife habitat. Photo by Sgt bender / Wikimedia Commons

¶ East Kentucky Power Cooperative is working on a $2.9 million expansion to add capacity to a landfill gas plant in Boone County. The expansion is expected to be completed before the end of August, increasing power production to 4.6 MW, or enough electricity to power 2,500 average Kentucky homes. [Electric Co-op Today]

¶ The Utah Public Service Commission approved Rocky Mountain Power’s plan to supply electricity to a potential Facebook data center, ahead of a vote on whether to allow the facility itself. Given the unique rate structure of the power deal, PSC gave itself two days to approve the request, but it took only 45 minutes. [DatacenterDynamics]


August 21 Energy News

August 21, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “If wind and solar power are cheaper and quicker, do we really need Hinkley Point?” • Should Theresa May take the axe to the troubled Hinkley Point nuclear project, it will propel wind and solar power further into the limelight. Britain would do well to focus such things as on lithium-air, sodium-ion, and flow batteries. [The Guardian]

The floating solar farm on Godley Reservoir near Manchester. Photograph: Ashley Cooper

The floating solar farm on Godley Reservoir near Manchester.
Photograph: Ashley Cooper

¶ “If we’re serious about industrial strategy, renewables is a good place to start” • Cancelling the planned new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point will be a huge victory for the offshore wind industry. The word from inside No 10 Downing Street is not clear yet, but so many Tories, including the prime minister, are unsettled. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ In a rare endeavor, Crystal Serenity has embarked on a 32-night journey through the Northwest Passage, the Arctic region north of Canada that was unattainable until just 100 years ago. Crystal Serenity is about to become the largest ship ever to attempt the Northwest Passage. There are nearly 1,000 passengers aboard. [RusTourismNews]

Crystal Serenity.

Crystal Serenity.

¶ Even the inexpensive electric automobiles, with their limited ranges and charging requirements, could be used for 87% of the trips taken by gasoline-powered cars traveling US highways today. These findings come in a new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published in the journal Nature Energy. [TakePart]

World:

¶ Energy for 500 Alberta schools is being completely offset by a 17-turbine wind farm near Provost, Alberta. A 20-year power purchase agreement was reached between BluEarth Renewables and the Alberta Schools Commodities Purchasing Consortium, which represents numerous school boards across the province. [Edmonton Journal]

BluEarth Renewables' Bull Creek wind project is offsetting 100% of the energy used by 500 Alberta schools. Photo Supplied.

BluEarth Renewables’ Bull Creek wind project is offsetting
100% of the energy used by 500 Alberta schools. Photo Supplied.

¶ At least three municipalities in Finland are considering founding solar parks within their city limits to create energy from the sun. In one community about an hour north of Helsinki, a biogas facility would make use of biomass from the local community and agriculture, in addition to the solar-powered electricity. [YLE News]

¶ Developing hydro power projects in the north-eastern states will help India to meet its electricity demand and achieve energy security, a report said. Of India’s estimated hydro potential of around 145,000 MW, north-eastern states account for 58,000 MW. However only 2% of the total potential in the northeast has been tapped. [VCCircle]

Indian Hydro facility.

Indian Hydro facility.

¶ Tokyo Electric Power Company’s initiative to create a frozen soil barrier around Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to prevent the groundwater from becoming contaminated with radioactive materials has not shown any success, the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority’s expert panel member said. [Sputnik International]

US:

¶ Massachusetts announced more than $1.8 million in funding to support local efforts to prepare for and reduce the impacts from coastal storms and climate change, including storm surge, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. The funding can be used to help minimize environmental and public health risks. [Wicked Local Wareham]

Funding includes $150,000 for pump stations in Wareham. Wicked Local Wareham file photo / Ashleigh Bennett.

Wicked Local Wareham file photo / Ashleigh Bennett.

¶ Some of Wisconsin’s businesses could go elsewhere because of high electric rates, the Public Service Commission is being warned. Comments collected in an assessment say consumers should be able to choose their power provider rather than being restricted to the current utility monopolies in the state. [Chippewa Herald]

¶ Texas is uniquely poised to meet the Clean Power Plan’s standards. That also means that even if those Environmental Protection Agency regulations fall by the judicial wayside, Texas would still be likely to improve emissions dramatically. State leaders don’t have to do anything other than let old coal power plants retire. [mySanAntonio.com]


August 20 Energy News

August 20, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ When produced using renewable energy, hydrogen could cost nearly the equivalent of 50-cent-per-gallon gasoline, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The NREL plan assumes large-scale production of hydrogen through electrolysis, but with renewable energy used for power. [Green Car Reports]

Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car, Fountain Valley, California.

Hydrogen fuel cell cars fueling, Fountain Valley, California.

Opinion:

¶ “Analysis Finds Wind Could Replace 6,000 Gigawatt-Hours of Coal in Colorado” • Financial modeling shows that Colorado’s clean energy transition is getting cheaper. Colorado voters bet costs dropping for wind and solar energy as they were used more, and it looks like the initiative’s promise is coming to fruition. [Greentech Media]

World:

¶ In India, a dam-top solar project of the Kerala State Electricity Board on the Banasura Sagar Dam at Padinharethara in Wayanad district is ready for commissioning. A trial run was successfully conducted recently, and the Power Minister is scheduled to commission the project at Padinharethara before the end of August. [The Hindu]

Solar panels erected atop the Banasura Sagar Dam at Padinharethara in Wayanad district.

Solar panels erected atop the Banasura Sagar Dam.

¶ British Columbia’s Climate Leadership Plan will have a major focus on electrifying oil and gas development and expanding BC Hydro’s renewable power capacity in lieu of a carbon tax hike, BC’s premier announced. Clark laid out the details of the plan at a news conference during a record-setting heat wave. [Dawson Creek Mirror]

¶ Developer Cennergi started operating the Tsitsikamma community wind farm in South Africa. The 95-MW Eastern Cape project near Port Elisabeth features 31 Vestas V112 turbines rated at 3.075 MW, according to the Exxaro and Tata Power joint venture. The project was part of a power producer procurement program 2012. [reNews]

Vestas V112 turbines. Vestas photo.

Vestas V112 turbines. Vestas photo.

¶ Ontario has denied an appeal on the 75-MW Amherst Island wind project, clearing the way for construction to begin. The provincial Environmental Review Tribunal upheld a renewable energy approval that was granted about a year ago. Canadian developer Algonquin Power plans to build 26 Siemens 3.2MW-113 turbines. [reNews]

¶ RES has completed its first energy storage project in the UK with a 300-kW/640-kWh lithium-ion battery system at a solar farm in Somerset. The Hertfordshire developer’s system was installed alongside a 1.3-MW British Solar Renewables’ PV site at Butleigh near Glastonbury. The storage system features BYD batteries. [reNews]

Energy storage system at Butleigh. RES photo.

Energy storage system at Butleigh. RES photo.

US:

¶ The oil and gas sector is headed for much more “turbulent times” beyond the ongoing oil bust, former Vice President Al Gore said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. He said the industry will go through the same pains as the coal sector unless it adopts more renewable and sustainable sources of power and fuel. [Houston Chronicle]

¶ The University of California switched on a 60-MW solar energy plant that it intends to expand to 80 MW by mid-2017, at which point it will be the largest solar purchase by any university in the United States. Five Points Solar Park has 271,200 panels and will supply roughly 14% of the system’s electricity demands. [Clean Energy Authority]

Five Points solar array. Photo Credit: Elena Zhukova.

Five Points solar array. Photo Credit: Elena Zhukova.

¶ Work is under way to build a solar array in Steamboat Springs that will benefit low-income residents. Yampa Valley Electric Association is building the array with support from GRID Alternatives and the Colorado Energy Office. The solar array is being built at the YVEA headquarters on Elk River Road in Steamboat. [Steamboat Pilot & Today]

¶ A solar farm located 20 miles southwest of Colorado Springs will be the first of its kind to provide energy directly to the state’s ratepayers. The new Clear Spring Ranch Solar Array is set to generate enough power to supply between 2,900 to 3,000 homes with renewable energy. The power is under a 25-year contract. [The Denver Channel]

Clear Spring Ranch Solar Array. Courtesy: Amy Trinidad, Colorado Springs Utilities.

Clear Spring Ranch Solar Array.
Courtesy: Amy Trinidad, Colorado Springs Utilities.

¶ This summer’s dry conditions have resulted in a drop in output from the hydroelectric power generation plants belonging to Vermont’s largest consumer utility, Green Mountain Power. Rivers have been running low due to a dearth of rainfall, meaning less water rushing through the turbines of hydro plants to produce power. [NECN]

¶ Even before opposition develops to New York’s subsidizing nuclear power plants, the beneficiary of almost $500 million in annual payments is airing its legal defenses. Exelon, owner of the Ginna and Nine Mile Point plants, and owner-to-be of FitzPatrick, has vetted all potentially opposing arguments. [Environment & Energy Publishing]


August 19 Energy News

August 19, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Dirty power games: Coalition steps on the gas” • Yet more evidence has been produced about the dirty power games being played in the South Australian energy market, as the federal government promotes new gas field development. What is needed is new competition in the market, not new gas. [RenewEconomy]

Australian gas pipeline.

Australian gas pipeline.

¶ “Clean energy doesn’t require a nuclear renaissance” • Reducing carbon is cheaper and more quickly achieved without adding nuclear capacity. This is because of opportunity cost: Money spent on nuclear projects is not used for efficiency and renewables, which reduce carbon emissions more effectively and less expensively. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Science and Technology:

¶ A tiny device, half the size of a postage stamp, which can rapidly disinfect water with solar energy, has been developed by researchers at Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. One scientist said, “We just dropped it into the water and put everything under the sun, and the sun did all the work.” [CleanTechnica]

The device works by using solar power to make hydrogen peroxide.

The device works by using solar power to make hydrogen peroxide.

¶ EarthSpark International has built a 93-kW solar-powered microgrid in the small town of Les Anglais (population 3,000 in the central area), which currently supplies clean reliable power to approximately 2,000 people. The microgrid could be a model of how to bring electricity to the 1.2 billion people still living in the dark. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶ Investment in Europe’s offshore wind sector reached €14 billion in the first six months of 2016, which was more than the whole of 2015, a report by data provider Planet OS says. The Offshore Wind Energy 2016 Market Report said 75% of the growth came in the UK, with European capacity increasing 4.2% during the period. [reNews]

London Array. Credit: reNEWS.

London Array. Credit: reNEWS.

¶ National Grid has cut its forecasts for the number of big new power plants expected to be built in the UK in coming years, while admitting its estimates for the growth of solar farms and other small-scale generators were almost 50 times too low. In four years, it has cut projections of large new power plants by more than half. [Telegraph.co.uk]

¶ German biogas plant specialists Weltec Biopower are to build an 800-kW biogas plant for Colombia’s largest egg producer. The plant generates electricity from gas produced by anaerobic digestion, in which organic material is broken down by microorganisms in an airtight container, and produce fertilizer for the farm. [Energy Digital]

The electricity produced by anaerobic digestion will power farm operations.

The electricity produced by anaerobic digestion will power farm operations.

¶ A new anaerobic digestion facility in Nottinghamshire, which will produce renewable energy from agricultural feedstock, has received £13.2 million in funding. Half of the funding will come from the Recycling and Waste LP Fund, specifically formed in 2015 to fund small-scale recycling and waste projects in the UK. [Resource Magazine]

¶ The recent power supply auction in Chile got a solar bid of $29.1/MWh (€25.65/MWh) for the Maria ElenaPV park, built by SunEdison. That bid marks the world’s record lowest for solar. The previous record was an offer of $29.9/MWh for the 800-MW third phase of a 5-GW solar power complex in Dubai. [SeeNews Renewables]

The 100-MW Amanecer Solar Park in Chile by SunEdison. Author: Gobierno de Chile. License: Attribution 2.0 Generic.

The 100-MW Amanecer Solar Park in Chile by SunEdison. Author: Gobierno de Chile. License: Attribution 2.0 Generic.

US:

¶ Two heads of the EPA, one under Presidents Nixon and Reagan, and one under George H W Bush, signed a joint statement released last week on Clinton’s campaign website. In it, they say, “Donald Trump has shown a profound ignorance of science and of the public health issues embodied in our environmental laws.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Fred Olsen jack-up vessel Brave Tern has lifted the final turbine at the 30-MW Block Island project in Rhode Island, a long-awaited milestone for America’s first offshore wind farm. “The Block Island wind farm is now fully constructed,” Deepwater Wind’s CEO said on Twitter. Crews are working on electrical connections. [reNews]

Final turbine installed at Block Island. Deepwater Wind photo.

Final turbine installed at Block Island. Deepwater Wind photo.

¶ There is a way that you can cover half of your home’s electricity use with clean wind energy, at no additional cost, thanks to a unique offering from Arcadia Power. This program is available across 450 utilities, in all 50 US states, is for renters and homeowners alike, doesn’t require a contract or equipment installation. [Treehugger]

¶ Apple announced this week that it has moved one step closer towards its goal of being 100% renewable energy powered, with two big pieces of news. Apple final assembly sites now zero waste compliant, and major supplier Lens Technology has agreed to run its Apple operations entirely on renewable electricity. [CleanTechnica]

 


August 18 Energy News

August 18, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ July was the world’s hottest month ever, according to NASA, the tenth month in a row to break temperature records globally. Since October 2015, every month has set a new global record for hottest temperatures, but the rise may slow down soon. A developing La Nina weather pattern may help, though probably not until 2017. [CNN]

Road closed due to weather. FEMA photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Road closed due to weather. FEMA photo, after Hurricane Katrina.
Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Scotland’s next generation of onshore wind farms could be at least 20% cheaper if the Scottish and UK governments work with industry and regulators to remove barriers, according to Scottish Renewables. A Scottish Renewables study said industry could cut onshore wind costs by more than £150 million per year. [reNews]

Hill of Towie wind farm in Scotland (reNEWS)

Hill of Towie wind farm in Scotland (reNEWS)

¶ Under an agreement with China, Egypt is to construct a 1,000-MW solar power station and a solar panels factory that will be implemented in two stages, 500 MW each. The terms of the agreement say China will fund the establishment of the station and the factory with 3.3 billion in concessional financing. [MENAFN.COM]

¶ Acciona SA will build a 183-MW wind farm in Chile to meet the output won in the country’s energy auction that was completed on Wednesday. The wind farm will supply of 506 GWh of electricity per year. The tender offered 20-year power purchase contracts for a total of 12,430 GWh annually, starting in 2021 and 2022. [SeeNews Renewables]

Acciona wind farm. Source: Acciona SA.

Acciona wind farm. Source: Acciona SA.

… Mainstream Renewable Power was awarded contracts by the National Energy Commission of Chile to build and operate seven utility-scale wind farm with a combined capacity of 986 MW. The projects are located throughout Chile and are scheduled to begin supplying low-cost energy to the grid from January 2021. [Your Renewable News]
… Plans for a series of new gas-fired plants in Chile have been put on hold after none of the projects won contracts at the country’s largest-ever electricity tender. More than half of the demand on offer was taken by a series of wind and solar energy projects, and all of the remainder was awarded to hydro generation. [Platts]

¶ Brazil generates the third-highest amount of electricity in the Americas, behind only the United States and Canada, according to the Energy Information Administration. Hydroelectricity provides more than 70% of Brazil’s generation. Brazil has 158 hydroelectric plants, totaling over 89 GW, and more are coming. [Electric Light & Power]

Hydro plant in Brazil.

Hydro plant in Brazil.

¶ To encourage renewable energy use by farmers, the government of the Indian state of Haryana announced that 3,050 solar water pumps will be installed in current financial year in the state with 90% subsidy. The pumps will be of two, five, or ten horsepower, with 10% of the cost covered by the farmers. [The Indian Express]

¶ The UK government has approved phase two of the world’s largest wind farm, adding 300 turbines to a project 55 miles off England’s shore, in the North Sea. Many people concerned about the long-term dangers of nuclear energy are hoping that renewable projects like Hornsea will pave the way for a complete transition. [ThinkProgress]

Offshore wind farm. Shutterstock image.

Offshore wind farm. Shutterstock image.

US:

¶ Electric utilities cannot pass on to their Massachusetts ratepayers the costs of financing new natural gas pipelines, the state’s highest court ruled on Wednesday. The unanimous decision from the Supreme Judicial Court was cheered by environmental groups, which had dubbed the proposed tariffs a “pipeline tax.” [Boston Herald]

¶ Wind energy pricing remains attractive to utility and commercial purchasers, according to an annual report released by the US Department of Energy and prepared by the Electricity Markets & Policy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The levelized long-term price of wind power averages around 2¢/kWh. [EurekAlert]

Wind turbines in North Dakota. USFWS Mountain-Prairie photo. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in North Dakota. USFWS Mountain-Prairie photo.
CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Vermont’s largest electric utility has committed to purchase 14 hydroelectric dams in New England and to get power from two others, a buy that will net Green Mountain Power an added 17 MW of energy production for just over $20 million. The dams will help the company meet statutory renewability requirements. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Residents of the Alaskan island village of Shishmaref voted to give up their ancestral way of life and relocate to safer ground over fears of erosion from rising sea levels and melting permafrost. The village, with about 650 people, is located on a barrier island that is experiencing a rapid rate of erosion due to rising temperatures. [BuzzFeed News]

Shishmaref, Alaska. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve photo.

Shishmaref, Alaska. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve photo.

¶ In the second solar announcement in a week, the governor of Virginia said that Hecate Energy LLC has received a permit for a new utility-scale solar facility to be built in Cape Charles in Northampton County. The 20-MW project will provide enough energy to power more than 3,000 households. [Virginia Business Magazine]

¶ American companies are increasingly making their own power with wind turbines located near the factories and buildings that consume the power they make, the 2015 Distributed Wind Market Report says. Distributed wind can range from a small turbine at a remote cabin to a set of several large turbines. [Newswise]


August 17 Energy News

August 17, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Global climate is spinning out of control – but now, we have the technology!” • Heatwaves of more than 50° C in Iraq and India in recent weeks show climate disruption is a present-day reality, not something for a leisurely response. But almost by the week, real-world advances provide a more positive prognosis. [The Ecologist]

Installation of a new 3-MW Siemens offshore wind turbine. Image: artist's impression by Siemens.

Installation of a new 3-MW Siemens offshore
wind turbine. Image: artist’s impression by Siemens.

World:

¶ A Solar Citizens consumer campaigner said that in the first five months of this year, the uptake of small-scale solar in Tasmania had been up by at least 25%. He attributes the turnaround to the recent energy crisis when Basslink was disabled, coupled with an extremely dry year which depleted Hydro’s water reserves. [ABC Online]

Solar irrigation shaves more than six thousand dollars off this farmer's annual power bill. (Margot Foster).

Solar irrigation shaves more than six thousand
dollars off this farmer’s annual power bill. (Margot Foster).

¶ The Netherlands may soon approve of an outright ban on new cars fueled by gasoline or diesel fuel by the year 2025. Only zero-emissions cars powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells would be permitted. Germany may not be far behind, with growing murmurs in support of a ban on conventional cars by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Mainstream Renewable Energy installed the first turbine at the 140-MW Loeriesfontein wind farm in the Northern Cape region of South Africa. The project will have 61 Siemens turbines and is expected to start supplying electricity to the grid in 2017. Siemens Wind Power and sub-contractors are installing the turbines. [reNews]

Wind turbine installation. Mainstream image.

Wind turbine installation. Mainstream image.

¶ A group of Philippine geothermal developers asked the government to implement a specific geothermal feed-in-tariff structure for emerging geothermal technologies. A special geothermal feed-in-tariff for emerging technologies is still seen as a crucial element to push development of geothermal resources. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

US:

¶ Deepwater Wind has hit the home stretch at the 30-MW Block Island offshore wind project in Rhode Island. Fred Olsen Windcarrier’s jack-up Brave Tern installed the fourth turbine yesterday and is preparing to erect the fifth and final GE Haliade 150 6-MW machine at the site, about 3 miles southeast of Block Island. [reNews]

Block Island Wind Farm. Deepwater Wind photo.

Block Island Wind Farm. Deepwater Wind photo.

¶ The federal government calls the impact of carbon dioxide the “social cost of carbon,” and the EPA set a price at $36 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. A group of refrigerator makers sued, calling the price “arbitrary and capricious,” but a federal district court ruled against them unanimously. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Many dams that are needed for flood control or other reasons are being refitted to make electricity. For example, Boston based Rye Development is investing $775 million in 23 hydro projects that upgrade dams to produce power, all east of the Mississippi River. The upgrades will add 265 MW of capacity. [Circle of Blue WaterNews]

Olmsted Locks and Dam, on the Ohio River. Photo © Keith Schneider / Circle of Blue

Olmsted Locks and Dam, on the Ohio River.
Photo © Keith Schneider / Circle of Blue

¶ US utility NV Energy is asking the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to approve construction of a 100-MW solar project in Eldorado Valley. The single-axis solar PV project is planned to be on line in the fourth quarter of 2018. Power would be sold to Techren Solar under a 25-year power purchase agreement. [Energy Business Review]

¶ NASA issued a report that identified 250 sites that release methane in the San Juan Basin around southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. The two-year study determined that 10% of emitters accounted for more than 50% of the total methane released into atmosphere, estimated at 600,000 metric tons annually. [The Durango Herald]

Looking at methane emitters. Photo by Jonathan Romeo / Durango Herald.

Looking at methane emitters. Photo by Jonathan Romeo / Durango Herald.

¶ Nevada Power Co wants to close its coal-fired Reid Gardner plant at Moapa ahead of schedule. In a filing made Monday with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, the utility is proposing to close the fourth unit at the plant after using all the remaining coal inventory, which is estimated to occur about February 28. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

¶ The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is checking competitive interest in a lease area requested by Trident Winds LLC for a 765-MW floating wind farm off the California coast. The BOEM is issuing a Request for Interest in the proposed 67,963-acre lease area, 33 nautical miles northwest of Morro Bay. [SeeNews Renewables]

Map of the lease area. BOEM image.

Map of the lease area. BOEM image.

¶ Regulators in Arizona and New Mexico have sided with solar customers in two cases. The Arizona Corporation Commission rejected a utility’s request to add fees for solar customers and do away with net metering. Regulators in New Mexico approved a settlement decreasing a utility’s connect fees for solar customers. [SolarLove]

¶ The 185-MW Yankee Rowe nuclear power plant in Massachusetts was shut down 1992, leaving in place 15 dry casks of radioactive spent fuel. Now, the town of Rowe and other US communities with “de facto” interim spent nuclear fuel storage sites are seeking annual compensation for storage from the federal government. [The Recorder]


August 16 Energy News

August 16, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The tropical glaciers of South America are dying from soot and rising temperatures, threatening water supplies to communities that have depended on them for centuries. But experts say that the slow process measured in inches of glacial retreat per year also can lead to a sudden, dramatic glacial lake outburst flood. [CTV News]

Tourists walk near the Tuco glacier in Peru. (AP / Martin Mejia)

Tourists walk near the Tuco glacier in Peru. (AP / Martin Mejia)

¶ Greater scrutiny needs to be placed on the mining industry’s energy use, if millions of dollars are to not be wasted, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room. The goal of this is to accelerate reduction of CO2 emissions. In gold mines, energy use accounted for an average 22% of overall operational costs. [Mining Technology]

World:

¶ Van Oord has completed installation works on 90% of the wind turbines at the 600-MW Gemini offshore wind farm in the Dutch North Sea. The Dutch company is working on 150 4-MW Siemens machines, using the offshore installation vessels Aeolus and Pacific Osprey. Full commissioning is scheduled for spring 2017. [reNews]

Gemini Windpark photo.

Installing a mast for a turbine. Gemini Windpark photo.

¶ Five renewable projects in Wales are drawing local investor interest. The largest, by Awel Co-op, is building two wind turbines to generate power for 2,500 homes. It is offering 5% per year in interest for 20 years, in return for investment of £50 upwards. The co-op has already raised £1.23 million of the £2 miilion it needs. [BBC News]

¶ A Perth start-up is set to begin trials of its blockchain-based software program that, if successful, could mean the beginning of peer-to-peer energy trading in Australia, in which consumers buy, sell or swap excess solar electricity directly with each other, rather than to the grid for a minimal return. [One Step Off The Grid]

Rooftop solar arrays in Australia. Shutterstock.

Rooftop solar arrays in Australia. Shutterstock.

¶ BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, posted a record loss. Just how much of the commodity price crash was foreseeable is debatable, but just about every big decision BHP made leading up to the sudden glut in iron ore, coal, oil and gas developing has exacerbated the company’s problems. [ABC Online]

¶ University of Queensland is saving $50,000 a year in mowing costs at its Gatton campus solar farm by using sheep to keep the vegetation down. The ABC reports that to mow the grounds used to take 4 days and cost a significant chunk of change. Now, ten sheep help cut mowing costs and seem to be enjoying doing so. [Energy Matters]

Solar panels and sheep at the biggest solar park of the Benelux. Photo by Antalexion. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar panels and sheep at the biggest solar park of the Benelux.
Photo by Antalexion. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

US:

¶ Last week, the Sierra Club issued a report that looks at communities that are planning to move or already have moved to 100% renewable energy in at least one sector, as part of its “Ready for 100” campaign. The cities and towns featured are located around the nation, although the three largest are in eco-conscious California. [pv magazine]

¶ Wind energy still accounts for an extremely small share of all federal energy incentives, according to the most comprehensive review of energy incentives to date. AWEA’s compilation of all available data shows that for every dollar spent on federal energy incentives, wind energy received less than 3 cents. [Windpower Engineering]


¶ It looks like the Koch brothers really are beginning to lose their grip. Last Friday, the Department of the Interior brought the hammer down in favor of offshore wind development in North Carolina, where the fossil-fuel-friendly industrialist brothers are used to wielding an outsized influence on energy policy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Xcel Energy says it reached a sweeping settlement agreement on renewables and pricing that could change the way electricity is produced and paid for in Colorado – if state regulators sign off on it. The agreement, which would promote renewable energy and community solar projects, is hailed by solar interests. [Denver Business Journal]

Namaste Solar employees put solar panels on a house in Denver. Kathleen Lavine | Denver Business Journal

Namaste Solar employees put solar panels on a house in Denver.
Kathleen Lavine | Denver Business Journal

¶ A Maine company can get value from poop. Casella Organics, which finds uses for organic wastes that don’t involve shoveling the stinky stuff into landfills, has told Pennsylvania regulators it wants to dry sewage sludge into pellets and bring them into Pennsylvania to be used as fuel at coal-fired power plants. [PowerSource]

¶ Fresh from success in New York, the nuclear industry is increasing lobbying in other states. From a meeting of utility regulators in Nashville to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2016 Legislative Summit, the industry trying to save a dozen or more nuclear reactors at risk of being shut down. [Environment & Energy Publishing]


August 15 Energy News

August 15, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “A green path to industrialisation” • At recent economic forums in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, N’Djamena in Chad, Rabat in Morocco, Abuja in Nigeria, even New York in the United States, and elsewhere, Africa’s experts have been expressing their support for green industrialization, with careful use of the Earth’s resources. [The New Times]

Wind turbines in Mahe, Seychelles. / Internet photo.

Wind turbines in Mahe, Seychelles. / Internet photo.

¶ “EPE scam to avoid renewable energy requirements” • The most efficient new natural gas power plant costs 7.5¢/kWh over its lifetime. Solar power is routinely offered for long-term purchase power agreements at 4¢/kWh and falling. Wind power contracts are approaching 3¢/kWh. But El Paso Electric builds gas plants. [Las Cruces Sun-News]

¶ “Britain’s vast national gamble on wind power may yet pay off” • Wind power has few friends on the political Right. No other industry elicits such protest from the conservative press, Tory backbenchers, and free market economists. But wind generates home-made energy and could be seen as a patriotic choice. [Telegraph.co.uk]

The London Array has shattered records, lifting renewables to 25% of UK power earlier this year. Credit: Emily Gosden

The London Array has shattered records, lifting renewables
to 25% of UK power earlier this year. Credit: Emily Gosden

World:

¶ Speaking on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised the need for qualitative change in the lives of the citizens. He stressed the need to focus on renewable energy. In the last year, renewable power production increased by 40%, and solar energy increased by 116%. [BloombergQuint]

¶ The Northern Territory Labor party has promised to adopt a renewable energy target of 50% by 2030, ahead of the August 27 election, which they are expected to win easily. This is in line with most other Labor state’s and territories in Australia, as well as federal Labor, and puts it ahead of the federal Coalition government. [RenewEconomy]

Solar PV installation in the Northern Territory.

Solar PV installation in the Northern Territory.

¶ The Carbon Clean 200 report crowned automobile manufacturer Toyota as the most sustainable company in the world. The company has placed sustainability central to its corporate strategy and has adopted six targets to achieve by 2050, including reducing emissions from its manufacturing facilities to zero. [Clean Energy News]

¶ The Australian Energy Market Operator has issued a stark warning: more wind and solar power will demand new approaches to avoid interruptions of the power supply. But the biggest variability that the electricity sector has to contend with is not intermittent solar or wind output; it is the ups and downs of power demand. [RenewEconomy]

Australia will likely have to close more coal power stations to meet climate targets. Shuttershock

Australia will likely have to close more coal
power stations to meet climate targets. Shuttershock

¶ The crown estate has waded into the battle over Hinkley Point, pointing out that offshore windfarms are already cheaper than the proposed nuclear reactors. The crown estate said that windfarms at sea will be on course to meet 10% of the country’s electricity by 2020, sooner than Hinkley Point C can to produce 7%. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ By mid-morning on Friday, in just a 12-hour stretch, more than a foot of rain fell near Kentwood, Louisiana. It was  a downpour with an estimated likelihood of just once every 500 years, and roughly three months’ worth of rainfall during a typical hurricane season. It’s the latest in a string of what had once been rare rainstorms. [Pacific Standard]

Rain storm. (Photo: Ines Hegedus-Garcia / Flickr)

Stormy weather. (Photo: Ines Hegedus-Garcia / Flickr)

¶ The managing forester for Stiles Brook Forest, in Windham County, Vermont, sees an uncertain future because of climate change. Some signs are stunted trees, increasing numbers of invasive insects, and a dwindling moose population. A controversial plan to install 28 wind turbines at Stiles Brook is part of the solution. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Lauded as a leader in adopting renewable energy, California requires utility companies get at least a third of their energy from renewable sources by 2020 and half by 2030. But for a growing number of elected leaders from Southern California to Humboldt County, that timeline isn’t nearly aggressive enough. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

 


August 14 Energy News

August 14, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Who owns the wind? We do, Wyoming says, and it’s taxing those who use it” • Four years ago, the Wyoming Legislature began entertaining a lofty question: Who owns all of that wind? They concluded, quickly and conveniently, that Wyoming did. Then they did something no other state has done: They taxed it. [Los Angeles Times]

Mountain Wind Power wind turbines in Uinta County, Wyoming. Photo by CGP Grey. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Mountain Wind Power wind turbines in Uinta County, Wyoming.
Photo by CGP Grey. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ The Philippine Department of Energy has issued certificates of endorsements to 49 power projects as of the end of July, government data showed. Of these, 26 are renewable energy projects. Solar farms accounted for 22 projects, including one with a capacity of 100 MW in Subic Freeport Zone. [Philippine Star]

¶ Though it was not reported at the time, on July 10 a new reactor vessel in Belarus slipped to the ground during preparations for installation, according to Rosatom. Workers failed to properly secure the vessel, causing it to “slip[] down slowly and touch[] the ground softly.” The company said there was no damage. [POWER magazine]

Workers on the Belarus nuclear power plant apparently dropped the first unit’s 330-ton reactor vessel (shown here before the accident) on July 10. Courtesy: Rosatom.

Workers at the nuclear plant apparently dropped the first unit’s 330-ton reactor vessel (shown here before the accident). Courtesy: Rosatom.

… Rosatom is ready to fulfill Minsk’s demand and replace the reactor pressure vessel of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, which is being built with Russia’s assistance, representatives of the Russian nuclear engineering corporation Rosatom told TASS. The reactor is a VVER-1200 type nuclear power system. [Belarus News (BelTA)]

¶ In a boost to wind energy potential in Tamil Nadu, the government of India announced a policy for repowering wind energy projects. Repowering refers to replacing ageing wind turbines with powerful and modern units in order to boost power generation. It can help old wind sites to more than double their installed capacities. [The Hindu]

Most of the wind turbines installed till the year 2000 are below 500 kW capacity. The Hindu file photo.

Older wind turbines are usually below 500 kW capacity. The Hindu file photo.

¶ Off-grid solar is increasingly being viewed as the way to bring cheap, sustainable lighting to the vast parts of India that are yet to be connected to the electricity grid, especially in difficult terrain. The government is targeting 12 GW of new capacity and getting 6 GW. This means off-grid solar is looking more attractive. [The Hindu]

¶ The World Wildlife Fund offered the people of the village of Sardar Para, in Bangladesh, home solar systems, but many were skeptical. Then local women formed a self-help group and found an acceptable answer. A 4.1-kW PV array provides power, and each home has its own battery-powered energy access kit. [The Weekend Leader]

Residents of Sardar Para in Satjeliya Island and the village's solar panels. WWF photo.

Residents of Sardar Para and the village’s solar array. WWF photo.

US:

¶ Xcel has reduced carbon by 30% since 2005, according to the company’s CEO. He says Xcel will continue its environmental work and will reduce carbon by another 30% over the next 15 years. The company will invest in the grid, moving power from wind farms to customers in a way that is affordable to them. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

¶ According to the American Wind Energy Association, Virginia currently has no wind projects online. Hopefully, that will change soon. Apex Clean Energy, a Charlottesville-based independent renewable energy company that ranks as one of the nation’s leading developers, hopes to construct the first wind project in Virginia. [Richmond.com]

Wind turbines. The Associated Press.

Wind turbines. The Associated Press.

¶ An anti-fracking group says Pennsylvania’s approval of more than 40 natural gas power plants over the last two years will lead to more fracking and it is calling on the governor to limit gas usage. Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is also concerned about the fact that small power plants can fall below regulatory thresholds. [Timesonline.com]

¶ New York’s governor announced the completion of a solar array expansion at Davidson Chevrolet near Watertown. The 2,000 panels add to the dealership’s previous project, built in 2014, which consists of about 5,500 panels. The new array will save an estimated $1 million in expenses over the next 20 years. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]


August 13 Energy News

August 13, 2016

World:

¶ Global alcohol company Diageo intends to get all of its power from renewable sources by 2030 after seeing its energy use fall 10% in its latest reporting year. The company said in its report that it had seen an increased stakeholder focus on climate change. Its brands include Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, and Gordon’s. [Clean Energy News]

Roseisle Stillhouse, one of Diageo's distilleries. Image: Diageo.

Roseisle Stillhouse, one of Diageo’s distilleries. Image: Diageo.

¶ US tech giant Apple has been given the go-ahead to develop a data center in the west of Ireland that will be powered by 30 MW of renewables. National planners An Bord Pleanala approved the first phase of the scheme in Athenry this week. The company is expected to power a 30 MW phase one with onshore wind. [reNews]

¶ The UK’s surging solar PV capacity has helped the country to a new quarterly renewable generation record. In Q1 2016 renewables generated 25.1% of the UK’s electricity despite lower than expected wind speeds and rainfall. That figure was up 2.3 percentage points on generation recorded in Q1 2015. [Solar Power Portal]

Lightsource solar farm.

Lightsource solar farm.

¶ Macquarie Capital and Macquarie Commodities and Financial Markets have reached financial close on £900 million of funding for the 299-MW Tees renewable energy plant in the northeast of England. The biomass combined heat and power plant will be the world’s largest new-build biomass plant when completed. [reNews]

¶ Scotland is pledging to reach 100% renewable sustainability for energy production by the year 2020, a reasonable goal after meeting 100% of the energy demand through wind power alone for a day. Scotland is believed to have the largest oil reserves in Europe, but has proven they largely do not need it. [Interesting Engineering]

Scotland’s wind turbines (Image: Dorli Photography)

Scotland’s wind turbines (Image: Dorli Photography)

¶ Britain’s Chinese partner in the Hinkley Point power station deal has been accused of plotting to steal US nuclear secrets. A nuclear engineer for state-owned China General Nuclear is accused of setting up US experts to obtain sensitive information, confirming the worst suspicions of critics of the UK-Chinese nuclear deal. [Sputnik International]

¶ The Indian Ministry of Shipping is planning to install almost 83 MW of solar PV panels at the country’s 12 major ports. The port plans are part of the Green Port Initiative undertaken by India’s Shipping Ministry, which aims to cut the cost of purchasing power from the grid. The 12 ports handle 61% of India’s cargo traffic. [Energy Digital]

The plans are part of the Indian Shipping Ministry's Green Port Initiative.

The plans are part of the Indian Shipping Ministry’s Green Port Initiative.

¶ Of Japan’s 43 ‘operable’ nuclear reactors, few are actually running, as renewables and a 12% fall in demand eat into their market. And while Japan’s ‘nuclear village’ defends safety standards, the IAEA, tasked with promoting nuclear power worldwide, has expressed deep concerns over the country’s safety regulation. [The Ecologist]

US:

¶ In less than five years, the Army has engaged in 127 energy-saving projects with the private sector that now exceed $1 billion in investments, according to the Secretary of the Army. He explained that these projects were undertaken in response to a challenge from President Obama to save energy. [Product Design & Development]

Solar array at Tooele Army Depot in Utah. Image credit: US Army Corps of Engineers.

Solar array at Tooele Army Depot, Utah. US Army Corps of Engineers photo.

¶ SolarCity and Balfour Beatty Communities, managing member of military housing projects located at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and Fort Carson, Colorado, have completed the installation of more than 18,000 solar panels at Army family housing. The installations total more than 4.7 MW of solar power generation capacity. [PennEnergy]

¶ Facing high summer temperatures that strain power supplies, Vermont utilities issued peak alerts yesterday asking customers to reduce their energy use. Meanwhile, Renewable Energy Vermont says that renewables, including wind and solar power, are helping to reduce both peak costs and use of fossil fuels. [North American Windpower]

Vermont Law School 9.36 kW solar array. Photo by SayCheeeeeese. CC BY-SA 1.0 Wikimedia Commons.

Vermont Law School 9.36 kW solar array. Photo by
SayCheeeeeese. CC BY-SA 1.0 Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Neste Renewable Diesel is now being used by the Sacramento County, California. By doing so, the county will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its fleet by up to 80%. The county estimates that greenhouses gas emissions will be reduced by about 8,000 tons per year. The switch does not require engine modifications. [Energy Global]

¶ NRG Energy has agreed to pay up to $188 million to buy wind and solar projects from bankrupt SunEdison in Texas and other states. NRG, based in Houston and New Jersey, was seemingly scaling back its renewable-power focus after a CEO change last year. But the company says that’s not the case. [Houston Chronicle]


August 12 Energy News

August 12, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Vote with Your Utility Bill for Wind Energy” • Some politicians and utilities say renewable power raises utility costs and sacrifices reliability. But real examples tell a different story. In Colorado, renewable energy is replacing coal plants and driving down costs of electricity service without sacrificing reliable service. [Red, Green, and Blue]

Arcadia Power image.

Arcadia Power image.

¶ “Why Bill Gates Is Hugely Misinformed About Renewables & Loves Impractical Nuclear” • Why does Bill Gates not understand that we have all the science we need to stop climate change without nuclear power? Why does he not see that renewables are less costly and faster to install than nuclear power. There is an answer. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Climate science: revolution is here” • It takes a long time to heat up a world. Even if emissions are stopped, climate change will continue for a long time. But week by the week, we can see a much more positive prognosis based on the rapid advances being made in the development of renewable-energy. [Open Democracy]

Elan valley, Wales. Flickr/Richard Walker. Some rights reserved.

Elan valley, Wales. Flickr/Richard Walker. Some rights reserved.

Science and Technology:

¶ Speaking to analysts and investors during the Q2 earnings call for SolarCity, Elon Musk went into detail about his plans for what he calls the “Solar Roof.” It is not a system of solar panels mounted over an existing roof but the actual roof itself. The product is especially attractive for situations where a roof is getting old. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ A weaker economic outlook means demand for oil in 2017 is likely to grow at a slower rate than this year, according to the International Energy Agency. Global demand for oil will grow by 1.2 million barrels per day in 2017, down from 1.4 million bpd this year, representing a cut of 100,000 bpd from the IEA’s forecast last month. [BBC]

Oil pipeline worker. Reuters photo.

Oil pipeline worker. Reuters photo.

¶ With a target of adding 40 GW of rooftop solar power capacity by March, 2022, looking more difficult, the Indian government is seriously looking at other unconventional ways to expand solar power capacity in India. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has agreed to pursue floating solar power projects. [CleanTechnica]

¶ RWE boosted power generation by 5% to 107.1 billion kWh in the first half of the year, partly on the back of new renewables capacity. The German utility said group pre-tax earnings dropped 5% to €3 billion in the period driven by losses in its trading business and capital spending fell 30%, compared with a year ago. [reNews]

Gwynt y Môr wind farm. RWE photo.

Gwynt y Môr wind farm. RWE photo.

¶ BMR Energy LLC inaugurated its 36-MW wind power plant, west of Jamaica’s capital of Kingston. The wind park is expected to generate some 120 GWh of electricity per year, enough to meet roughly 3% of Jamaica’s current energy demand. It has 11 turbines manufactured by Vestas, which also provided engineering. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Vestas has confirmed an order for 31 V126 3.45-MW turbines for OX2 Wind’s 112-MW Raskiftet wind farm in the municipalities of Åmot and Trysil in Norway. Delivery is expected to start in the second quarter of 2018. The order also includes Vestas’ advanced de-icing system, using heaters within the turbine blades. [reNews]

Vestas wind turbines. Vestas photo.

Vestas wind turbines. Vestas photo.

US:

¶ Entergy New Orleans has started generating electricity at its new solar power plant in New Orleans East, one of only a handful of solar projects nationwide to incorporate battery storage. The utility is pitching the project as a way to test the cost and reliability of using sunlight to power local homes and businesses. [NOLA.com]

¶ American offshore wind power is one step closer to becoming a reality, with installation of the first turbines at Deepwater Wind’s Block Island project now complete. The Block Island Wind Farm will be America’s first offshore wind farm, and it remains on-schedule to be fully commissioned this fall. [Renewables International]

Deepwater wind - first US offshore project. Deepwater wind photo.

Deepwater wind, the first US offshore project. Deepwater wind photo.

¶ Pacific Gas & Electric formally submitted a proposal for the shutdown of California’s lone remaining nuclear power plant to the California Public Utilities Commission. A number of environmental organizations and labor unions joined PG&E in the proposal. It would close both units at the nuclear plant by 2025. [Los Angeles Times]

¶ Northland Power’s pre-tax earnings for the six months ended 30 June was up $19.4 million on the same period last year at $207.9 million, with increased income from its renewable energy assets. The company said the operating result from its renewables facilities grew $12.3 million in the period compared with last year. [reNews]

Mont Louis. Northland Power photo.

Mont Louis. Northland Power photo.

¶ A coalition of individuals and businesses seeking to protect Vermont’s environment and repower our state with local renewables have launched a campaign in support of wind power in Vermont. The coalition, Wind Works VT launched a website and will promote wind power as an essential part of the state’s energy future. [Vermont Biz]

¶ North American utilities company Algonquin Power and Utilities has commenced full commercial operation of the 200-MW Odell Wind Project in Minnesota. The site has excellent wind resources, so it can generate an average of 832 GWh of power every year, which will be sold under a 20-year PPA. [Power Technology]

 


August 11 Energy News

August 11, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Holy Grail of energy policy in sight as battery technology smashes the old order” • The world’s next energy revolution may be no more than five or ten years away. Research into clean electricity storage is moving fast, obsoleting 20th century power plants, including nuclear white elephants such as Hinkley Point. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Once renewable energy can be stored for use on demand, Britain could become self-sufficient in its energy usage. Credit: Charlotte Graham / Rex Shutterstock.

With stored renewable energy, Britain could become self-sufficient
in its energy usage. Credit: Charlotte Graham / Rex Shutterstock.

¶ “The Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor shouldn’t be delayed – it should be scrapped” • Theresa May’s government has delayed decision on Hinkley Point C. But the government really should stop agonizing and cancel it. There is no commercial or environmental sense in investing billions into the outdated project. [City A.M.]

Science and Technology:

¶ With South Africa in its worst drought in history, a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Johannesburg created a super absorbent polymer out of orange peel and avocado skins. It is capable of storing reserves of water hundreds of times its own weight, forming reservoirs that would allow farmers to maintain their crops at minimal cost. [CNN]

Kiara Nirghin won Google's Community Impact Award.

Kiara Nirghin won Google’s Community Impact Award.

World:

¶ Australia’s government has preliminarily blocked Chinese and Hong Kong bidders from taking a controlling stake in the country’s largest electricity network, citing worries over national security. The Australian treasurer said the foreign investment proposals from “were contrary to the national interest.” [BBC]

¶ Donald Trump has taken time out of his busy presidential campaign to reiterate his intention to keep fighting the planned offshore wind farm which is scheduled to be built off the coast of Aberdeenshire. He has signalled his intention to bring the case before the European courts if necessary. [International Environmental Technology]

Donald Trump continues fighting Scottish wind farm.

Donald Trump continues fighting Scottish wind farm.

¶ The Portuguese secretary of state for energy announced that subsidies to renewable energies are to be phased out, as existing contracts expire. Portugal will opt for a gradual phase-out and non-interference with existing contracts, unlike Spain, which tore up existing contracts when it decided on its phase-out. [Power Engineering International]

¶ A large and growing global glut of crude is set to keep oil prices at their depressed levels in the coming months. High stockpiles of refined oil products – petrol and diesel – as well as crude oil mean that unless there is substantial disruption to production or soaring demand, any recovery looks to be a long way off. [BBC]

Oil tankers laden with oil and refined fuel are used as storage venues.

Oil tankers laden with oil and refined fuel are used as storage venues.

¶ Germany added 150 bio-gas plants in 2015, with 23 MW of capacity. This was the smallest annual increase since the Renewable Energy Sources Act was first adopted in 2000. The overall pace of additional construction is somewhat disappointing. Nearly 9,000 bio-gas plants are currently operational in Germany. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

¶ Wind power generated the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity needs on 7 August, according to WWF Scotland. Analysis by WWF of data provided by WeatherEnergy found that for August 7, wind turbines in Scotland provided 39,545 MWh to the National Grid. Scotland’s demand for the day was 37,202 MWh. [reNews]

Harestanes wind farm in Scotland (Iberdrola image).

Harestanes wind farm in Scotland (Iberdrola image).

¶ Solarsense has revealed details a series of commercial rooftop solar installations finished this year for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds at a seven nature reserves. The installations increased RSPB’s solar capacity by a total of 104.78 kW and are expected to deliver 88 MWh in annual output. [Solar Power Portal]

¶ Huge spikes in wholesale electric prices in South Australia have been a result of energy companies gaming the system, according to a report by the Melbourne Energy Institute. It said fossil fuel generators may have withheld electricity at “strategic” times, causing massive price spikes, which have led to a $30.3 million windfall. [The Guardian]

A Melbourne Energy Institute report found evidence of fossil fuel companies gaming the system. Photograph: David Crosling / AAP

A Melbourne Energy Institute report found evidence of fossil fuel
companies gaming the system. Photograph: David Crosling / AAP

¶ France’s Socialist Party said a full review of the Hinkley Point project is needed before any decision is taken to build the British nuclear power plant, in effect siding with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May over France’s Socialist President Francois Hollande. Doubts center to a degree on the high cost of the nuclear plant. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ Solana Beach, California, is considering forming an electric collective to buy power on behalf of residents and businesses, through community choice aggregation (CCA). Residents are members of the CCA unless they opt out and go back to incumbent utility San Diego Gas & Electric Co. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

A cliff overlooking Solana Beach, Calif. Photo by Jamie Lantzy, courtesy of Flickr.

A cliff at Solana Beach. Photo by Jamie Lantzy, courtesy of Flickr.

¶ Exelon Corp said in its August 9 quarterly Form 10-Q report that the New York ISO has said its doesn’t need the Ginna nuclear plant operating beyond March of next year for grid reliability purposes. Ginna is a 581-MW, single-unit pressurized water reactor located in Ontario County, New York. [Electric Light & Power]

¶ A new project to capture stormwater at GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, home of the Chevrolet Volt, is slated to save the plant nearly $2 million every year. The initiative, two years in the making, now allows the plant to reuse rainwater for manufacturing processes throughout the 4 million square foot facility. [Justmeans]


August 10 Energy News

August 10, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ A team of international scientists from Switzerland and the United States developed a powerful osmosis power plant capable of generating more power than any osmotic power generator that has come before. An osmosis power plant creates power by use of a membrane separates salt water from fresh. [Nature World News]

Scientists made a better of osmotic power generator. (Photo: 27707 / Pixabay)

Power can be made where salt water meets fresh. (Photo: 27707 / Pixabay)

World:

¶ Brazil’s state-owned energy research firm EPE said 35,147 MW of wind and solar projects have registered for the second reserve energy auction, scheduled for December. Overall, 1,260 renewable energy projects will compete for contracts. This tender will award 20-year solar and wind power supply contracts. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The TechnoCentre éolien has been granted Canadian federal financial contribution of about $3 million to continue its role as a catalyst in Quebec wind energy. This financial support, which will cover the fiscal years 2016 to 2019, was granted by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. [Windpower Engineering]

The TechnoCentre éolien operates an R&D test site with a wind-diesel-storage microgrid.

The TechnoCentre éolien R&D test site has a wind-diesel-storage microgrid.

¶ The government of Ghana is scaling up the construction of mini-grids to provide electricity to over 200 islands and 2,000 lakeside communities in the medium term. These are in addition to the mini-grid facilities by the World Bank to provide electricity to populations on five island communities on the Volta Lake. [Graphic Online]

US:

¶ Local scientists at Massachusetts Maritime Academy are testing an underwater turbine at the Cape Cod Canal in Buzzards Bay. They believe the technology could revolutionize how we get power. The machine centers around an oscillating set of blades. At Mass Maritime, they call it a hydrokinetic energy solution. [CBS Local]

Underwater turbine tested at Mass. Maritime Academy (WBZ-TV)

Underwater turbine tested at Mass. Maritime Academy (WBZ-TV)

¶ Alaska averaging 33.9° over seven months may not seem warm to folks in the Lower 48. But that just proves they haven’t lived there. A not-far-above-freezing high from January 1 to July 31 is a virtual heat wave. This year’s average is 8.1° above the 20th century average of 25.8°. So far, 2016 has been the hottest year on record. [CNN]

¶ Vestas says that it has received a firm and unconditional order from EDF Renewable Energy for 80 turbines of 2.0 MW each that qualify for the US production tax credit. Vestas says the nacelles, blades and towers will be made at its Colorado factories. The order is part of a larger, global agreement. [North American Windpower]

Wind turbines power generator on sunset at farmer field

Wind turbines power generator on sunset at farmer field

¶ The University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a $500,000 grant for a solar energy project from the state Department of Energy Resources. The grant will go toward a 4.5-MW solar array at two university parking lots, as well as two electric vehicle charging stations, according to a statement from UMass. [Amherst Bulletin]

¶ New figures from GTM Research have revealed that the United States currently has 10 GW of utility-scale solar PV projects currently under construction. In 2015, the entire US solar sector installed a record 7,286 MW. In 2015, the country’s utility solar sector grew 6%, but 2016 may see a growth rate of over 100%. [CleanTechnica]

US Utility PV Pipeline.

US Utility PV Pipeline.

¶ The Massachusetts legislature passed a bill to make the state one of only three to have an energy storage mandate, and Governor Charlie Baker (R) signed the landmark measure on August 9. Massachusetts began paving the way for more far-reaching storage policies over a year ago with an energy storage initiative. [Utility Dive]

¶ Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $16 million will be made available through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to support the design and construction of new energy-efficient housing and to complete similar improvements in existing buildings across New York State. [LongIsland.com]

Program to provide energy savings worth $180 million. Photo by: Renaude Hatsedakis, via Free Images.

Program to provide energy savings worth $180 million.
Photo by: Renaude Hatsedakis, via Free Images.

¶ With a total capacity of 150 MW of DC power, the Aurora solar project will be the largest solar plant in Minnesota, according to Enel Green Power North America. All told, the 477,000 PV panels will generate 121 million kWh of electricity each year, enough to meet the needs of more than 17,000 homes. [Fergus Falls Daily Journal]

¶ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke on the sale of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power plant. Entergy had said nine months ago it would close the financially struggling plant, but recently agreed to sell it to Exelon. The sale is touted as saving more than 600 jobs at the plant and benefiting the local economy. [WRVO Public Media]


August 9 Energy News

August 9, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Wisconsin Wind Industry Finally Shakes Off Koch Brothers” • Wisconsin has been a wind energy wallflower despite its prime location for wind. But now it seems cracks are beginning to appear in the state’s anti-wind armor. The state hasn’t seen a new wind farm in five years, but at least two are now in development. [CleanTechnica]

Wind potential in Wisconsin. Please click on image to enlarge.

Wind potential in Wisconsin. Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “Tesla Poised To Deliver Knockout Punch To Fossil Fuels In The Next Decade” • Tesla Motors has a stated mission that flies directly in the face of carbon-emitting fossil fuels. It is bringing about sustainable energy. Electric cars, battery storage, and solar power could be a potent combination in the fight to replace fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ A prolonged electricity blackout affecting two of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland has given renewed impetus to making the islands carbon-neutral and independent, according to a local renewable-energy project. The outage began when a submarine cable was broken on Friday and lasted until Monday night. [Irish Times]

People on the Aran Islands used solar panels to charge devices after a power outage.

Solar panels were used to charge devices during a power
outage on the Aran Islands. A little power is better than none at all.

¶ The Scottish Government and two key players in the bid to develop huge windfarms in the North Sea have lodged appeals against the Court of Session’s controversial refusal of the projects. The Inch Cape, Seagreen and Neart na Gaoithe arrays would generate enough electricity to power several cities the size of Edinburgh. [The Courier]

¶ ReNew Power Ventures Private Limited announced that it signed a Power Purchase agreement with the Chandigarh International Airport for solar PV installations. The 5-MW PV plant will use single axis solar tracker technology. The power generated is expected to reduce the cost of energy for the airport by 20%. [solarserver.com]

25 MW ReNew Power reference PV plant in Andhra Pradesh.

25 MW ReNew Power reference PV plant in Andhra Pradesh.

¶ The Chinese ambassador in London said the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant represents a “crucial historical junction” for relations between the UK and China, which has a minority stake in the £18 billion ($24 billion) project. In an opinion piece, he said the cancellation of the plant could have an effect on trade. [Bloomberg]

¶ A Climate Council report warns that Australia’s rural communities are on the front line in the battle against climate change, with worsening extreme weather events including as bushfires and drought. It called for a rollout of renewable energy to generate cheaper and cleaner power, and as a major driver of economic growth. [RenewEconomy]

Adelaide Hills. Photo by Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Adelaide Hills. Photo by Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia.
CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ EDF’s decision to invest in the £18 billion Hinkley Point nuclear plant should be declared invalid, French trade unions have said. The unions at the French firm said senior board members knew that the UK government was considering delaying its final decision, but did not disclose this before last month’s vote. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Solar energy is gaining traction among business owners in Westchester County, New York, and momentum has been building. From some of the county’s most recognizable destinations to smaller, unassuming shops, scores of forward-thinking merchants and property owners are embracing solar energy. [Westchester Magazine]

Solar power has proved a sound investment for local businesses like Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

Solar power has proved a sound investment for
local businesses like Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

¶ A festive feeling took hold as Governor Charlie Baker signed an energy bill that could launch an offshore wind industry in Massachusetts. New Bedford is poised to benefit from offshore wind development, potentially at the $113 million, state-funded Marine Commerce Terminal just inside the hurricane barrier. [SouthCoastToday.com]

¶ The US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division’s self defence test ship completed sea trials using ReadiDiesel, a 100% drop-in renewable diesel fuel. It features the same molecular composition as petroleum fuels, but it is claimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to petroleum. [Naval Technology]

Test ship USS Paul F Foster. Photo courtesy of US Navy, by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black / Released.

Test ship USS Paul F Foster. Photo courtesy of US Navy, by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black / Released.

¶ Donald Trump claimed that Michigan lost 50,000 jobs due to President Obama’s “war on coal.” The claim was clearly untrue. The state has no coal mines and its power industry employs less than half that number of employees. Trump’s press release cites the National Mining Association as its source of information. [Washington Examiner]

¶ US electricity consumers could end up paying more than $2.5 billion for nuclear plants that never get built. Utilities Duke Energy, Dominion Resources, and NextEra Energy are being allowed by regulators to charge $1.7 billion for reactors that exist only on paper, company disclosures and regulatory filings show. [Bloomberg]

 


August 8 Energy News

August 8, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Winds of spare change” • UK Prime Minister Theresa May should look to Denmark instead of France for Britain’s future energy needs. Gallic nuclear knowhow would be one way to satisfy the country’s demand for carbon-neutral electricity, but May should be heeding the message coming out of Scandinavia too. [Breakingviews]

Danish offshore wind farm.

Danish offshore wind farm.

¶ “South Australia signalling the death of base-load generation” • Tuesday marks the three-month anniversary of the closure of the last coal-fired generator in South Australia, and despite the best efforts of many in the Coalition Government and the Murdoch media, other states may eventually follow suit. [RenewEconomy]

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change is becoming more pronounced across our planet. In the Great Lakes region, effects include more toxic algae and faster evaporation of Great Lakes water. Other documented Great Lakes impacts include higher shipping costs, more pollen, more Lyme disease, and changes in wintering habits of migratory birds. [Toledo Blade]

Climate change brings more frequent extreme weather. Photo by Stan Dalone & Miran Rijavec. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Climate change brings more frequent extreme weather. Photo by
Stan Dalone & Miran Rijavec. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ India is pressing ahead with coal burning. Government-owned NTPC has two new 800-MW units of a Super Thermal Power Project in Medak in the state of Telangana, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated them on Sunday. NTPC is proceeding with Phase II of the project, which will have three more 800-MW units. [The Hans India]

¶ Anglesey County Council has granted consent to Eon and Eurus Energy’s 11-turbine Rhyd y Groes repowering near Rhosgoch in North Wales. The 9.9-MW scheme will be situated within the same area as the existing Rhyd y Groes wind farm, which will be decommissioned as part of the consent for the repowering. [reNews]

Rhyd y Groes, Anglesey (Eric Jones)

Rhyd y Groes, Anglesey (Eric Jones)

¶ Zimbabwe produces only around 60% of the electricity it needs, and drought reduces available hydropower. Solar panels and other clean energy sources not connected to the African nation’s power grid are likely the cheapest and fastest way to bring electricity to those without it, sustainable energy experts say. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

¶ Delhi Metro will install a 3 MW solar power plant atop an elevated stabling line of Kalindi Kunj depot, the first-ever such shed being built in the DMRC network. Delhi Metro has so far installed solar power facilities at three of its depots, and work is in progress towards installing more such plants in the other depots. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Rooftop solar array in India.

Rooftop solar array in India.

¶ GE Energy Financial Services announced it will invest $31 million in a wind energy project of Mytrah Energy under development in Andhra Pradesh in India. Mytrah Energy has raised approximately $350 million for the project. The new wind energy project has a maximum capacity of 200 MW. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

US:

¶ Electric co-ops across Minnesota have instituted fees on new residential solar arrays based on a 2015 law, and renewable energy advocates are angry. Lyon-Lincoln Electric charges a customer $49 per month for a rooftop solar connection. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is investigating the fees. [Duluth News Tribune]

Sam Villella wants to add more panels, but a new electric co-op fee is holding him back. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Sam Villella wants to add more panels, but a new electric
co-op fee is holding him back. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

¶ Energy independence is growing in the US passenger car market, led by Tesla Motors but also by ZEV mandates in 9 states, and EV efforts from auto companies. In July, electric car sales surged 48%, mostly on the back of Tesla, but sales jumped for the Chevy Volt, BMW i3, Ford Fusion Energi, and Chevy Spark EV. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Work is expected to proceed quickly on a new solar array in Wisconsin that will serve more than two dozen electric cooperatives in the Midwest. St Croix Electric Cooperative is putting in the first installation. Power will be distributed through Dairyland Power. Other co-ops are putting up 15 MW through 12 solar arrays. [Electric Co-op Today]

¶ Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Public Service Department Commissioner Chris Recchia announced today that the PSD has reached an agreement with Green Mountain Power that, pending Public Service Board approval, will result in a 0.93% rate increase for GMP customers in the coming year. [vtdigger.org]


August 7 Energy News

August 7, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Why are people worried about a nuclear power plant being built 250 km from Ireland?” • Ireland has a history with UK nuclear power plants and projects. The government and anti-nuclear activists were long-engaged in a battle with the UK over the Sellafield nuclear site, which has fueled Irish opposition to nuclear power. [thejournal.ie]

Sellafield nuclear plant. Source: Owen Humphreys / PA Wire.

Sellafield nuclear plant. Source: Owen Humphreys / PA Wire.

¶ “SMEs Are Energiewende’s Backbone” • A number of companies come to mind when you mention Germany’s energy transition. Names like E.ON, Volkswagen, and Siemens are recognized worldwide. But Germany has 3.67 million small and medium-sized business enterprises, and they are Energiewende’s backbone. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Lagoons: the new technology better than Hinkley Point” • A tidal lagoon is one alternative to the Hinkley Point nuclear plant. It is a £1 billion project, awaiting ministerial approval, to build a walled lagoon in Swansea Bay that would generate (through largely British-built turbines) electricity on the ebb and flood of every tide. [Spectator.co.uk]

The Swansea Bay lagoon scheme.

The Swansea Bay lagoon scheme.

Science and Technology:

¶ Old smartphones can give us new opportunities. “There are around one billion idle smartphones in America,” the head of a startup business says. “They’re just sitting in drawers at the moment destined for landfill. Yet they’ve got a GPS, two cameras, a microphone, a processor and five or six other useful sensors.” [The Guardian]

¶ Leading climate scientists have warned that the Earth is perilously close to breaking through a 1.5° C upper limit for global warming, only eight months after the target was set. The decision to try to limit warming to 1.5° C, compared to pre-industrial temperatures, was made at the Paris climate negotiations last December. [The Guardian]

A tropical coral reef off Fiji. Photograph: Alamy

A tropical coral reef off Fiji. Photograph: Alamy

World:

¶ A 1.2-GW offshore wind farm has been approved for the water off Yorkshire coast, England. Offshore wind developer Dong Energy said a final decision had been made to construct the 1.2-GW Hornsea Project One scheme off the coast of Yorkshire in northern England. The project will create 300 permanent jobs. [Seeker]

¶ When Egypt announced plans to develop renewable power in 2014, investors piled in, drawn by sunshine and high demand. Two years on, many projects have stalled, hitting confidence among much-needed foreign investors. Developers say they face currency risks, while wrangling over contract terms delays work. [Al-Arabiya]

Egypt had aimed to meet 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, but has pushed that back to 2022. (Reuters)

Egypt had aimed to meet 20% of its energy needs from renewable
sources by 2020, but has pushed that back to 2022. (Reuters)

US:

¶ On the anniversary of finalizing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a report said implementing that plan could save businesses billions of dollars a year. Commercial customers are responsible for nearly a third of all electricity-related carbon pollution nationwide, and they could see significant savings under the plan. [Orange Leader]

¶ A California project would have 100 turbines on platforms tethered to ocean floor floating 33 miles off the coast. Trident Winds, a Seattle-based company, plans to place the turbines off the coast of Morro Bay. The turbines would be affixed to floating platforms, which would be tethered to the sea floor using cables. [Seeker]

A California offshore wind farm will float. Photo by Tycho, via Wikimedia Commons.

A different kind of offshore wind farm will float off California.
Photo by Tycho, via Wikimedia Commons.

¶ A majority of the Willingboro, New Jersey, Township Council voted to rescind an agreement with the Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority to put together a renewable-energy project on township-owned property. Now, the council, with the help of the municipal engineer, will lead the initiative. [Burlington County Times]

¶ A public report is expected this fall from Milwaukee’s Water Council and its energy-focused counterpart, M-WERC, but companies in the water and energy sectors have been given a glimpse. The bottom line: The global market for the sectors is projected to double by 2025, and Wisconsin companies can benefit. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

 


August 6 Energy News

August 6, 2016

World:

¶ Kenya and Ethiopia have started construction of a power line to run between the two countries. The 1,045 kilometer line will have a transmitting capacity of 2,000 MW and is expected to be completed by December 2018. Chinese construction firm, China Electric Power Equipment Technology, will erect the power line. [Geeska Afrika]

African transmission line.

African transmission line.

¶ DP Energy has development approval from the South Australia government for its 375-MW Port Augusta wind/solar hybrid facility. Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park will have 59 wind turbines and almost 400 hectares of PV panels. It is expected to cost about A$680 million and create 250 jobs during construction. [reNews]

¶ The Apas Kiri geothermal project in Malaysia is expected to be operational by June 2018. The project is set to have an installed capacity of 30 MW and will be feeding its electricity into the grid of Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd under a feed-in-tariff scheme. It will be Malaysia’s first geothermal power plant. [ThinkGeoEnergy]

Drilling rig on site at Apas Kiri project, Malaysia (source: Tawau Green Energy)

Drilling rig at Apas Kiri project, Malaysia (source: Tawau Green Energy)

¶ A renewable energy policy FiT analysis report finds that wind is the most widely used renewable energy source, in terms of capacity, followed by solar, bio energy and geothermal. However, in terms of adoption rate, solar is being widely adopted and deems to be a promising technology in the near future, FiT report said. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Nestled in a deep pocket of forest, off Thailand’s electrical grid, villagers in Pa Deng have become early adopters and evangelists for an unusual alternative energy source: poop. After successfully lighting up their homes with solar panels and stoves fueled by cow dung, the villagers are now clean energy crusaders. [Deccan Chronicle]

With no access to power lines or plenty of cow manure, Pa Deng' s villagers have turned to faeces. (Photo: AFP)

Offgrid, Pa Deng’ s villagers have turned to poop for power. (Photo: AFP)

¶ The rapidly warming climate will melt Greenland’s ice cap to such an extent that thousands of tons of hazardous waste left in the 1960s by a secret US military base will be unearthed by the end of the century, new research finds. The waste includes chemicals, sewage, and radioactive coolant water from a nuclear power plant. [eNews Park Forest]

US:

¶ US grid operator ISO-New England is mulling a request from DONG Energy, which is seeking an 800-MW of grid capacity for its planned 1-GW Bay State wind farm off the Massachusetts coast. DONG wants the link at Brayton Point power station, where an existing 1-GW coal plant is scheduled to close next year. [reNews]

Walney Wind Farm in the Irish Sea. DONG photo.

Walney Wind Farm in the Irish Sea. DONG photo.

¶ The White House Council on Environmental Quality directed Federal agencies to consider the impacts of their actions on climate change in all decision-making. According to the White House, “Federal agencies are required to consider and disclose the potential effects of their actions and decisions on the environment.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Hampshire College is constructing the largest campus solar power array in New England. The project will put 15,000 solar panels on 19 acres of campus land to generate 4.7 MW of electricity and includes a battery storage system. Hampshire College will be able to boast that 100% of its electricity will come from renewable energy. [WAMC]

Building at Hampshire College. Photo by redjar. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Building at Hampshire College.
Photo by redjar. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ After only around 3 months of service, Kansas City’s new downtown streetcar has achieved more than 550,000 passenger rides, far more than had been projected. Current average daily ridership for the streetcar now totals 6,612. The predicted average daily ridership before the May 6 launch was only 2,700. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Tradewind Energy, based in Kansas, is in the preliminary stages of developing two new wind farms in Iowa, both partly in Dickinson County. North Star will encompass 70 turbines, and Red Rock will house 180 turbines. Combined capacity of the two farms is 500 MW. They should be completed by 2019. [Spencer Daily Reporter]


August 5 Energy News

August 5, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Nuclear Power Is Losing Money At An Astonishing Rate” • Half of the existing nuclear power plants are no longer profitable. The New York Times and others have tried to blame renewable energy, but the admittedly astounding price drops of renewables aren’t the primary cause of the industry’s woes. [ThinkProgress]

Cooling towers. Shutterstock image.

Cooling towers. Shutterstock image.

Science and Technology:

¶ In a new research study from Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Chicago, scientists developed an artificial leaf that uses solar power to transform CO2 into a fuel source. The leaf mimics the process of photosynthesis that occurs naturally in plants, but converts CO2 into syngas, a fuel. [Treehugger]

¶ North Sea hydrocarbon reserves are being depleted, and many hundreds of oil and gas rigs are approaching the end of their productive lives. At the current low oil price, one-third of oil fields operating at a loss. But there is a problem: rigs cannot just be shut down. They have to be decommissioned, and that has to happen at sea. [BBC]

North Sea oil platform. Photo by tom jervis. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

On the North Sea. Photo by tom jervis. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Natural Energy Wyre Ltd wants to build a 120-MW tidal energy project that could dramatically lower the cost of energy generated by the sea. The company’s £250 million ($329 million) proposed project would capture power from tides as they rise and fall, four times each day, ten meters or more, each way they flow. [Bloomberg]

¶ Scotian Wind and project partners have completed a three-turbine wind farm in East Hants, Nova Scotia. The 6-MW project is the final of four Community Feed-In Tariff projects that were installed by Scotian Wind this year. This installation brings their fleet of community-scale projects to 39.63 MW in Nova Scotia. [Windpower Engineering]

Wind turbines in Nova Scotia.

Wind turbines in Nova Scotia.

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced that it committed, with conditions, up to A$5 million (US$3.83) in funding for a A$20-million Australian energy group AGL to install 1,000 centrally controlled batteries in South Australian homes and businesses with a combined storage capacity of 5 MW/7 MWh. [pv magazine]

¶ AGL said the batteries it plans to install in and around Adelaide will be linked with solar panel arrays in a system that would be the “world’s largest virtual power plant.” The company hopes the system will help meet demand peaks and avoid the need to source electricity from local power stations. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Politicians blamed wind farms for recent electricity supply concerns. Photo: Bloomberg

Some politicians blame wind farms for supply problems. Photo: Bloomberg

US:

¶ The Nevada Supreme Court ruled against a referendum proposed for the November statewide ballot that would have given voters the right to decide whether to return to Nevada’s previous, more favorable net metering rules. Justices said the measure’s ballot description is inaccurate, misleading, and argumentative. [SeeNews Renewables]

SiliconBeat reports that Apple received approval to begin selling off its excess renewable energy. The approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission means Apple will be able to start selling excess energy generated from its solar farms and other renewable energy facilities it has located in Nevada, Arizona, and California. [9 to 5 Mac]

Apple solar array.

Apple solar array.

¶ A hospital in Westchester County has finished work on a solar power array that state officials say will save $96,000 per year. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office announced the completion of the project on Thursday. The state contributed $358,000 toward the work at the Montrose VA Medical Center. [Colorado Springs Gazette]

¶ Sonoma Clean Power has signed a power purchase agreement for 20 years of wind power from Golden Hills North Wind Energy Center. The project is getting new turbines in a re-power program, with each new turbine replacing 21 of the older ones. The result will be more energy and reduced avian mortality. [Windpower Engineering]

Golden Hills North Wind Energy is expected to be operational at the end of 2017.

Golden Hills North Wind Energy is expected to be operational in 2017.

¶ When the Oregon Legislature debated a landmark bill to phase out coal power and require more renewable energy, Republican lawmakers, business groups, and some Public Utility Commission officials predicted it would jack up power costs and harm industry. But those fears appear to have been overblown. [Portland Tribune]

¶ El Paso Electric celebrated a milestone as the only utility in Texas and New Mexico to generate electricity that is 100% coal-free. By eliminating the coal generation from the company’s portfolio and increasing its use of utility-scale solar, EPE is reducing carbon dioxide emissions by than two billion pounds per year. [solarserver.com]

¶ The US Department of Energy estimates that the nation could increase its hydroelectric capacity 50% by 2050 without building new dams. The new capacity would come from upgrading existing hydropower facilities with more efficient technology and by constructing pumped storage facilities. [TakePart]


August 4 Energy News

August 4, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “What I Saw in China Will Help Change the World” • Air pollution is blamed for 1 million premature deaths a year in China and for reducing life expectancy by nearly 25 months. China alone accounts for 27% of the global carbon footprint. But the country is doing a lot to fight climate change . [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Guilin, China

Guilin, China. Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ “Institutional investors are heeding climate warnings. Should you, too?” Most people recognize that climate change is a risk for life on Earth. But a warming planet is likely to be dangerous to investment portfolios, too. Institutional money managers are coming to realize it, and retail investors should pay heed as well. [The Globe and Mail]

Science and Technology:

¶ The report, State of the Climate in 2015, showed 2015 set a record as hottest year, with most of the planet’s surface warmer than average. Further, long-term warming and a strong El Niño contributed to the highest annual combined temperature for ocean and land since reliable record-keeping began in the 1800s. [CleanTechnica]

NOAA image.

NOAA image.

World:

¶ Two developers announced wind farm projects in Victoria. New Zealand’s Trustpower announced a A$650 million investment to develop the Dundonnell Wind Farm in South West Victoria. Spain’s Acciona announced it will commence construction of a 44-turbine Mt Gellibrand Wind Farm in Victoria’s Colac region. [Invest in Australia]

¶ The global wind market is expected to total 705.5 GW of installed capacity by the end of 2020, according to Navigant Research. Navigant Research Leaderboard Report: Global Wind Turbine Vendors said wind capacity grew by 63.1 GW or 23.2% last year, making it one of the fastest growing energy sectors. [reNews]

Wind turbine. sxc image.

Wind turbine. sxc image.

¶ EDF’s CEO said that he learned late on the evening before the vote on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant that British Prime Minister Theresa May “was asking for a little more time, without re-assessing the project, without giving the date when it could be signed,” and “that she would not discuss the matter”. [Yahoo News]

US:

¶ Two deep-water berths have been opened at the US Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site at Oahu island in Hawaii. The two berths will support wave energy converter testing at 60-metre and 80-metre water depths. The new facilities add to the existing shallow-water berth that allows testing at a depth of 30 metres. [reNews]

Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii. US Marine Corps photo.

Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii. US Marine Corps photo.

¶ UPS announced that it has successfully completed one billion miles in its ‘rolling laboratory’ fleet of electric, hybrid, natural gas, and biofuel-powered delivery vehicles. It will make additional investments of over $750 million for its alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles by the end of 2016. [Biofuels International Magazine]

¶ First Solar Inc said it has sales bookings of 121 MW DC of thin-film modules for US utility-based community projects. Several of the projects, 41 MW DC to be more specific, are already under construction with M+W Energy in charge. Other projects and the names of their developers are yet to be announced. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar park in California equipped by First Solar. Author: Russ Ferriday. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Solar park in California equipped by First Solar. Author: Russ Ferriday. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

¶ California is the first in the country to publish a draft blueprint for fulfilling the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, for cutting existing power plant emissions. The state’s landmark cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions and proposed amendments to extend that system will be used for compliance. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

¶ The 426th turbine of the Los Vientos wind power projects is now spinning and serving customers near the Rio Grande in Starr County, Texas. It marks Duke Energy Renewables’ completion of Los Vientos IV, the last of the five wind projects in the area to begin operation. Austin Energy is buying the power. [North American Windpower]


August 3 Energy News

August 3, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Proof That Trump Cares More About Coal Money Than Coal Miners” • In a speech in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump suggested that he would bar government regulators from inspecting coal mines. The coal industry has been so battered by environmental protections, he said, that his mine-owning buddies “can’t eat.” [Huffington Post]

Perhaps we needed coal once, but that was before Trump's time. Government poster of circa 1942 or 1943. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps Trump wants to return to a time when coal was needed.
Government poster of circa 1942. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ “The Shift To Solar, Wind, & Electric Vehicles Is Too Monumental To Overstate” • Once upon a time, humans discovered fire. Since the discovery of fire, we have burned this and that, and we dug always deeper for more stuff to burn. All of a sudden, phase 2 of civilization is beginning. We are going beyond fire. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Wind Is Winning – Delivering America’s Clean Energy Future, Today” Growth in wind power is picking up speed. Wind, which accounts for 77% of US growth in non-polluting power generation in the past decade. Today, wind powers approximately 5% of America’s electricity and is on track to grow to 20% by 2030. [Huffington Post]

Wind turbines from the Pumping Station Reservoir. Photo by Jakec. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines from the Pumping Station Reservoir.
Photo by Jakec. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Science and Technology:

¶ In the UK, a flywheel-based device invented by a student at Lancaster University could offer a better alternative to battery technology. The Flywheel Energy Store, designed by 21-year-old Abigail Carson, is about the size of a football, and does not require any additional controls, inputs or maintenance. [E&T magazine]

¶ A new windmill design is being tested in Vietnam. It is intended for mounting directly on boats in which poor people live. A windmill is made from a plastic bowl, connected to a motor of a broken printer. The energy is stored in an old motorcycle battery, which can power a lamp equivalent to a 45-Watt light bulb. [Inquirer.net]

Most of these boats have wind turbines mounted on them.

Most of these boats have wind turbines mounted on them. (Look closely.)

World:

¶ The Ukrainian Government is exploring options to construct a 4-GW solar power plant in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Once completed, the plant would be the largest solar project in the world. Aside from guards and workers who manage roadblocks and barriers, the zone has been barren and uninhabited for 30 years. [Power Technology]

¶ Lightsource Renewable Energy said it has connected the UK’s first Contracts for Difference solar farm, the 11.94-MW Charity Farm installation in Shropshire. The Royal Bank of Scotland invested £8.7 million ($11.4 million), and the system was grid connected on June 30. It should power over 4,000 homes. [SeeNews Renewables]

Charity Farm installation. Source: Lightsource. License: All Rights Reserved.

Charity Farm installation. Source: Lightsource. License: All Rights Reserved.

¶ The University of the West of England has plans to increase the capacity of its roof-mounted solar array to 450-kW, which it says would make it the largest rooftop array in the UK’s University market. The existing system is to be quadrupled in size and is expected to generate more than 400 MWh of electricity each year. [Solar Power Portal]

¶ Vestas has confirmed an order to supply turbines to the 120-MW Khalladi wind farm in northern Morocco. The Danish manufacturer will install 40 of its 3-MW V90 units at the project near Tangiers developed by Acwa Power. Turbines will be delivered in the second quarter of next year and will start operating in the fourth. [reNews]

Vestas wind turbines. Vestas image.

Vestas wind turbines. Vestas image.

¶ The Polish government is reviving plans to build a nuclear power plant in a bid to diversify its power mix away from coal, which the country uses for most of its electricity. The project was first launched in 2009 but it hit numerous delays due to falling power prices and Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. [Power Engineering International]

¶ Nordex has produced a pair of 3.6-MW turbines designed to gather a 12% higher yield from low and moderate wind-speed sites. The German manufacturer will take the wraps off the two new models at the Windenergy Hamburg trade fair in September. Prototypes will be installed before the end of this year. [reNews]

Nordex N117 3-MW wind turbine. Credit Nordex.

Nordex N117 3-MW wind turbine. Credit Nordex.

¶ The US Energy Information Administration said renewables’ share of North America’s electricity mix will grow to 29% by 2025, while nuclear’s declines to 16%, so a total of 45% of the electricity supply will be carbon free. In 2015, 38% of the electricity was carbon free, 20% from renewables and 18% from nuclear. [SeeNews Renewables]

US:

¶ Turbine installation has started at the 30-MW Block Island project off the coast of Rhode Island, the US’ first offshore wind farm. The developer, Deepwater Wind, said on Twitter that the first tower section has been put atop one of the foundations. The components for the rest of the turbines are all on hand. [SeeNews Renewables]

First tower section is lifted onto its foundation.

First tower section is lifted onto its foundation.

¶ Matt Dunne, Democratic candidate for Governor of Vermont, unveiled a plan to tackle climate change and secure the state’s clean energy future. “Climate change is the most significant threat to our planet and even in the short-term will fundamentally harm our economy. … Collectively, we can solve this problem.” [Vermont Biz]

¶ At a press conference at the Vermont Statehouse, Sue Minter was surrounded by environmental advocates to receive the endorsement of the Vermont Conservation Voters in her race for Governor. Minter reiterated her commitment to Vermont’s bold goal to reach 90% renewable energy by 2050 and deal with climate change. [Vermont Biz]


August 2 Energy News

August 2, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “What World Climate Can Expect From US Presidential Choices” • “This year, every vote is a vote for or against climate change,” says Nick Stockton on Wired.com. Citizens of the United States have to make a real choice about climate this year. Our votes may determine how the country addresses the world climate for decades. [CleanTechnica]

NOAA image.

World:

¶ Argentina announced details of its first renewable energy tender, scheduled to take place next October. Rules for the renewable energy auction came with the government announcement. The auction will allocate 1 GW of capacity, including 300 MW of solar capacity. Project sizes will vary between 1 to 100 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Renewable power provides 19% of England’s electricity, but the outlook for the year ahead is “poor”, according to a report by Regen SW. Slow progress in renewable heat means only 5% of total energy consumption in England is met by renewables, and recent government policy changes have led to slower progress. [reNews]

Onshore wind farm. Credit: Morgue File.

Onshore wind farm. Credit: Morgue File.

¶ The British Photovoltaic Association recently signed an agreement with the Renewable Energy Organization of Iran for the development of 1 GW of solar PV capacity in the Middle Eastern country. The agreement will also see the development of a 500 MW solar module manufacturing facility in Iran. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Farmers in Australia are being hit by electricity cost increases. In New South Wales, prices rose 300% from 2009 to 2013. But farmers may benefit from partnering with renewables companies. There are clear opportunities for farmers to diversify their income by working with firms looking to build wind or solar farms. [PV-Tech]

The cost of power for farmers has been driven up by high network charges. Credit: AECOM

The cost of power for farmers has been
driven up by high network charges. Credit: AECOM

¶ Energy giant Shell has published a report “A Better Life with a Healthy Planet: Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions.” It states that Shell’s drive to achieve net-zero emissions is likely to accelerate due to the “global reality” of limiting global rise in temperatures to well below 2°C, a target set at the Paris Agreement. [eco-business.com]

¶ Energy research and consulting firm GTM Research has predicted that the German energy storage market will attain an annual value of US $1 billion by 2021. The firm forecast an elevenfold increase in megawatts of storage between 2015 and 2021. At the end of last year, Germany had 67 MW of energy storage installed. [Energy Digital]

Germany already possesses a sizeable home energy storage market.

Germany already possesses a sizeable home energy storage market.

¶ By mid-2016, the total capacity of renewable energy plants in Ukraine reached 1,028 MW. A report released by the International Forum of Sustainable Energy in Ukraine, said that as of July 1, the country had 453 MW of solar plants, 426 MW of wind farms, 31 MW of biomass power and 118 MW of small hydro power plants. [pv magazine]

¶ Renewable energy sources produced 48.6% of Spain’s power in January-July 2016, according to provisional data as of July 29. Nuclear power plants were the number-one source of electricity with a 22.8% share, closely followed by wind parks with 22.5% and hydro power at 19%. Solar power provided 5.4%. [SeeNews Renewables]

The Hinojal wind farm. Source: Fersa Energias Renovables SA.

The Hinojal wind farm. Source: Fersa Energias Renovables SA.

US:

¶ The Clean Energy Standard, part of an initiative to double the New York’s renewable energy providers and cut carbon emissions 40% by 2030, was approved unanimously at a meeting in Albany Monday. The four nuclear power plants were added to the CES because they produce a third of the state’s carbon dioxide-free energy. [WSKG News]

¶ Florida voters are asked to extend to commercial and industrial properties a renewable-energy tax break that residential property owners already enjoy. The broadly supported measure would exempt for 20 years the assessed value of solar and renewable-energy devices installed on businesses and industrial properties. [Orlando Weekly]

Solar field in Florida. Photo by Global Panorama via Flickr

Solar field in Florida. Photo by Global Panorama via Flickr

¶ Vermont gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne’s renewable energy position proposing to leave wind and solar siting questions up to the local community lost him a powerful endorsement. Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org is no longer endorsing him, and has given his endorsement to Sue Minter instead. [WCAX]

¶ Entering into a 37-year agreement with Dominion Virginia Power, the Navy announced plans for a 21 MW DC solar facility in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Following on the heels of a 10-year contract for 25 MW DC for Naval Station Norfolk, the new solar facility will be constructed on Naval Air Station Oceana. [CleanTechnica]

DC Solar facilities promote enhanced energy security and environmental sustainability. Credit: US Navy Photo by Clark Pierce / Released.

DC Solar facilities promote enhanced energy security and environmental sustainability. Credit: US Navy Photo by Clark Pierce / Released.

¶ Georgia Power has been granted permission from the state’s pubic service commission to spend as much as $99 million on preliminary site work and licensing for a nuclear power plant in the southwest corner of the state. The spending was approved for a 7,000-acre site in rural Stewart County on the Chattahoochee River. [Nuclear Street]

 


August 1 Energy News

August 1, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “How the campaign against South Australian windfarms backfired” • A concerted media campaign to blame renewable power for high energy prices in South Australia went bust. The Environment and Energy Minister, who had once argued there was a “strong moral case for coal,” said such blame is not accurate. [The Guardian]

Hallett Wind Farm, South Australia. Photo by Ian Sutton. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Hallett Wind Farm, South Australia. Photo by Ian Sutton.
CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ “China-UK ‘Golden Era’ cannot afford to be delayed” • Britain’s decision to delay the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant program over security concerns not only draws questions from the international community about its openness towards foreign investment, but also adds uncertainties to the “Golden Era” of China-UK ties. [Xinhua]

World:

¶ The global battle against climate change passed a historic turning point, according to senior economists. China, the world’s biggest polluter, more than tripled its coal use from 2000 to 2013, emitting billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide. But its coal consumption peaked in 2014, much earlier than expected, and began falling. [Climate Central]

Pollution in the Henan Province, China. Credit: V.T. Polywoda / flickr.

Pollution in the Henan Province, China. Credit: V.T. Polywoda / flickr.

¶ In recent months, there have been a number of inaccurate media stories linking high electricity prices in South Australia with the state’s high proportion of wind and solar generation. However, a Climate Council report reveals that electricity price spikes in South Australia have reduced as renewable energy grows. [RenewEconomy]

¶ KCI The Engineers has completed the basic design of an offshore switchyard for Belgian transmission system operator Elia to combine and bring onshore electricity from several wind farms off Belgium’s coast. Currently North Sea wind farms are connected individually to onshore grids, but the new design changes this. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm. Elia image.

Offshore wind farm. Elia image.

¶ A 10-MW community solar farm planned for the regional Victoria’s city of Wangaratta could soon double in size, after a strong show of interest in the council supported project from both businesses and investors. The larger the solar farm is thought likely to attract from potential investors and power off-take partners. [One Step off the Grid]

¶ Poland, a country where hard coal and lignite power plants currently generate about 85% of the power, has passed a law that stymies a wind power expansion and is now mulling draft legislation that will help boost investments in new coal capacity. The eastern European country cited energy security reasons. [POWER magazine]

The lignite-fired Bełchatów Power Station. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Morgre.

The lignite-fired Bełchatów Power Station.
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Morgre.

¶ As much as 728 MW of solar energy has been synchronised with the grid in India’s Telangana state, surpassing the 5% target given by the central government. This is more than 10% of the 7,000 MW peak demand recorded in the state this fiscal so far. Telangana expects another 1,500 MW power by March next. [Deccan Chronicle]

¶ Global renewable energy production increased by 2.6% between 2013 and 2014, and reached a share of 13.8% in total primary energy supply, the International Energy Agency said last week. Annual growth rates in 1990 to 2014 have been especially strong for PV and wind power, at 46.2% and 24.3% respectively. [SeeNews Renewables]

2014 fuel shares in world total primary energy supply. Source: IEA

2014 fuel shares in world total primary energy supply. Source: IEA.

¶ British Prime Minister Theresa May was concerned about the security implications of a planned Chinese investment in the new Hinkley Point nuclear plant, and intervened personally to delay the project, according to sources. China General Nuclear Power Corp was set to hold a 33% stake in the Hinkley Point project. [The Japan News]

US:

¶ A desalination project proposed for California’s coast would draw water from one of the world’s deepest submarine canyons, making it potentially less harmful to ocean life. The Deep Water Desal facility would require substantially less energy to operate than typical desalination plants and use renewable energy sources. [Gizmag]

Topography of Monterey Canyon, the deepest submarine canyon on the west coast of North America.

Topography of Monterey Canyon, the deepest
submarine canyon on the west coast of North America.

¶ The Massachusetts legislature has passed a compromise energy bill and sent it to the governor. The bill would require utilities to solicit long-term contracts with offshore wind farm developers for at least 1,600 MW in the next 10 years and encourage delivery of larger supplies of Canadian hydropower and other renewables. [Odessa American]

¶ New Mexico’s solar energy developers say their industry is finally hitting its stride as thousands of new residential and commercial customers opt to go solar, and more utilities nationwide turn to the sun for electric generation. Plunging prices are driving the market for solar systems bringing waves customers. [Albuquerque Journal]

A 1-MW array sits atop the new Winrock Mall. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal)

A 1-MW array sits atop the new Winrock Mall.
Photo by Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal.

¶ The fate of upstate New York’s nuclear power plants could be decided today. The state’s Public Service Commission will vote on a massive nuclear power subsidy program that several plant owners say they need to survive and what anti-nuclear forces call a wasteful investment in a dangerous power source. [WRVO Public Media]

¶ Karenna Gore, daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, rejected a plea deal and now faces charges after being arrested for trespassing during a protest in June at Spectra Energy’s West Roxbury natural gas pipeline. Gore and seven others protested by lying down in a trench, disrupting the work. [People Magazine]


July 31 Energy News

July 31, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The American Psychological Association links air pollution to brain disorders and diminished cognitive abilities in a report that links air pollution to increased depression, educational troubles for children, and degenerative problems. “Now, the evidence is mounting that dirty air is bad for your brain as well,” it says. [CleanTechnica]

Neural Connections of the Brain via Flickr CC.

Neural Connections of the Brain via Flickr CC.

¶ Scientists may underestimate how quickly plants can change location in response to climate change, a study from the University of British Columbia says. The comfort zones of many plants and trees are easing north or into higher elevations, but the speed with which they move is being driven by evolutionary responses. [Windsor Star]

World:

¶ A study suggests that households in Pakistan waste 25% of their electricity due to inefficient appliances, contributing to the energy-crisis in Pakistan. It criticizes the dominant narrative on the energy crisis, that nothing can be done about electricity shortages unless the government installs more capacity. [Daily Times]

Pakistani households waste 25% of their electric supply.

Pakistani households waste 25% of their electric supply.

¶ Growing numbers of companies in the UAE are now starting to cater to businesses of all shapes and sizes who are looking to become a little greener. Switching to solar power can do more than helping businesses cut expenses and carbon footprints. It can also boost their reputation and earn the trust of the people around them. [Emirates 24|7]

¶ Taipei is building its first solar power plant using ground mounted solar panels at site that used to be a landfill. The project is part of the capital’s efforts to expand the use of renewable energy. The solar plant is expected to be completed by the end of this year and is to be able to generate up to 2 million kWh per year. [Taipei Times]

Taipei's Muzha Refuse Incineration Plant. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons. 

Taipei’s Muzha Refuse Incineration Plant.
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ In Ghana, mining companies will soon be using renewable energy sources to meet their energy needs as part a move to reduce burden on the national grid and reduce their cost of operation. The Energy Commission has impressed on mining companies to adopt renewable energy and reduce the pressure on the national grid. [GhanaWeb]

¶ Progress continues on the $500 million Coopers Gap wind farm near Kingaroy, Queensland, with the release of terms of reference for its environmental impact statement. AGL Energy Ltd proposes to build and operate a 115-turbine wind farm of 350 MW total capacity, enough to power about 180,000 households. [Toowoomba Chronicle]

Landscape at Kingaroy, Queensland. Photo by Rossrs, who released it in to the public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Landscape at Kingaroy, Queensland. Photo by Rossrs,
released by the author into the public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Eleven operators of Japanese nuclear power plants expect to spend more than ¥3 trillion ($32 billion) to safeguard their facilities, revealing the continuing skyrocketing costs. The overall costs will likely grow even further as many companies have not yet accounted for expenses to build centers to deal with a terrorist attack. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Wind power is growing fast in Iowa. Just as Alliant Energy announced a $1 billion, 500-MW expansion of its 200-MW Whispering Willow Wind Farm in north-central Iowa, MidAmerican Energy announced that it had settled a rate agreement that would allow its Wind XI project, a $3.6 billion, 2,000-MW wind farm, to proceed. [TakePart]

Alliant Energy leases land from farmers for its 200-MW Whispering Willow Wind Farm. Alliant Energy photo.

Alliant Energy leases land from farmers for its
200-MW Whispering Willow Wind Farm. Alliant Energy photo.

¶ Sonoma Clean Power, which provides electricity for 88% of homes and businesses in Sonoma County, California, signed its first long-term in-state contract for wind power. The 20-year deal with Golden Hills North Wind Energy Center will buy power generated by wind turbines in the Altamont Pass area of Alameda County. [Sonoma Valley Sun]

¶ Indiana clean energy advocates launched a statewide ad campaign to compel Indiana-Michigan Power to close the coal-fired Rockport plant, the largest in the state, unveiling a new ad campaign to compel I&M to shut the plant down. The power company says it is already on track to convert to cleaner energy. [Indiana Public Media]

 


July 30 Energy News

July 30, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Michael Liebreich Slams Extremely Expensive Hinkley Point C” • The £18 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant would be guaranteed payments equal to twice the current wholesale price of electricity (i.e., what it would get without subsidy) for 35 years! And why? For nonsensical political reasons. [CleanTechnica]

Lazard's LCOE chart. Note that the guaranteed price of £92.50 ($122.40) per kWh offered to Hinkley Point C falls in the middle of the LCOE for nuclear power presented in that chart.

Lazard’s LCOE chart. The guaranteed price of £92.50 ($122.40) per MWh offered to Hinkley Point C is well above costs for solar power.

¶ “Climate change video directed by James Cameron heats up the
DNC” • At the convention, Sigourney Weaver introduced a video directed by James Cameron that contrasts opposing views of on climate change. Titled “Not Reality TV,” the video shows how climate change affects everything from hurricanes to drought. [Inhabitat]

Science and Technology:

¶ Wood buildings sequester carbon, instead of burning it up in production, as steel and concrete do. A video from the Oregon Forest Resources Institute makes the case for increased use of wood in building construction, even in multi-level highrises. The use of wood is increasing in many types of commercial projects. [CleanTechnica]

Wood building store carbon units.

Wood buildings sequester carbon.

World:

¶ Plastic bag use has plummeted in England since the introduction of a 5p charge last year. In the six months after the levy was brought in last October, 640 million plastic bags were used in seven major supermarkets in England, it says. In 2014, the waste reduction charity Wrap estimated the same supermarkets had used 7.64 billion bags. [BBC]

¶ Portugal authorized processing licenses for solar projects totaling more than 2,000 MW. Solar projects totaling 180 MW have been authorized under the existing market system in the nation’s southern region, and an additional 68 licenses for solar projects are being processed, which total more than 2 GW of potential. [CleanTechnica]

Old buildings in Porto, Portugal via Shutterstock.

Old buildings in Porto, Portugal via Shutterstock.

¶ Indian downstream oil companies are the latest to express interest in developing large-scale solar power projects to meet electricity demand. Two of the leading oil refining companies in India, Indian Oil Corp and Oil India, are planning to set up 1 GW of solar capacity in state of Madhya Pradesh to power their operations. [CleanTechies]

¶ Some of the world’s biggest car makers including Vauxhall, BMW, VW and Audi are investigating their paint supply chains after the Guardian linked their suppliers to illegal mines in India where child labor and debt bondage are widespread. Children as young as 10 work at mines for mica, a mineral for shimmery car paint. [The Guardian]

Seven-year-old Karulal works with his father in a mica mine. Photograph: Peter Bengtsen

Seven-year-old Karulal works with his father in a mica mine. Photograph: Peter Bengtsen

¶ Six power plants in the Indian state of Maharashtra have shut down because they produced no power for at least a year. Operations were not viable at one. A couple of power producers had to close because of lack of supplies of coal and gas. The biggest among them all, at 1,380 MW capacity, lacked sufficient water. [The Indian Express]

¶ In 2015 renewable energy provided 25% of the UK’s electricity, up from 20% the previous year. Once considered the lifeblood of this country, coal is now marginally behind gas as the dominant source of electric energy in the UK, with renewable energy sources filling the gap it leaves behind. [Kensington Chelsea & Westminster Today]

Wind farm in the UK.

Wind farm in the UK.

US:

¶ A group of 67 scientists, including James Hansen, Ken Calderia, Mark Jacobson, Michael Oppenheimer, Susan Solomon, and Stuart Pimm, have penned an open letter to the US Department of the Interior calling on the government to end coal leasing on public lands in an effort to protect the climate, public health, and biodiversity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne on Friday put out a new wind-turbine siting policy statement. “If a town says no to a large industrial wind project I would use all the power of the governor’s office to ensure that is the end of the project,” Dunne said in his statement. “I will ensure that no means no.” [Seven Days]

Wind Farm in Vermont. Seven Days file photo.

Wind Farm in Vermont. Seven Days file photo.

¶ Profits at two of the biggest oil firms have been hit by the falling price of crude. Exxon Mobil saw its profit fall 59% to $1.7 billion from $4 billion in the second quarter last year. Meanwhile Chevron posted its largest quarterly loss since 2001, $1.5 billion in the second quarter, compared with a $571 million profit last year. [BBC]

¶ Since moving to its new location in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2015, Duke Energy’s Renewable Control Center has seen the number of wind and solar plants it monitors grow to over 3,500 MW. The center monitors and optimizes wind and solar power plants, as well as providing operations and maintenance services. [CleanTechnica]

Duke Energy Renewables Control Center.

Duke Energy Renewables Control Center.

¶ A key New York state board is set to consider a pricey subsidy for nuclear power plants that could amount to several billion dollars over the next 12 years. The Public Service Commission is scheduled to take up a clean-energy plan on Monday. It would require utilities to buy power from the nuclear plants at a premium. [Poughkeepsie Journal]


July 29 Energy News

July 29, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Port Augusta is at centre of our renewable transition – now isn’t the time to turn back” • Much of the recent commentary around renewable energy in South Australia has suggested we need to slam the brakes on new renewable projects, especially wind farms. For many reasons, this is the wrong response. [RenewEconomy]

Port Augusta. Source: Wikipedia

Port Augusta. Source: Wikipedia.

¶ “Nuclear Power Advocates Claim Cheap Renewable Energy Is A Bad Thing” • In the real world, the unexpectedly rapid drop in the price of renewable power and batteries is a doubly miraculous game-changer that is already cutting greenhouse gas emissions globally. But nuclear power advocates say it is too cheap. [ThinkProgress]

¶ “NY’s historic bailout of nuke plants explained: Why ratepayers could pony up $7 billion” • New York energy regulators are poised to approve the nation’s first clean-air subsidies for nuclear plants, a controversial move that would guarantee about $7 billion in new revenue to three Upstate nukes threatening to close. [Syracuse.com]

The Nine Mile Point plant in Oswego County. Constellation Energy photo.

The Nine Mile Point plant in Oswego County. Constellation Energy photo.

World:

¶ Plans to build the first new UK nuclear plant in 20 years were unexpectedly delayed when the UK’s government put a final decision off until the early autumn. EDF, which is financing most of the £18-billion Hinkley Point project, approved the funding. But the UK’s government said it needed to review the project. [BBC]

¶ The International Energy Agency estimates that 625-million sub-Saharan Africans are without power. The World Bank says 25 of their countries are in energy crisis with poor reliability and high costs. But in just five years, 92 independent power producers got contracts with a combined nameplate capacity of 6,327 MW in South Africa. [BDlive]

Wind turbines in Africa. Picture: Sunday Times.

Wind turbines in Africa. Picture: Sunday Times.

¶ The world’s 47 largest investor-owned fossil fuel and cement producers have been formally accused of human rights abuses. This week, the fossil fuel and cement producers named in the complaint were sent their copies of it by the Philippines Commission on Human Rights. They have 45 days to respond. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Australian renewables advocates spent much of the last week defending wind and solar from the attacks of power industry bodies and media reports blaming intermittent renewables on South Australian electricity prices. Now, however, now federal government’s minister agrees that the problems were not caused by wind and solar. [PV-Tech]

Rooftop solar system in Australia. Flickr: Michael Coghlan

Rooftop solar system in Australia. Flickr: Michael Coghlan.

¶ According to the latest figures from a new report published by information and analysis company IHS Markit, the global energy storage market is expected to double in 2016, growing from 1.4 GWh to 2.9 GWh by the end of the year. After that, the storage market will continue its rapid growth, reaching 21 GWh by 2025. [CleanTechnica]

¶ US independent power producer Sonnedix has reached commercial operation on an 86-MW solar PV plant in South Africa, after only 17 months of construction. The plant was developed in collaboration with Mulilo Renewable Energy and Ixowave Women in Power. Construction was assumed by juwi Renewable Energies. [PV-Tech]

The 125 hectare Prieska Solar Plant. Image: Sonnedix

The 125 hectare Prieska Solar Plant. Image: Sonnedix.

¶ Most of the nuclear fuel inside the No 2 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi apparently did not melt through the pressure vessel as previously believed, research using muon tomography has revealed. The assessment was made based on a study that used muons, elementary particles that travel from outer space, for imaging. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ NV Energy yesterday is asking for the blessing of the Nevada Public Utilities Commission’s to grandfather net metering for solar customers in the state for 20 years. The Nevada Supreme Court will decide soon on placing a referendum to return to the far more favorable net metering on the ballot in November. [SeeNews Renewables]

Rooftop solar system in Nevada. Author: Pacific Southwest Region. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Rooftop solar system in Nevada. Author: Pacific Southwest Region. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

¶ The Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund, drawing from cash paid to the state by Yankee owner Entergy, has given $400,000 to the Windham Regional Commission to develop the program over the next several months. Officials say grants will be geared toward small-scale renewable projects in the county. [vtdigger.org]

¶ The Georgia Public Service Commission okayed Georgia Power’s long-range Integrated Resource Plan, under which it would add 1,600 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2021. As part of the plan, the Atlanta-based utility will procure 1,200 MW of renewables, with a limit for wind power to be procured is set at 300 MW. [SeeNews Renewables]

Onshore wind farm. Featured Image: TuTheLens/ Shutterstock.com

Onshore wind farm. Featured Image: TuTheLens/ Shutterstock.com.

¶ A report published by the DOE found that with continued technological advances, innovative market mechanisms, and a focus on environmental stability, the country’s hydropower capacity could grow from its current 101 GW to nearly 150 GW of combined electricity generation and storage capacity by 2050. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Vermont Public Service Board issued interim noise standards for commercial and small-scale wind projects, in accord with legislation that directed the Public Service Board to issue interim rules. For commercial wind projects the board set a limit of 45 decibels outside of a building and 30 decibels on the inside. [Vermont Public Radio]

 


July 28 Energy News

July 28, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ The European summer heat wave of 2003 has been a focal point for scientists studying whether and how human-caused climate change influences extreme weather events. It was the first weather event to be the subject of an attribution study. A new study examines the numbers of fatalities attributable to climate change. [CleanTechnica]

Rhein at Dettenheim during 2003 heat wave. Photo by BlueBreezeWiki. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

The River Rhine at Dettenheim during the 2003 heat wave.
Photo by BlueBreezeWiki. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ China has installed 22 GW of grid-connected solar PV in the first half of 2016. According to PV-Tech, China’s National Energy Administration announced at an industry event in Beijing that the country had logged 22 GW of grid-connected solar PV in the first half of the year, with 11.3 GW in June alone. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Over the past few days, three separate announcements have been made about Australian wind projects moving forward with development. This is welcome news for a country which has for so long seen renewable energy be the primary focus of disinformation and propaganda at the highest political levels. [CleanTechnica]

Gullen Wind Farm

Gullen Wind Farm

¶ Chinese company TBEA SunOasis Co is to build a two-stage 1-GW solar power plant in Egypt under a memorandum of understanding. The deal also envisages the establishment of PV cell manufacturing capacity in Egypt. The Ministry of International Cooperation will back the feasibility study and construction stages. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The European Commission said it considers France’s decision to support a pilot tidal energy plant in the English Channel with state aid to be in line with the bloc’s rules. France plans to support the construction of the Normandie Energie PiloTe HYDrolien tidal energy pilot farm in a current called the Raz Blanchard. [Sputnik International]

Submarine turbine awaiting installation. © AFP 2016 / Fred Tanneau

Submarine turbine awaiting installation. © AFP 2016 / Fred Tanneau

¶ Energy giant EDF will make its long-awaited final investment decision on the planned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, ending doubts over the £18 billion project. The French firm’s board is meeting in Paris and is expected to give the go-ahead for the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK for a generation. [The Guardian]

¶ A general trend has been observed in energy markets, and this is especially noteworthy in the UK and US. It is the downslide of coal energy and the rise of renewables. Of particular note, solar PV electricity generation surpassed coal-based electricity production for the first time in the UK during May 2016. [CleanTechnica]

New Rooftop solar in the UK. Photo by Tom Chance (some rights reserved)

New Rooftop solar in the UK. Photo by Tom Chance (some rights reserved)

¶ TEPCO, operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said first-quarter operating profit plummeted 37% as sales declined amid faltering demand and new entrants into Japan’s power market. Japan liberalized its retail power market in April, allowing consumers to choose their electricity providers for the first time. [Bloomberg]

¶ The Rockefeller Brothers fund has emerged as an investor in an African project of Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream Renewable Power. The fund, set up by the sons of John D Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, was part of a $117.5 million investment in a Mainstream joint venture with private equity firm Actis in Africa. [Irish Independent]

Mainstream wants to build wind farms in Africa

Mainstream wants to build wind farms in Africa

US:

¶ The Democrats adopted their party platform at their national convention. The energy and environment section is titled “Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice.” It begins with this statement: “Climate change is an urgent threat and the defining challenge of our time.” [Global Warming]

¶ The team that evaluates responses to New England’s Clean Energy Request for Proposals, targeting 5,000 GWh, will need more time to conclude the process due to the complexity of the analysis and the volume of bids. The evaluation phase was issued in November, 2015, and was initially scheduled to end on July 26. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm. Author: Samir Luther. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Wind farm. Photo by Samir Luther.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

¶ Amid a blistering heat wave and some strong weather, electricity prices in New York soared this past week. According to Platts, New York ISO real-time prices went above $800/MWh (80¢/kWh) on Monday afternoon, and Zone A West real-time prices soared in to more than $1,500/MWh ($1.50/kWh). [Utility Dive]

¶ The Energy Information Administration now provides hourly electricity operating data, including actual and forecast demand, net generation, and the power flowing between electric systems. EIA’s US Electric System Operating Data tool provides nearly real-time demand data, plus analysis and visualizations for the US electric grid. [US EIA]

US EIA demand and supply tool.

US EIA demand and supply tool.

¶ Minnesota Power, a division of US energy company Allete Inc, intends to add roughly 600 MW of wind and solar power capacity to its fleet following a request by state regulators. The company has released a Request for Proposals targeting up to 300 MW of new wind power capacity. Proposals are due by September 7, 2016. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Alliant Energy Corp, based in Madison, Wisconsin, says it will invest $1 billion into building more wind power in Iowa over the next five years. Alliant is seeking approval to expand its Whispering Willow Wind Farm in Franklin County, in north-central Iowa, and it may develop wind farms in other parts of Iowa, as well. [Madison.com]

 


July 27 Energy News

July 27, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “An industrial strategy for energy” • Even the UK’s National Audit Office acknowledges that the only remaining argument in favor of the ‘cathedral within a cathedral’ at Hinkley is that nuclear power gives the UK what is known as baseload power. Britain should abandon Hinkley Point and invest in storage. [Open Democracy]

Hinkley Point nuclear power station. By Di Richard Baker.

Hinkley Point nuclear power station. By Di Richard Baker.

¶ “South Australia’s ‘absurd’ electricity prices: renewables are not to
blame” • Reading many newspapers over the past few weeks you’d think South Australia had become a horrible case study in the dangers of too much renewable energy. Those articles missed the fact that SA power prices doubled as gas prices doubled. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ A new study suggests that the increasing acidification of the oceans is likely to interfere with the ability of fish to reproduce. Researchers found that elevated levels of CO2, which make the waters more acidic, saw significantly lower levels of spawning. The scientists say the changes are “subtle but ecologically important.” [BBC]

Researchers say that the Ocellated Wrasse is likely to be impacted by the increasing acidity of the oceans. Natascia Tamburello.

Researchers say that the Ocellated Wrasse is likely to be
impacted by the increasing acidity of the oceans. Natascia Tamburello.

¶ If anthropogenic global warming is to be limited to under 2° Celsius (3.6° Fahrenheit) then technology will need to be developed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, in addition to completely ceasing greenhouse gas emissions by 2085, according to a study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Stadtwerke Muenchen, Germany’s biggest municipal utility, plans to expand its presence in the booming offshore wind sector, its CEO said, in a bid to replace loss-making gas and power plants it says will cease to exist at some point. Despite its small size, SWM has already spent about €3 billion ($3.3 billion) on renewables. [Reuters]

A ship sails past the 90-MW Barrow offshore wind farm. Reuters / David Moir

A ship sails past the 90-MW Barrow offshore wind farm. Reuters / David Moir

¶ The City of Cape Town is blasting Eskom’s move to stop signing power purchase agreements with private producers after the current round is finalized. The mayor of Cape Town says the city demands that the energy minister allow the city to procure renewable energy from independent power producers. [ITWeb]

¶ Senvion has signed a deal to supply two MM92 turbines to developer EDL for an offgrid project in the Australian outback. The German outfit said the Coober Pedy hybrid micro-grid project in the south of the country will feature 2-MW turbines, along with a combination of solar and battery storage to reduce reliance on diesel fuel. [reNews]

MM92 turbines (Senvion)

MM92 turbines (Senvion)

¶ According to the UN’s 2016 New and Renewable Energy Investment Trend Report on July 25, the installed capacity of new and renewable energy-powered power plants newly built in the world last year grew 25.5% to 118 GW from the previous year. This volume accounted for 53.6% of all new power generation. [BusinessKorea]

¶ Ukraine’s looking toward the sun to put a radioactive wasteland back into business. Thirty years after atomic fallout from the Chernobyl meltdown rendered an area the size of Luxembourg uninhabitable for centuries, Ukraine is seeking investors to develop solar power near the defunct Soviet reactors. [Livemint]

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant seen from Ukraine’s abandoned town of Pripyat. Photo: Reuters

Containment structures on the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant,
seen from Ukraine’s abandoned town of Pripyat. Photo: Reuters

¶ South Australia’s state government has announced plans for a new clean energy auction, saying it intends to target “dispatchable” renewable energy sources, including battery storage, for around 25% of the government’s electricity needs. There is still no word on how the government will source the other 75%. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Southeast Asia’s leading wind energy developer, The Blue Circle, has received an Investment Certificate from the Vietnamese authorities for its 40-MW Dam Nai project, in Ninh Thuan province, South Vietnam. The site of 933 hectares has a potential for a total capacity installed of 70 to 100 MW. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

Vietnamese countryside.

Vietnamese countryside.

¶ Electricite de France SA approved plans for a €4 billion ($4.4 billion) share sale, two days before its board meets to make a final investment decision on its British nuclear-power plant project. The decision may hinge on the votes of independent board members as three of the EDF’s labor unions call to delay development. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ Nearly 15,000 solar panels soaking up the sun in Osceola County are now providing clean, renewable energy to Duke Energy customers in Florida. The new Duke Energy owned and operated Osceola Solar Facility is about the size of 13 football fields and produces nearly 4 MW of carbon-free energy. [Florida Trend]

Osceola Solar Facility. Duke Energy Photo.

Osceola Solar Facility. Duke Energy Photo.

¶ A new lawsuit filed against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by a coalition of four environmental groups alleges that the new rules for capacity resources approved last year are going to raise utility costs for consumers and are “unduly” burdensome to renewable energy, according to recent reports. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The US reached 74,821 MW installed wind power capacity by mid-2016 and there are now more than 18,200 MW of wind farms under construction or in advanced stages of development. The American Wind Energy Association said activity approached record levels in the second quarter with record low wind costs. [SeeNews Renewables]

 


July 26 Energy News

July 26, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Could Giant Suction Cups Turn Lake Erie Into a Regional Energy
Hub?” • When a 87-year-old Norwegian billionaire chatted in the Canary Islands with a 65-year-old nuclear engineer whose attention had turned to renewables, the conversation turned to a goal of getting a small offshore wind farm running in Lake Erie. [Pacific Standard]

Mono Buckets awaiting installation for the Dogger Bank wind farm in the North Sea off Yorkshire, England. Photo: Universal Foundation.

Mono Buckets awaiting installation for the Dogger Bank wind farm
in the North Sea off Yorkshire, England. Photo: Universal Foundation.

¶ “A hefty nuclear subsidy” • In coming weeks, New York’s Public Service Commission will consider a clean energy plan that envisions a laudable goal: to derive half of the state’s electricity from clean, renewable sources. It also includes what can be fairly described as a massive subsidy for nuclear power plants. [Albany Times Union]

¶ “Clean Energy Is Booming in Historically Red States – and It’s Splitting Conservatives Apart” • Policy fights pitt right-wing grassroots activists against well-funded conservative advocacy groups aligned with fossil fuel producers and power utilities. Fossil fuels have the upper hand for now, but the situation may be shifting. [AlterNet]

Wind power costs and capacity.

Wind power costs and capacity.

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change is leaving migratory birds with nowhere to go. A study showed that the Arctic region is rapidly becoming unsuitable for shorebird breeding as global warming heightens. Published in the journal Global Change Biology, it said migratory bird breeding in the Arctic could be wiped out by the year 2070. [Nature World News]

¶ Sri Lanka’s prime minister has said mangroves’ ability to absorb carbon swiftly make the forests vital for fighting climate change. As well as storing carbon, the forests provide habitat for fish and protect communities from tsunamis and cyclones. His comments come on the first anniversary of a project to protect all of nation’s mangroves. [BBC]

The economic value of ecosystem services provided by mangroves is estimated to be $194,000 (£148,000) per hectare. Seacology.

The economic value of ecosystem services provided by mangroves
is estimated to be $194,000 (£148,000) per hectare. Seacology.

World:

¶ The Mayor of London has announced that the city is moving to secure a license to provide clean electricity to power underground stations and other facilities. London would be UK’s first local authority to buy energy from small, low and zero carbon energy generators and sell it to help meet electricity needs. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ More than a year after it first took to the skies, Solar Impulse 2 has completed an epic around-the-world journey without burning a single drop of fuel. The revolutionary single-seat solar-powered plane touched down Tuesday morning in Abu Dhabi, at the same airport from which it took off back in March 2015. [Huffington Post]

Completing a dream: the first Round-the-World solar flight in history. Solar Impulse blog.

Completing a dream: the first Round-the-
World solar flight in history. Solar Impulse blog.

¶ Almost one-third of jobs in the UK solar power sector have been lost in the past year and a further 30% of businesses expect to cut staff in the next 12 months, according to a survey by the Solar Trade Association and PwC. The drop follows a year in which deployment in domestic solar has fallen 80% under the feed-in tariff. [reNews]

¶ The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will help finance deployment of a 10-MW solar park that will be co-located with an existing wind park in New South Wales. ARENA is contributing AUS $9.9 million for a $26 million solar plant to be built close to the 165.5-MW Gullen Range wind park south of Crookwell town. [SeeNews Renewables]

Co-location of solar and wind. Author: Gerry Machen. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

Co-location of solar and wind. Author: Gerry Machen.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

¶ A contract worth €40 million was inked with Italian and Swiss investors for building Iran’s biggest solar power plant. The solar power house with a production capacity of 30 MW will be designed, built and implemented in North Khorasan Province. This follows other agreements with Germany for solar power plants. [Mehr News Agency]

¶ The Celtic Interconnector, a roughly 700-MW link between France and Ireland to increase competition and support the growth of renewables, is entering the Initial Design and Pre-Consultation phase. EirGrid Plc and RTE completed feasibility studies for the €1-billion project, and they agreed to move to the next phase. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind turbine near the coast of Ireland. Author: Harry Pears. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Wind turbine near the coast of Ireland. Author: Harry Pears.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

US:

¶ Six weeks after Trump appeared before petroleum producers in North Dakota and gave a speech tailor-made to win their support, the fossil fuel industry seems unexcited about responding. Of the $63.5 million Trump and the Super PACS raised in June, about $580,000 came from people connected to the fossil fuel industry. [InsideClimate News‎]

¶ In search of low-cost, fixed-rate electricity, great deals are swaying Fortune 500 companies and other major players to commit to wind power. Signing contracts for over 2,000 MW of electricity, big brands, high-tech companies, and other non-utility customers took up 52% of new wind energy generating capacity in 2015. [Planetsave.com]

Great wind energy deals are swaying major players. Credit: Energy.gov via AWEA.org.

Great wind energy deals are swaying major players.
Credit: Energy.gov via AWEA.org.

¶ The nation’s capital now has the fifth-most-aggressive RPS policy in the nation. As part of the new program the city plans to install solar PV on 100,000 homes where low-income families live. The city’s mayor signed legislation to require the utility to get 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2032. [pv magazine]

¶ In Ohio, Cuyahoga County’s executive officer will propose a plan for the county to purchase wind and solar power. In 2018, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, or LEED-CO, will have completed Ohio’s first offshore wind farm, 6 turbines off the coast of Cleveland. The county will take a 9% share of the power. [ideastream]


July 25 Energy News

July 25, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Why fossil fuel industry needs South Australia ‘experiment’ to fail” • Price spikes, such as what recently happened in South Australia, used to be an important part of the business model for coal and gas generators. With the advent of renewable power, the spikes have all but gone away, so when one comes, they blame renewables. [RenewEconomy]

Wind turbines in South Australia. Photo by Fairv8. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in South Australia.
Photo by Fairv8. CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Profits at Bord na Móna, a company originally formed to harvest Irish peat for fuel, were dented as the group took a €23.6 million impairment charge against the carrying value of its two thermal power stations at Edenderry. The company will become an alternative energy provider, centered on biomass, wind and solar power. [Irish Times]

¶ The UK’s Marine Management Organisation granted approval for deployment and operation of a 30-MW tidal project off the Isle of Wight. The team believes that tidal power is set to surge and this project could set a precedent for the future. But can it compete with other more common renewable energy generation methods? [Power Technology]

Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight

Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight.

¶ Pakistan received a major boost in its endeavor to expand renewable energy infrastructure as Canada agreed to set up large-scale solar power projects in one of the country’s provinces. The Canadian government reportedly signed an agreement with the government of Balochistan to set up 1 GW solar power capacity in the province. [PlanetSave.com]

¶ A sharp fall in solar module prices will help renewable energy producers, who have won solar projects at aggressive tariffs but are yet to procure equipment or start construction, leading to higher margins, according to company executives and analysts. Module prices have already declined by as much as 10% in the first half of 2016. [Livemint]

Costs of photovoltaic modules have been declining because of oversupply in China. Photo: Bloomberg

Costs of photovoltaic modules have been declining
because of oversupply in China. Photo: Bloomberg.

¶ A committee of MPs has called on the UK government to clarify support for the Scottish renewables industry following a “disproportionate” impact of cuts on the sector. The Scottish Affairs Committee warned that recent changes in government policy have created uncertainty that may threaten the industry’s growth prospects. [Scottish Housing News]

¶ According to The National, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority is requesting proposals for an early-stage feasibility study on producing electricity from geothermal energy and in particular for its use in potential desalination. The move fits with Dubai’s aim to produce 75% of electricity from clean sources by 2050. [PlanetSave.com]

Dubai skyline. Image via Shutterstock.

Dubai skyline. Image via Shutterstock.

US:

¶ State officials say Minnesota should look at strengthening its renewable energy law. Minnesota is on track to meet a requirement of 25% renewable electricity generation by 2025. But that has not been enough to help reach another state goal, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. [Fergus Falls Daily Journal]

¶ Solana Beach could become the first city in San Diego County to create its own power company, with the goal of moving to 100% renewable energy. The city is searching for a company to provide a power system based completely on solar, wind, geothermal, or other renewable sources of electricity. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Parabolic trough solar thermal electric power plant at Kramer Junction, California. Photo by kjkolb. CC BY-SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons

Parabolic trough solar thermal electric power plant at Kramer
Junction, California. Photo by kjkolb. CC BY-SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ With four days of convention activities, energy consumption and emissions will rise around Philadelphia. To help offset this increased energy usage, WGL Energy Services, Inc has donated enough carbon offsets to cover the hotel stays of all 28,000 convention attendees for all four days of the Democratic event. [Stockhouse]

¶ Members of Ozarks Electric Cooperative in Arkansas can now buy solar power without installing a panel. Ozarks Electric started the area’s first utility-owned solar farm on 5 acres just outside Springdale. The 4,080-panel array has a capacity of 1 MW. Most of Arkansas’ electricity comes from gas, nuclear, and hydropower. [Northwest Arkansas News]


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