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

February 6, 2016

15,436 links to articles in 1345 regular daily posts 

§ The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report. It is a distressingly dull digest of information from the NRC, posted most weekdays and Saturdays, most recently on February 6. Latest information is that out of 100 US reactors listed by the NRC, 11 were at reduced output and 5 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week – 2/4/16: Tom and George are joined by guests Shavon Prophet and Steve Sapowski. They all talk more about a glacier that melted away in Bolivia, leaving the world’s highest ski resort without any snow. Solar photovoltaic roads will be built in France. Cheap oil is not getting in the way of building renewable infrastructure.

§ Video: Energy Week Extra – Greater Good Energy Solutions: Shavon Prophet and Steve Sapowski of Greater Good Energy Solutions join Tom and George to talk about solar thermal space heating and other odds and ends. Much of the heat for a home can come from the sun whenever it is shining, cutting fossil fuel use. You can be warm, save money, and save the planet all at the same time.

geoharvey is one of George Harvey’s Blogs.

February 7 Energy News

February 7, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Does shrinking ice in the Arctic lead to worse snow storms along the East Coast? It’s very possible says leading Arctic researcher Judah Cohen. In Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston, at least five of the top 10 snow storms on record have occurred since 1990. [Washington Post]

September Arctic sea extent compared to 1981-2000 average portrayed by yellow line (NASA)

September Arctic sea extent compared to 1981-2000 average portrayed by yellow line (NASA)

¶ The ice cover across the Arctic hit a new low throughout January. The Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center tracked the lowest ice extent ever for January. The record-low ice extent was driven by unusually high air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean – more than 6° C (10.8° F) above average. [Nunatsiaq News]

World:

¶ The Ugandan company Kiira Motors recently showed off what it claims to be the first solar-powered bus in Africa – the Kayoola prototype solar-electric bus – in the capital city of Kampala, according to recent reports. The company is currently looking for backers in order to mass manufacture the prototype. [CleanTechnica]

Electric bus. Image Credit: Kiira Motors

Electric bus. Image Credit: Kiira Motors

¶ India is eyeing Australia’s clout in Liquefied Natural Gas, renewable energy expertise, and clean coal technology to grow its economy. The third India-Australia Energy Security Dialogue seeks to build a stronger relationship as well as strengthen the institutional framework between the two countries. [PrameyaNews7]

¶ Tasmanian Resources Minister Paul Harriss is pushing investment in biomass energy generation, as low hydro dam levels combine with the Bass Strait power cable cut to put pressure on state industries. He said burning forestry and agricultural waste for electricity should be a central renewable energy strategy. [ABC Online]

The Southwood sawmill in the Huon Valley was designed more than a decade ago to include a biomass plant. ABC

The Southwood sawmill in the Huon Valley was designed more than a decade ago to include a biomass plant. ABC

¶ The Indian government has transformed the country’s coal situation over a short time span, and not a single thermal power plant is now facing shortage of the fuel, according to Union minister Piyush Goyal. He said this while addressing the annual convention of Indore Management Association. [Times of India]

¶ Croatia is unlikely to go ahead with plans to build a new coal-fired thermal plant in the northern Adriatic. The environment minister said, “We need a new energy strategy in line with the European Union plans on boosting renewable energy and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Such plants don’t fit in.” [Reuters]

¶ Cuba’s electricity supply is still highly dependent on oil imports from neighboring Venezuela. But, like most Caribbean nations, Cuba has immense potential for energy generation from renewable alternatives, including solar energy, which can be utilized to meet domestic and small business needs. [Havana Times]

Solar system in Cuba. Photo: CIES

Solar system in Cuba. Photo: CIES

¶ Laos will soon have the region’s biggest and most advanced wind farm. It will be located on 8,000 rai (3,163 acres, 1,280 hectares) and supplying 600 MW of non-subsidised electricity. Valued at about Bt54 billion ($1.5 billion), it will use the latest wind turbine technology from General Electric and Vestas. [The Nation]

¶ In line with India’s Solar Energy Policy unveiled in 2012, the State government has now included buildings housing industries, government and quasi-government offices, including urban local bodies, in the list of institutions where an auxiliary solar-assisted water heating system must be installed. [The Hindu]

US:

¶ The US now has nearly 503 million barrels of commercial crude oil stockpiled, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. It’s the highest level of supply for this time of the year in at least 80 years. Certain key storage locations are now “bumping up against storage and logistical constraints.” [CNN]

US Oil Inventories. Source EIA

US Oil Inventories. Source EIA

¶ President Barack Obama said he will ask the Republican-led Congress to double spending on research and development into clean energy by 2020. But the request is unlikely to be fulfilled. GOP lawmakers scoff at the science behind climate change and dismiss Obama’s pleas to be dealt with the issue urgently. [The Denver Post]

¶ Radioactive material has leaked into the groundwater below the Indian Point nuclear plant north of New York City, prompting a state investigation and condemnation from governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo ordered an investigation into “alarming levels of radioactivity” found at three monitoring wells. [The Guardian]

The Indian Point energy center in Buchanan, New York. Photograph: Ricky Flores/AP

The Indian Point energy center in Buchanan, New York. Photograph: Ricky Flores/AP

¶ With an expansion of solar incentives in Massachusetts bottled up in committee and a battle over a comprehensive new state energy policy looming, the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund plans to launch a $25,000 ad campaign targeting the influence of the utilities in shaping the energy debate. [Lowell Sun]

¶ Illinois state regulators allow Peabody Energy to pledge it has adequate assets to pay for the estimated $92 million needed to reclaim three southern Illinois mines when they close. The Environmental Law and Policy Center says that arrangement puts Illinois taxpayers at risk should Peabody go bankrupt. [Peoria Public Radio]


February 6 Energy News

February 6, 2016

World:

¶ Aviva stadium, home of the Ireland rugby team, will be fully powered by renewable energy for the upcoming 2016 Six Nations tournament. The move is expected to save almost 2,500 tonnes of carbon emissions in 2016 alone. The stadium has teamed up with SSE Airtricity, who will supply green electricity and gas. [edie.net]

The move is expected to save almost 2,500 tonnes of carbon emissions in 2016 alone

The move is expected to save almost 2,500 tonnes of carbon emissions in 2016 alone

¶ Global energy efficiency investment will reach $5.8 trillion by the year 2030, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Authority. By 2030, yearly energy efficiency investment will total around $385 billion, the report says. The focus will be buildings, manufacturing, and transportation. [Sustainnovate]

¶ Danish energy giant DONG Energy released its 2015 financial results, reporting a 13% increase in operating profit over 2014 figures. DONG said the the increase was thanks primarily to “higher production from offshore wind.” The company’s Oil & Gas division had an impairment from low oil and gas prices. [CleanTechnica]

One type of geothermal system. 1 Wellheads, 2 Ground surface, 3 Generator, 4 Turbine, 5 Condenser, 6 Heat exchanger, 7 Pump. From Wikipedia

One type of geothermal system.
1 Wellheads, 2 Ground surface, 3 Generator, 4 Turbine, 5 Condenser, 6 Heat exchanger, 7 Pump. [Wikipedia]

¶ What will be the first geothermal power plant in Canada is under construction in Saskatchewan. The pilot plant for the project is set to total just 5 MW in capacity, but the potential is there for much more power, as the resource is a 40,000 square kilometer aquifer with a temperature of about 120° Celsius. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Tetsuji Imanaka spent his professional life, since 1976, as a nucear scientist who opposed nuclear power. He says he never experienced harassment, but then again he never got promoted beyond the post of research associate. Now, the last of the so-called Kumatori Group of Six, is about to retire. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ A study from Oklahoma State University found that wind projects in the western part of the state are bringing revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars into local county coffers and school districts, while increasing the state’s energy independence. Some counties with small populations have had impressive windfalls. [Sustainnovate]

¶ Sleek new lithium-ion battery systems are poised to connect with Texas’ electric grid for the first time this year as more companies seek to revolutionize the power market. For example, Duke Energy is updating a 36-MW battery system at its wind farm in West Texas from outdated lead-acid batteries. [Houston Chronicle]

Duke Energy said it will upgrade the battery storage system at its Notrees wind farm in West Texas. Duke Energy photo.

Duke Energy said it will upgrade the battery storage system at its Notrees wind farm in West Texas. Duke Energy photo.

¶ About 579 kW of low-income solar projects have been announced by the Colorado Energy Office and GRID Alternatives. Five projects will be built to help provide electricity to those most in need – people who spend more than 4% of their income on utility bills in rural areas, who could save about 50% on their energy bills. [CleanTechnica]

¶ US utility Georgia Power plans to add 525 MW of renewable generation by 2019. The proposal includes up to 425 MW of utility-scale solar, wind and biomass, according to the utility’s integrated resource plan filed with state regulators. The strategy also includes a carve-out for distributed solar resources. [reNews]

Linemen at work. Georgia Power image.

Linemen at work. Georgia Power image.

¶ ISO New England’s chief operating officer reported that total capacity is projected to decrease by 396 MW in 2016, but then increase by almost 9.8 GW in the following three years. About 4.1 GW of that total is wind and other renewables. ISO New England’s peak load in January was 19,412 MW. [Platts]

¶ In recent months, local officials from many Massachusetts communities have been considering ways to save money on innovative ways to fund upkeep projects and improvements to the town’s energy infrastructure. These range from efficient lighting to power-purchasing or net metering agreements. [Woburn Daily Times]

A Mass. Department of Energy Resources map shows some of the 57 communities and school districts that have taken action on energy through an Energy Management Services contract.

Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources map showing some of the 57 communities and school districts that have taken action on energy through an Energy Management Services contract.

¶ The Army will lease land and grant easements to Hawaiian Electric for the company to construct, own, operate, and maintain a 50-MW biofuel-capable generating station. The decision was based on the project’s final environmental impact statement, which explored potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts. [KHON2]

¶ Vermont Electric Cooperative is working on increasing its renewable energy portfolio. It’s currently proposing solar projects in Alburg and Grand Isle. And this week the co-op presented plans for a new project in Hinesburg. But some residents feel the project isn’t a good fit for their neighborhood. [Vermont Public Radio]


February 5 Energy News

February 5, 2016

Opinion:

Has the U.S. Really Reached an Epic Turning Point in Energy? • The amount of electricity from coal-fired power plants hit a record low while that from natural gas generators hit a record high. Renewable energy added the most new power in 2015, and annual carbon emissions reached a 20-year low. [National Geographic]

The United States is seeing a surge in wind energy. Here, turbines spin at the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas. Photo by Joe McNally, National Geographic

Turbines spin at the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas. Photo by Joe McNally, National Geographic

Sharing Clean Energy With Our Neighbors Is Saving Us Millions • One key challenge for grid operators is upgrading so we don’t have to throw away clean energy. Production of clean renewable energy sometimes gets shut down because the grid cannot absorb all the clean energy we produce. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

World:

¶ An article in the journal Nature Energy discusses the fact that renewable electricity investment has now outstripped spending on fossil fuels and that policies are focusing on improving energy efficiency and energy systems flexibility. It says these point to a global momentum toward sustainable energy systems. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Renewable energy developer SunEdison has commissioned 146 MW of Solar PV plants in the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Energy from the solar power plants will be sold via 25-year power purchase agreements to local distribution companies and private corporations. [PV-Tech]

SunEdison installation at Charanka solar park in Gujarat. Credit: SunEdison

SunEdison installation at Charanka solar park in Gujarat. Credit: SunEdison

¶ The UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change published its latest update on the country’s greenhouse gas emissions levels. According to the figures, UK’s greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be at 514.4 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent in 2014, or around 35% lower than 1990 levels. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A Greenpeace Southeast Asia report revealed the health impacts of coal-fired power plant in the Philippines. It says 960 people die there each year due to stroke, ischemic heart disease, other cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases. With proposed new plants, that figure could more than double. [eco-business.com]

¶ King Mohammed VI of Morocco inaugurated his country’s first solar power plant, a massive project that the country sees as part of its goal of boosting its clean energy output. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal were among those who attended. [The Express Tribune]

AFP photo.

AFP photo.

¶ As of last month, three school divisions in Peace Country, an area of western Canadian, are powered by wind energy. The school divisions announced that their schools and administration offices now get power from a wind facility near Provost, about three hours southeast of Edmonton. [Alberta Daily Herald Tribune]

¶ India has decided to join a global treaty on nuclear accident liability. The country ratified the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage. This is the latest effort the government has taken to ease suppliers’ concerns that they would be open to liability claims in case of a nuclear accident. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ In a stunning trend with broad implications, the economy has grown significantly since 2007, while electricity consumption has been flat, and total energy demand dropped. The economy has grown 10% since 2007, while primary energy consumption has fallen by 2.4%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [ThinkProgress]

Credit BNEF

Credit BNEF

¶ Natural gas-fired power projects continue to be developed in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas footprint, but low prices and the prospect of more renewable capacity has some wondering how many new gas-fired units will actually come online over the next few years. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a report with some fascinating points about renewable energy in the Salton Sea area. It covers potentials for developing solar, geothermal, and algal energy sources. There is also a great potential for extracting lithium from brine. [CleanTechnica]

Salton Sea. Released into the public domain (by the author). Wikimedia Commons.

Salton Sea. Released into the public domain (by the author). Wikimedia Commons.

¶ County prosecutors filed a criminal misdemeanor charge against Southern California Gas Co. According to the District Attorney’s Office, SoCalGas is being charged because they allegedly failed to report the leak at Porter Ranch immediately. Meanwhile, the company now also faces a wrongful death lawsuit. [Lawyer Herald]

¶ The world’s largest manufacturer of office furniture will soon offset 70% of its total US electricity usage from wind power with a long-term virtual power purchase agreement. Steelcase, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, just announced an agreement with Apex Clean Energy for 25 MW of wind power. [RMI]

Photo courtesy of Eric Ward via Flickr, Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Photo courtesy of Eric Ward via Flickr, Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

¶ According to data just released in the 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook – a project of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, produced for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy – the shift to renewables may be happening a lot faster than the EPA thought that it would less than a year ago. [HeraldNet]


February 4 Energy News

February 4, 2016

World:

¶ According to a statement released by the government-run Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, the country used renewable sources for 99% of its energy in 2015. The small Central American nation used a mix of geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and biomass energy. That’s fantastic news! [Unicorn Booty]

Image via Armando Maynez / Flickr

Image via Armando Maynez / Flickr

¶ The global wind energy industry had a record year in 2015, with 62 GW installed. According to new figures released by Bloomberg, global wind energy installs for 2015 reached 62 GW, led by China, which surpassed its own previous onshore wind record by close to 40%, installing just under 29 GW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ British Energy company SSE has said it expects to close three out of four units at a power plant in Cheshire by 1 April. The 45-year old plant has been loss-making for two years and was forecast to continue losing money until 2020. Renewable energy and cheap gas prices have made coal-fired power plants uncompetitive. [BBC]

¶ Royal Dutch Shell has confirmed it is cutting 10,000 jobs amid its steepest fall in annual profits for 13 years. It made $1.8 billion for the fourth quarter of the year, compared with a $4.2 billion profit for the same period the year before. Full-year 2015 earnings were $3.8 billion, compared with $19 billion in 2014. [BBC]

AP Photo

AP Photo

¶ Seemingly unrelated events in the last few weeks suggest that coal’s role in India’s future may be far more tenuous than widely portrayed. Courts ruled on pollution, private power companies are dumping coal projects in favour of solar, and Coal India doesn’t know what to do about huge stockpiles of unwanted coal. [End Coal]

¶ Denmark’s Dong Energy is going ahead with the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the Hornsea project off the coast of northeast England, making it the first of its kind to have the capacity to produce more than 1 GW of electricity. The 1,200-MW will power more than a million British homes. [Daily News]

Gunfleet Sands Wind Farm This wind farm on Gunfleet Sands, seven kilometres off the Essex coast. Photo by Bob Jones. CC BY-SA 2.0 Genergic. Wikimedia Commons.

Gunfleet Sands Wind Farm, seven kilometres off the Essex coast. Photo by Bob Jones. CC BY-SA 2.0 Genergic. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ An ambitious plan to build a nuclear power plant in Cambodia with technical assistance from Russia announced in November is unrealistic at this time, a senior official from state-run energy supplier Electricite du Cambodge said. He said Cambodia is not ready for construction of nuclear power plant. [Khmer Times]

US:

¶ Analytics firm IHS has released new figures which predict US solar PV installations to grow 60% year-over-year, with an expected 15 GW installed in 2016. A strong demand for utility-scale solar PV will drive growth in 2016, and will be boosted by the multi-year extension to the Investment Tax Credit. [CleanTechnica]

¶ MidAmerican Energy Co said on Wednesday it has reached 3,500 MW of installed wind power generation capacity after recently completing two wind parks in its home state of Iowa. The vice president for renewable energy said wind now makes up the largest share of the company’s generation portfolio. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in Iowa. Author: Theodore Scott. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Wind farm in Iowa. Author: Theodore Scott. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

¶ Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City wants to increase the solar power capacity of city-owned buildings five-fold from what it is now, according to his aides, who spoke yesterday. The push comes as part of an ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the country’s most populous city by 80% by 2050. [The Rakyat Post]

¶ The $2 billion, 515-mile-long SunZia power line project got a big boost Wednesday from the Arizona Corporation Commission, which voted 3-2 to approve its construction in this state. The project involves two power lines that would go from central New Mexico into Southern Arizona. [Arizona Daily Star]

The proposed SunZia lattice steel towers will be similar in height to these towers near Spearville, Kansas. Associated Press photo.

The proposed SunZia lattice steel towers will be similar in height to these towers near Spearville, Kansas. Associated Press photo.

¶ NJR Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, announced the completion of its third onshore wind project, the Alexander Wind Farm, in Rush County, Kansas, approximately 120 miles northwest of Wichita. The $83 million project consists of 21 turbines with a total capacity of 48.3 MW. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative has utilized renewable resources to generate 90% of the Garden Isle’s power during several days last month. KIUC said it used a combination of solar, biomass and hydroelectricity on its way to hitting that 90% mark for brief periods on four days in January. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative's Koloa Solar project. Photo courtesy KIUC.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s Koloa Solar project. Photo courtesy KIUC.

¶ The Georgia Mountain Community Wind farm announced that its annual energy production exceeded expectations by more than 22%, producing more than 33,000,000 kWh of Vermont-made renewable energy in 2015. This represents enough renewable energy to power more than 5,500 Vermont households. [vtdigger.org]

¶ A report from research and consulting firm Synapse Energy Economics examines state-by-state impacts of Clean Power Plan options and found that using strong energy efficiency policies in state plans can produce significant electricity bill savings for consumers while reducing carbon pollution. [Biomass Magazine]


February 3 Energy News

February 3, 2016

World:

¶ The government of Indonesia is banking on renewable energy to boost power supply in the six darkest provinces. All are located in eastern Indonesia. It aims to increase the national electrification ratio to 99% by 2019, up from 87% at present. Currently, 12,669 villages are not connected to the electricity grid. [Jakarta Post]

Solar power in Indonesia. Courtesy of The Netherlands Education Support Office Indonesia.

Solar power in Indonesia. Courtesy of The
Netherlands Education Support Office Indonesia.

¶ First Solar has announced the opening of two utility-scale solar plants located in New South Wales. Today’s opening of the 155-MW Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants reflects the positive future of utility-scale solar in Australia. There is now a total of 245 MW of utility-scale solar operating in Australia. [RenewablesBiz]

¶ The more people know about fracking, the more likely they are to oppose it, a survey for the Government shows. Of those who said they knew a lot about fracking, 53% were against it. This compares to 33% who said they were in favour of it, the poll tracking attitudes to energy policies has revealed. [The Guardian]

An anti-fracking march in Sussex. Photograph: Natasha Quarmby / REX / Shutterstock

An anti-fracking march in Sussex.
Photo: Natasha Quarmby / REX / Shutterstock

¶ Swedish utility Vattenfall said low electricity prices and costs related to early closures of two nuclear reactors weighed on fourth-quarter net profits and full-year results. The state-owned company said net profit in the fourth quarter was 2.46 billion kronor ($287 million), down from 3.9 billion kronor a year ago. [Europe Online Magazine]

¶ China solidified its standing as the world’s wind energy behemoth in 2015, adding almost as much wind power capacity in one year as the total installed capacity of the three largest US wind-producing states. Data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance show China installed just under 29 GW in 2015. [Scientific American]

©iStock.com

©iStock.com

US:

¶ Non-hydro renewable energy sources accounted for 63% of all new power generation capacity installed in the USA in 2015, the latest report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) shows. There were 7,977 MW of wind turbines installed in the country, which is 48.39% of the year’s total. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Ameresco, based in Massachusetts, has its eye on 300 acres in New Milford, Connecticut, to establish a solar array and a fuel cell facility. It would sell power both to the grid and directly to the town. Connecticut aims to have the state obtain 20% of its electricity renewably by 2020. [The Greater New Milford Spectrum]

Contributed Photo

Contributed Photo

¶ An analysis conducted by investment adviser Advisor Partners has found that New York City’s biggest pension fund, the Teacher’s Retirement System of the City of New York, lost approximately $135 million from investments in oil and gas companies during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. [CleanTechnica]

¶ California’s Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the company responsible for a huge gas leak that began on 23 October, has forced over 13,000 people from their homes, and still goes on. She said the Southern California Gas Company violated health and safety laws by failing to report and contain leaking methane. [BBC]

The streets of Porter Ranch have been left deserted as a result of the leak. AFP photo

The streets of Porter Ranch have been left
deserted as a result of the leak. AFP photo

¶ The National Renewable Energy Laboratory brings good news on the wind. In a report of May, 2015, significantly more wind power potential was found in nearly every state thanks to advancing turbine technology. Over two-thirds of states could produce 100% or more of their annual consumption from wind energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ One form of renewable energy manages to create two useful products at the same time, and it is making a growing contribution to combatting climate change. The medieval alchemists who sought to turn base metal into gold would have thrilled at chemistry that let them dispose of waste by turning it into fuel and fertiliser. [eco-business.com]

A biogas installation in a farm that uses cow dung as energy source. Image: Shutterstock

A biogas installation in a farm that uses cow
dung as energy source. Image: Shutterstock

¶ More than 10,000 local jobs have been created in California as a result of the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, according to a new press release. The jobs are the result of the more than 50,000 home improvement projects completed via the HERO PACE program since 2011. [CleanTechnica]


February 2 Energy News

February 2, 2016

World:

¶ Collaborating with Ecotricity, the Royal Society For Protection Of Birds installed a new wind turbine at RSPB Headquarters at the Lodge. A 100-meter wind turbine will deliver 1.85 million kWh per annum. The Director of Conservation says research shows the turbine is not in an area where birds will be endangered. [CleanTechnica]

For the Protection of Birds

It’s windpower for the Royal Society For the Protection of Birds

¶ It was a good year for renewable energy in China, global research and consulting firm GlobalData said. China helped push global renewable installed capacity to an estimated 913.48 GW in 2015, leading the way in annual capacity additions for solar, biopower, small hydropower, and onshore wind. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Collapsing oil prices, Japan’s return to nuclear power, and market uncertainty in China are among the short-term challenges for liquefied natural gas. But longer-term competition from renewable energy in Europe and Asia might pose the biggest challenge, according to a new Brattle Group analysis. [Business in Vancouver]

The liquefied natural gas carrier Grand Aniva. Photo by VladSV / Shutterstock

The liquefied natural gas carrier Grand Aniva. Photo by VladSV / Shutterstock

¶ The UK’s government has made it a “top priority” to ensure protections for national parks and sites of special scientific interest do not obstruct fracking across the country, according to a leaked letter from ministers. It appears they are trying to see that what limited protections exist do not get in the way of fracking. [The Guardian]

¶ Banco Santander SA is considering investing in the UK’s rooftop solar market, despite deep cuts to feed-in tariff subsidies coming into effect next week. The UK government will cut solar feed-in tariffs for new projects by as much as 64% and cap new installations in a bid to keep a lid on renewable energy subsidies. [Bloomberg]

¶ According to its annual report NATO plans to increase its investment in renewables and energy efficiency as they “reduce the risk” to troops involved in conflict. Between 2003 and 2007, an estimated 3,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, transporting fuels to power military bases. [EcoWatch]

NATO plans to increase its investment in renewables and energy efficiency as they “reduce the risk” to troops involved in conflict. Photo credit: Pew Environment

NATO plans to increase its investment in renewables and energy efficiency to reduce the risk to troops. Photo credit: Pew Environment

¶ Not far from the shores of Lake Huron, 91 wind turbines have begun pumping 180 MW of clean energy into the Ontario’s power grid. Samsung Renewable Energy Inc and Pattern Energy Group announced the Armow Wind power facility is now producing enough power for about 70,000 homes. [CanadianManufacturing.com]

¶ Dutch Transmission System Operator TenneT and its Danish counterpart Energinet.dk have signed contracts with Siemens and Prysmian for the construction of the COBRAcable between the Netherlands and Denmark. Siemens will supply two converter stations. Prysmian will supply the DC cables. [Marine Technology News]

Prysmian Group cableship Giulio Verne during loading operations in Arco Felice (Naples, Italy) Image: TenneT

Prysmian Group cableship Giulio Verne during loading operations in Arco Felice (Naples, Italy) Image: TenneT

US:

¶ The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, deciding that demand response should be regulated at the federal level and ensuring that the demand response industry can continue its impressive progress. Demand response was a $1.4 billion market in the US in 2015. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Lockheed Martin has entered into a 17-year power purchase agreement for solar-generated electricity produced by Duke Energy Renewables. The renewable power purchase is expected to produce 30 MW (about 72,000 MWh per year). It will provide clean energy for all Lockheed Martin domestic business segments. [Power Online]

Duke Energy Renewables solar facility in Conetoe, North Carolina. Photo: courtesy of (C) Aerophoto America (PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin)

Duke Energy Renewables solar facility in Conetoe, North Carolina. Photo: courtesy of (C) Aerophoto America (PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin)

¶ California’s participation in a growing network of power utilities and operators in the western US called the Energy Imbalance Market has yielded savings of $12 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, state power officials said Monday. Those savings are expected to be passed onto customers. [Sacramento Bee]

¶ The US House of Representatives passed the Electrify Africa Act, after nearly two years of trying to get the measure through both chambers of Congress. It now goes to the president for his signature. The bill will help millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa gain access to reliable electricity. [Big News Network.com]

Transmission lines. Reuters photo.

Transmission lines. Reuters photo.

¶ Maine has New England’s biggest pipeline of wind projects in the works, and developers of nine projects have asked for long-term contracts with utilities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The projects altogether would add another 2,140 MW, about 3.5 times Maine’s current capacity. [Bangor Daily News]

¶ Wind power has hit an important milestone in America, with 980 working wind installations generating 70 GW of renewable electricity. According to the American Wind Energy Association, that’s enough to power 19 million typical American homes or drive 26 million electric cars all the way around the world. [EarthTechling]

Image credit: under CC license

Image credit: under CC license

¶ New York lawmakers are proposing policies that they hope can save struggling upstate nuclear power facilities from closing. Two senate bills would use state money to keep the plant open. One would the owner Entergy a $60-million corporate tax credit to cover its losses at the FitzPatrick plant. [WRVO Public Media]


February 1 Energy News

February 1, 2016

Opinion:

3 homes that will give you green energy envy • Renewable energy reduces your environmental impact and dependency on conventional energy technology, while increasing self-sufficiency. Some architects created impressively stunning designs that are energy efficient. Here are three of our favorites. [Memeburn]

Ecocapsule. Image Credit: Nice Architects

Ecocapsule. Image Credit: Nice Architects

Green electricity without batteries • A paper in the journal Research Policy suggests solar PV modules will continue to drop in cost at a roughly 10% rate. A paper in Nature indicates that extensive renewable electricity provision is possible without the need for storing large amounts of energy in batteries. [News24]

Science and Technology:

¶ Microsoft is planning to dive underwater in the future with its prototype data centre that it tested hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean off California. Under Project Natick, data centres will live under the sea in order to tackle high energy costs and control the carbon footprint. [International Business Times UK]

World:

¶ A deal to take a £10 million stake in the company behind the proposed £1 billion Swansea Bay tidal lagoon has been signed. The Gupta family, who own Liberty Steel and the Simec energy company, has made the investment into Tidal Lagoon Power’s proposed projects in Cardiff and Newport. [BBC News]

Tidal Lagoon Power is the company behind the proposed £1bn project in Swansea Bay. TLP

Tidal Lagoon Power is the company behind the
proposed £1 billion project in Swansea Bay. TLP

¶ Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Address emphasized resolving North Korea’s power supply problems, so trading companies are importing large quantities of equipment for power stations and power transmission from China, including a marked increase in the number of solar panels entering North Korea. [Daily NK]

¶ The Australian government’s newest science adviser says Australia needs to accelerate its switch from coal to renewable energy. On his first day as Chief Scientist, engineer and neuroscientist Dr Alan Finkel said he wants to put sustainable energy on the agenda so Australians can weigh up different options. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Norwegian power producer Scatec Solar has acquired a majority stake in two Brazil PV projects from Spanish company Grupo Gransolar. The two plants total 72 MW and are expected to generate around 164,000 MWh annually. The power will be sold under 20-year power purchase agreements to ANEEL. [PV-Tech]

Scatec Solar has acquired two projects totalling 78 MW in Brazil. Image: Scatec Solar.

Scatec Solar has acquired two projects totalling
78 MW in Brazil. Image: Scatec Solar.

¶ A Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, believes the Kudankulam nuclear reactor has fundamental problems because its erection and commissioning was carried out by Indian contractors and engineers whose expertise is with Canadian designs. (interview) [Times of India]

¶ Exxon predicts our energy mix won’t change a whole lot over the next 25 years. In fact, Exxon Mobil projects that oil and gas will actually increase by 2040. This unfortunate vision of the future stems from the age-old conundrum of trying not to eat sugar when your pockets are full of candy. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

Gas flaring.

Gas flaring.

US:

¶ Apex Clean Energy announced it intents to invest $100 million in a wind farm on private land in Crab Orchard, Tennessee. The site is mostly forested with small quarrying operations. Turbines will be visible from Interstate 40, which local leaders praised as it shows off the county’s clean energy. [Knoxville News Sentinel]

¶ Wind energy production throughout the state of New York has reached a new peak, which both points to encouraging progress and indicates just how far we have to go in integrating renewables into New York’s energy infrastructure. The current output record for wind power in New York is 1,571 MW. [Albany Times Union]

¶ In Goshen, Indiana, the Green Cow Power Energy Center has two anaerobic digesters that turn waste from the 1,500 cows on a nearby dairy farm into electricity. Its three engines produce 3 MW of electricity, and it transfers enough energy to power 1,900 homes for a year to NIPSCO’s substation in Wakarusa. [South Bend Tribune]

Andrew Sloat, at Green Cow Power in Goshen, walks through the engine room. SBT Photo/Becky Malewitz

Andrew Sloat, at Green Cow Power in Goshen, walks through
the engine room. SBT Photo/Becky Malewitz

¶ Annette Smith has been fighting the power for more than 15 years, tenaciously opposing energy projects she believes harm the environment or quality of life in Vermont. Now she is the target of a criminal probe into whether her efforts constitute unlawful legal work. She has no comment on specifics of allegations. [GazetteNET]

¶ Competing hydroelectric companies united to form the Massachusetts Clean Electricity Partnership, a group that will formally launch its marketing efforts this week. Their focus: making sure Governor Charlie Baker’s pro-hydro bill, or some version of it, makes it through the Legislature this year. [The Boston Globe]


January 31 Energy News

January 31, 2016

Opinion:

Politicians take note: Iowa is the US’s most wind-powered state – and everyone loves it! • Wind supplies 30% of the state’s power, more than any other US state. Windpower also gets real bipartisan support in Iowa. A recent poll taken by Public Opinion Strategies shows an 85% approval rating. [The Ecologist]

Wind power in Iowa, where it's big, getting bigger, and everyone loves it. Photo: Andrew Huff via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Wind power in Iowa, where it’s big, getting bigger, and everyone loves it. Photo: Andrew Huff via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Nuclear renaissance? Failing industry is running flat out to stand still • Ten new power reactors began supplying electricity last year (eight of them in China), and eight reactors were permanently shut down. In 1995 there were 434 ‘operable’ reactors. In 2005 there were 441, and now there are 439. [The Ecologist]

Science and Technology:

¶ A new design from Sandia National Laboratories, for wind turbines with gigantic blades longer than two football fields, could help bring 50-MW offshore wind turbines to the United States and the world. The design’s load-alignment is bio-inspired by the way palm trees move in storms. [Windpower Engineering]

Todd Griffith shows a model of the cross-section of a 50-meter blade. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Todd Griffith shows a model of the cross-section of a 50-meter blade. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

World:

¶ Canadian Solar, one of the world’s largest solar power companies announced that it has secured investments worth $70 million to support the development of a module production facility in Vietnam. It entered into agreements with the International Finance Corporation on a package of loans and investment. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A framework program of €200 million includes programs supporting Eritrea to achieve a shift in its energy policy, harnessing its rich potential of solar, wind, and geothermal energy, as well as contributing to international efforts to mitigate climate change. It brings renewable power to people without electricity. [Caperi]

100-kW Smart grid solar energy at Embatkala in Eritrea.

100-kW Smart grid solar energy at Embatkala in Eritrea.

¶ South Korea’s public companies will invest some 1.5 trillion won ($1.24 billion) in 2016 and 2017 to fuel the development of the country’s renewable energy sector, the government said. Efforts will be made to significantly increase investment in the renewable energy areas such as solar and windpower. [Yonhap News]

¶ The Iranian Energy Ministry offers incentives to companies that will make investment in the generation of electricity from clean energy resources in the country. Over the next ten years, Iran aims to generate 50,000 MW of electricity, 10% of which is slated to be generated from renewable sources. [Tehran Times]

¶ The UK’s Conservative government has ‘missed the point’ on hydro energy in its recent review of feed-in tariffs, according to one of the leading figures in the industry. He believes that the UK’s hydro energy industry will ‘all but disappear’ by the end of the decade as a result. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Community-scale hydro. Image by Hammer51012

Community-scale hydro. Image by Hammer51012

¶ Amazon has announced its plans to enter the Canadian market in 2016.Amazon is ensuring their region aligns with Quebec’s environmental goals. A spokesperson said Amazon’s new region will have a limited environmental footprint, being carbon-neutral and powered almost entirely by hydro power. [InfoQ.com]

¶ The head of Hitachi has warned that the debacle surrounding the construction of Hinkley Point nuclear plant throws up “very serious concerns” about its own investment in the UK. He said the setbacks experienced by Hinkley’s developer EDF raised questions about how plants are funded. [Yahoo Finance UK]

US:

¶ A consortium says it wants to bring renewable wind and solar energy to Arizona cities by building two power lines from New Mexico. But it’s fighting hard against having to promise it will put renewables on the line. Opponents want a guarantee that at least 50% of one line set aside for renewables. [Arizona Daily Star]

The ridge line above the canyon is the proposed route of the SunZia project. A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star

The ridge line above the canyon is the proposed route of the SunZia project. A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star

¶ Oregon’s two biggest electric utilities told state regulators that their compromise plan to eliminate coal-fired electricity and meet half their customers’ demand with renewable energy would be affordable, technically feasible and preferable to ballot measures that environmentalists propose. [OregonLive.com]


January 30 Energy News

January 30, 2016

Opinion:

Why cheap oil isn’t bad for the environment • A lot of opposing forces are shaking the old assumptions. In the jaws of bargain oil, the US DOE expects Americans to increase their use of renewable power this year by almost 10%. Why is this time different? There are many factors, and nearly all favor renewables. [The Daily Advertiser]

A Vestas service technician walks up the stairs to the door at the base of a wind turbine at the Taralga Wind Farm. (Photo: Mark Kolbe, Getty Images)

A Vestas service technician walks up the stairs to the door of a wind turbine at the Taralga Wind Farm. (Photo: Mark Kolbe, Getty Images)

The NYC Security Risk That Candidates Aren’t Discussing • It is surprising that presidential candidates don’t do more to protect to New York City. But to be fair, New Yorkers themselves may not know the security risk the Indian Point nuclear plant poses, several miles up the Hudson River. [Huffington Post]

France Peddles Unsafe Nuclear Reactors to India, Drawing Protest • The present Indian government has included a new “Made in India” tag on the Jaitapur nuclear project. What it actually means is that India would assume liability for a controversial reactor design from the economically troubled EDF. [Truth-Out]

World:

¶ The wave of optimism that followed last month’s climate change deal in Paris is wending its way down Wall Street. Investors and financiers meeting in New York this week vowed to harness their trillions of dollars in collective wealth to develop clean energy projects and curb the planet’s carbon emissions. [International Business Times]

Wind turbines are pictured at a wind farm in Penonome, Panama, Nov. 10, 2015. Photo: Carlos Jasso / Reuters

Wind turbines are pictured at a wind farm in Penonome, Panama, November 10, 2015. Photo: Carlos Jasso / Reuters

¶ Another large-scale solar power tender in India has been launched by NTPC Limited with a solar power park in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The tender will involve allocation of six solar power projects with 125 MW capacity each. The last three auctions by NTPC seen record low solar power tariffs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The government of Pakistan has planned to generate an additional 900 MW of electricity from the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, which is already producing 100 MW of renewable energy. Officials also suggested giving each house in far-off villages a solar panel, which would be cost-effective than transmission. [The Express Tribune]

¶ Local wind projects have helped Nova Scotia Power surpass renewable energy targets. The company’s performance on renewable energy exceeded the legislated 2015 requirement of 25% renewable electricity, and positions the company well to meet the 40% renewable requirement that takes effect in 2020. [Cumberland News Now]

Wind energy, such as the wind farm on the marsh outside Amherst, has helped Nova Scotia Power surpass renewable energy targets. © File

Wind energy has helped Nova Scotia Power surpass renewable energy targets. © File

¶ The No 3 reactor at the Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture reached criticality Saturday morning following its reactivation the previous afternoon, Kansai Electric Power Co said. The self-sustained fission reaction started at 6 a.m., according to Kepco, which serves western Japan. [The Japan Times]

¶ Russia and its Central Asian neighbors could have 100% renewable electricity as soon as 2030, while significantly cutting costs, a study from Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland says. The cost of a renewable energy buildout in the area would be roughly half of that of new nuclear power plants. [CleanTechnica]

Image: solar power plant in Russia by Darya Ashanina (some rights reserved)

Image: solar power plant in Russia by Darya Ashanina (some rights reserved)

US:

¶ Duke Energy is seeking collaboration on climate change, a spokesman said. The company hopes North Carolina will start a less confrontational approach on the federal Clean Power Plan, working with the EPA and stakeholders in the state to develop a workable program for carbon reduction. [Charlotte Business Journal]

¶ Renewable portfolio standards have shown net benefits running into the billions of dollars, according to a new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The numbers illustrate what new policies that align the goals of renewable energy mandates and the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan could do. [Utility Dive]

Image Credit: Depositphotos

Image Credit: Depositphotos

¶ New legislation that would spark growth in Nebraska’s wind energy sector is making progress among state lawmakers. The legislation was introduced to the Natural Resources Committee this week and has received tentative support from the Nebraska Public Power District, which had initially voiced opposition. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶ As many US power companies fight the federal Clean Power Plan, Xcel Energy took a different path Friday, declaring the utility’s Minnesota operations are “nearly certain” to comply with the plan’s greenhouse gas reductions through cost-effective investments over the next decade. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Two coal-burning units at the Sherco power plant in Becker, Minnesota, will be retired sometime in the 2020s, Xcel Energy said.

Two coal-burning units at the Sherco power plant in Becker, Minnesota, will be retired sometime in the 2020s, Xcel Energy said.

¶ The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a 10-MW solar energy installation at the Minnesota National Guard’s base in central Minnesota. The $30 million project will help Minnesota Power achieve about one-third of its requirement under the state’s Solar Energy Standard. [Brainerd Daily Dispatch]

¶ Georgia Power plans to retire coal-fired and oil-fired units at two power plants in the state and replace them with more power from new solar and other renewable power projects. The utility also expects efficiency programs to reduce peak electricity demand by about 12% by 2019. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]


January 29 Energy News

January 29, 2016

Science and Technology:

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

Two thousand years of summer temperatures

Two thousand years of summer temperatures

World:

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

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

Senvion wind turbines.

Senvion wind turbines.

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

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

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

Siemens wind turbines in Scotland

Siemens wind turbines in Scotland

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scottish industry doubles use of renewable energy in 2015

Scottish industry doubles use of renewable energy in 2015

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 28 Energy News

January 28, 2016

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SoloPower photo.

SoloPower photo.

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

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


January 27 Energy Week

January 27, 2016

Opinion:

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

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

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

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

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 26 Energy News

January 26, 2016

Science and Technology:

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

Sandia.gov photo

Grid storage installation. Sandia.gov photo

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

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coal. Image by sxc

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

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

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solar gigafactory. SolarCity image.

Solar gigafactory. SolarCity image.

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

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


January 25 Energy News

January 25, 2016

Science and Technology:

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

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

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

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

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A much smaller solar installation in India.

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

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

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

Wind farm in Xinjiang, China Wikimedia Commons

Wind farm in Xinjiang, China Wikimedia Commons

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

US:

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

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

Image credit: Flickr/Ken Hodge

Image credit: Flickr/Ken Hodge

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

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


January 24 Energy News

January 24, 2016

Science and Technology:

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

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

Fishing boats on what was once a shore.

World:

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

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

Emission-free grid stability via Deltro

Emission-free grid stability via Deltro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

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

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


January 23 Energy News

January 23, 2016

Opinion:

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

Coal prices have been declining over the past few years.

Coal prices have been declining over the past few years.

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

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 22 Energy News

January 22, 2016

Science and Technology:

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

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

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

World:

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

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

Musselroe wind farm.

Musselroe wind farm.

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Thomas Bougher

Photo by Thomas Bougher

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 21 Energy News

January 21, 2016

Science and Technology:

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

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

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

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AGL solar array

AGL solar array

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

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 20 Energy News

January 20, 2016

Opinion:

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

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


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

Science and Technology:

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

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

World:

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

Solar installation at Vanuatu via IRENA.

Solar installation at Vanuatu via IRENA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon wind

Amazon windpower

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

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

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


January 19 Energy News

January 19, 2016

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linthal Valley

Linthal Valley

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

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

Hexicon image

Hexicon image

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

US:

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

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

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

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


January 18 Energy News

January 18, 2016

Opinion:

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

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

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

World:

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

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

Tarfaya Wind Energy Project, Morocco

Tarfaya Wind Energy Project, Morocco

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

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

Photo by Tina Casey

Photo by Tina Casey

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

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

Photo by Bibby Line Group

Photo by Bibby Line Group

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 17 Energy News

January 17, 2016

Opinion:

Energy bills, the Big Six and the scandal of people dying of cold in their own homes • The UK’s Big Six energy suppliers’ fuel costs have tumbled, but they have not cut prices. Instead of looking into this, the Government has turned its fire on renewable power. And every 7 winter minutes, an older person dies from the cold. [The Independent]

Shutting down onshore wind farms by removing subsidies will save a typical householder £0.30 a year. Getty

Shutting down onshore wind farms by removing subsidies
will save a typical householder £0.30 a year. Getty

World:

¶ According to a report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency, Renewable Energy Benefits: Measuring the Economics, increasing the global share of renewable energy to 36% by 2030 would increase global gross domestic product by up to 1.1%. This means about $1.3 trillion. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Korea Electric Power Corp said it will design and build a digitized power substation in Bhutan. Under the $25.6-million contract, KEPCO will replace outdated 220-kV outdoor substations in the southern city of Phuntsholing by 2018. The replacements will be automated and have surveillance features. [The Korea Herald]

KEPCO headquarters in Naju, South Jeolla Province (Yonhap)

KEPCO headquarters in Naju, South Jeolla Province (Yonhap)

¶ Morocco aims to generate 52% of its electricity from renewable sources, including 2 GW each from solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, by 2030. Currently Morocco is the Middle East’s largest energy importer. It imports more than 97% of its total energy supply, according to information from the World Bank. [Zawya]

¶ The government of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has signed a pact with IFC, member of the World Bank Group, to set up the world’s largest solar energy plant with a capacity of 750 MW, at an estimated cost of ₹4,500 crore ($668 million). It will be the largest single-site solar power project in the world. [News Today]

Solar power plant

Solar power plant

¶ Jordan plans to have 500 MW of wind and solar power capacity by the end of this yea, according to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources. Of the planned 1,000 MW of projects being developed in the kingdom, 170 MW are already operational and the rest is expected to come online by 2018. [Bloomberg]

¶ The UK government is expected to see a standoff with the House of Lords over David Cameron’s reversal on green energy subsidies. There could be tensions between the government and the upper chamber as the energy secretary presses ahead with a scheme to end subsidies for new onshore windfarms. [The Guardian]

A child cycles past an onshore windfarm. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

A child cycles past an onshore windfarm. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

¶ Japan’s energy policy is facing major obstacles this year, as problems surrounding an experimental reactor threaten to foil long-laid plans to recycle nuclear fuel. The fast-breeder reactor development project has hit major stumbling blocks that put the entire project at risk of shutting down. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ In 2009, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that the Navy and Marine Corps would get half of their power from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020, and that the Navy would deploy an entire carrier strike group with biofuels replacing fossil fuels by 2016. Now, the “Great Green Fleet” is ready to deploy. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Ships from the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group are underway in the western Pacific Ocean. Petty Officer 3rd Class Walter W

Ships from the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group are underway
in the western Pacific Ocean. Petty Officer 3rd Class Walter W

¶ The economic benefits of state renewable portfolio standards greatly outweigh the costs, according to a report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Renewable portfolio standards are important drivers of renewable energy growth in the US. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The city of Grand Junction, Colorado, is making huge strides to reinvent their wastewater industry, and the result is like finding a diamond in the sludge. Grand Junction’s human waste is processed into biomethane, or renewable natural gas. The gas is then used to fuel the city’s fleet of about 40 vehicles. [The Guardian]


January 16 Energy News

January 16, 2016

Opinion:

Why Renewable Energy is Defying Gravity • In the face of the lowest oil prices for over a decade, a record $329 billion was invested in clean energy worldwide in 2015. That seems counterintuitive: conventional wisdom says that cheap fossil fuels inhibit the growth of renewables. [MIT Technology Review]

Contractors work on solar panels at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.

Contractors work on solar panels at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.

Oil is Dead and Renewable Energy is Killing It • Mark down 2015 and 2016 as special years. These two years might end up being two of the most important in the history of humankind. You might not see it yet, and that’s OK. It’s pretty easy to get preoccupied with everything else going on right now. [Money Morning Australia]

World:

¶ The Venezuelan government announced a 60-day economic emergency to deal with a crisis brought on by the huge fall in oil prices in the past 18 months, which slashed its revenues by 60%. The country has the world’s biggest known oil reserves, and oil exports account for as much as 95% of its revenue. [BBC]

¶ In a piece published on its website this week, the UK Solar Trade Association made it clear it believes that residential solar remains a good investment for householders, despite Government’s backsliding on their green policies, and in the wake of the recent modifications to the country’s Feed-in Tariff. [CleanTechnica]

Solar Power on the Grand Union Canal. This narrowboat has been modernized and its two solar panels were collecting rays from a cloudless Hertfordshire sky. Photo by Colin Smith. CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar Power on a narrowboat on the Grand Union Canal in Hertfordshire. Photo by Colin Smith. CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Gamesa announced it had received an unusual order for the supply and installation of 48 MW of special wind turbines. Gamesa will purpose-build 24 of its 2-MW wind turbines specifically configured to withstand the low temperatures and low air density conditions 3,400 meters (11,155 feet) above sea level. [CleanTechnica]

¶ India’s installed capacity of solar PVs has crossed the 5,000 MW milestone. The Indian Government has a target of 100 GW of PV capacity by the year 2021-22. It envisages 60 GW of ground mounted grid-connected solar power and 40 GW through roof-top grid interactive solar power. [Business Standard]

¶ Carbon dioxide emissions have declined by 22.72 lakh tonnes (3 million tons) in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh due to the generation of power from renewable energy sources, a senior official said. The state is promoting alternative energy, including wind, solar, biomass, and minor hydro projects. [Business Standard]

US:

¶ The Obama administration announced on Friday that it will suspend new coal leasing on federal lands and overhaul the program to better reflect environmental costs. This could be a turning point in climate policy. It is a concrete measure toward leaving fossil fuels in the ground, as the science demands. [InsideClimate News]

A coal train on its way to a power plant in Wyoming. Credit: Reuters

Coal is conveyed to a power plant in Wyoming. Credit: Reuters

¶ The city of Philadelphia dropped an interesting wrinkle into the building code that took effect on January 1. All new residential construction must have in-sink garbage disposals. The garbage will go to the city’s sewage treatment bio-digesters, where it will produce methane to power electric generation. [Metro.us]

¶ Lewis County, New York, reached a final agreement on a solar project expected to offer the county and its municipal hospital significant cost savings. The county and Lewis County General Hospital are guaranteed a saving of at least $3.3 million over the contract’s 20-year term. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

¶ Four months after it began work on a pair of solar farms near the Lowndes County Industrial Park, Silicon Ranch Corporation announced it is generating electricity. According to the company, the two facilities can generate 1.6 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 200 homes. [The Commercial Dispatch]

Silicon Ranch Corporation announced it is generating electricity at two solar farms near the Lowndes County Industrial Park. Photo by: Courtesy photo

Silicon Ranch Corporation announced it is generating electricity at two solar farms near the Lowndes County Industrial Park. Courtesy photo

¶ A new grid modernization blueprint released by the US DOE seeks to integrate conventional and renewable power sources with energy storage and efficiency, while ensuring the grid is resilient against cyberattacks and climate change threats. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the plan. [POWER magazine]

¶ Enel Green Power has begun constructing its new 108-MW Drift Sand wind project, located in Grady County, Oklahoma. The wind farm is expected to be completed and enter into service by year’s end. According to EGP, construction requires an investment of about $180 million. [North American Windpower]

Sunset Turbines, by US Geological Survey - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Sunset Turbines in Oklahoma, by US Geological Survey.
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

¶ Placing a cost on carbon could have significant impacts for utility shareholders and open up power companies to new litigation risks, according to a new paper published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. The paper quantified the potential liabilities of the top 10 emitters. [Utility Dive]

¶ Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc, which owns and operates the nuclear power plant, filed suit against Secretary of State Cesar Perales in federal court Thursday, seeking a court order to toss out the state’s refusal to grant the power plant a certificate to operate on the Hudson River.
[The Journal News | LoHud.com]


January 15 Energy News

January 15, 2016

Opinion:

Stuck in the Sixties: Power grid modernization remains elusive • Nearly half of all electricity generated in the world today comes from power plants that use steam turbines built in the days of rotary telephones and manual typewriters, operating at thermal efficiencies of around thirty-percent. [Intelligent Utility]

Things have changed.

But some things have remained the same.

NYU Study: Economics Of Climate Change Is A No-Brainer • A new study by the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law casts needed light on the socioeconomic factors and indicates consensus among economists on most critical subjects relating to climate change. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ Growing installations of solar batteries will bring benefits to all power consumers, according to independent researchers Prognos AG. Power generated and used at home will reduce the input – and strains – of electricity being into the national grid, the research group said in a report released on Friday. [Bloomberg]

¶ Chemists in the US have created a catalyst system that they say is the first to make methanol straight from the tiny concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. The approach is an initial step towards a goal of making fuel from nothing but gases from the air and renewable energy. [Royal Society of Chemistry]

CRI’s George Olah Renewable Methanol plant in Reykjavik, Iceland has an output of 4000 tonnes per year © CRI

CRI’s George Olah Renewable Methanol plant in Reykjavik,
Iceland has an output of 4000 tonnes per year © CRI

World:

¶ Brazil’s new 2024 solar energy targets are roughly double those of the earlier plan for 2023, according to recent reports. The new targets from the country’s government call for 7 GW of utility-scale solar by 2024, up from 3.5 GW by 2023, and 1.32 GW of distributed solar photovoltaic PV, up from 665 MW.[CleanTechnica]

¶ Wind power in Denmark met 42.1% of national consumption in 2015 and the figure would have been even higher if not for cable issues at the 400-MW Anholt and 209-MW Horns Rev 2 offshore wind farms. This represents an increase of over 2014’s 39.1% share and is a new record for the country. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Canada’s BluEarth Renewables Inc said its 29.2-MW Bull Creek wind farm in Alberta is now fully operational. The facility in Provost consists of 17 General Electric wind turbines that can generate enough power to supply the annual power demands of some 10,000 average Alberta homes.
[SeeNews Renewables]

The Bull Creek Wind Facility. Source: BluEarth Renewables Inc. License: All Rights Reserved

The Bull Creek Wind Facility.
Source: BluEarth Renewables Inc. All Rights Reserved

¶ The EnAppSys report shows that the significant growth in renewables seen in recent years in the UK continued during 2015, with capacity of 7.5 GW and generation of 65.4 TWh, or 21% of total electricity, only marginally below the contribution from nuclear plants which provided 21.1% of the total. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ Two Belgian nuclear reactors which were temporarily shut down due to structural problems should never have been restarted, according to a study commissioned by a pro-environmental group in the European Parliament. The study feeds into an ongoing debate about the safety of Belgium’s ageing nuclear plants. [BizNews]

US:

¶ US utility-scale solar PV costs plummeted 17% in Q3 of 2015, and declining PV costs are fuelling greater demand. According to an EnergyTrend report, US utility-scale solar costs fell in the third quarter of 2015 to $1.38/W, compared to $1.66/W twelve months earlier. Further drops are expected. [CleanTechnica]

Aston Field Solar Plant by Stausifr via Wikimedia Commons (Some Rights Reserved)

Aston Field Solar Plant by Stausifr
via Wikimedia Commons (Some Rights Reserved)

¶ According to GTM Research, the US solar industry will install more than 10 GW of solar PV in 2016 for the first time ever, pushing the number of homeowners with solar installed past the 1 million mark. GTM Research is predicting that solar installations could reach 20 GW per year by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ SunEdison announced it has signed solar power purchase agreements with 25 California elementary, middle, and high schools. SunEdison plans to install high-performance solar parking canopies at each of their campuses. The schools expect to save more than $30 million over the next 20 years. [IT Business Net]

SunEdison solar parking canopies provide both shade for parked cars and cost-effective, clean solar energy.

SunEdison solar parking canopies provide both shade for
parked cars and cost-effective, clean solar energy.

¶ The Sutter Energy Center near Yuba City, California, is shutting down for the rest of 2016, amid continuing viability struggles. The 578-MW natural gas-fired power plant will be placed in lay-up status with operations will be suspended, so it can restart if necessary, while Calpine assesses its future. [Appeal-Democrat]

¶ Acciona Energia has acquired a 93-MW Texas wind project and started construction work. The San Roman wind farm will feature 31 Acciona Windpower AW125/3000 turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 125 meters. Acciona says San Roman brings its wind power capacity in the country to 721 MW. [North American Windpower]


January 14 Energy News

January 14, 2016

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 13 Energy News

January 13, 2016

Opinion:

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

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

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

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

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colstrip power plants (MTN News file photo)

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

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

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


January 12 Energy News

January 12, 2016

Opinion:

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

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

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

Science and Technology:

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

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

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

Siemens wind turbines.

Siemens wind turbines.

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

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

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


January 11 Energy News

January 11, 2016

Opinion:

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

 Point Beach nuclear power plant on Lake Michigan.

Point Beach nuclear power plant on Lake Michigan.

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

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pic: PA

Pic: PA

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

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

US:

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

Photo by TXU Energy

Photo by TXU Energy

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

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

Image by SolarCity

Image by SolarCity

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


January 10 Energy News

January 10, 2016

Opinion:

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

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

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

Science and Technology:

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

World:

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

Solar farm construction in North Carolina. Duke Energy photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 9 Energy News

January 9, 2016

Opinion:

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

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

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

World:

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

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

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

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

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

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

US:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gigafactory by Tesla.

Gigafactory by Tesla.

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

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


January 8 Energy News

January 8, 2016

Opinion:

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

Will we ever see a White Christmas again?

Will we ever see a White Christmas again?

World:

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

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

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

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

German renewable generation by type. Agora Energiewende image

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

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

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

SolarCentury's Blackfriars Bridge array in London. Solarcentury image

SolarCentury’s Blackfriars Bridge array in London. Solarcentury image

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

US:

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

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

Image: Duke Energy

Image: Duke Energy

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

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


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