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

July 30, 2015

12,928 links to articles in 1154 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 July 30. Latest information is that out of 99 US reactors listed by the NRC, 8 were at reduced output and 0 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell: 7/16/2015. Wildfires, caused by hot and dry weather, have plagued Alaska after a spring in which temperatures got as high as 91 degrees; seabirds have declined 70% in the past 60 years, largely because of climate change; Denmark produced more power from the wind than it could use; ExxonMobile is accused of knowing climate change was real, even as it spent money on bad science denying it; amd more.

geoharvey is one of George Harvey’s Blogs.

July 31 Energy News

July 31, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “The $7 trillion solar tsunami in our midst” Solar power providing the lowest cost electricity in much of the world. With $7 trillion of investment piling into the sector, the momentum is now unstoppable. While world leaders have been talking a lot but doing little in the run-up to the UN climate conference in December, the private sector has been tackling climate change. [The Ecologist]

Science and Technology:

¶ Carnegie Wave Power has notched 12,000 hours of operation of its Ceto 5 wave power array off Western Australia’s coast. The 720-kW array features three 240-kW fully submerged buoys anchored to the seabed, which transmit energy through hydraulic pressure onshore to drive a generator for electricity and fresh water. Survey findings are due in coming weeks. [reNews]

A diver works on a Carnegie CETO installation off Western Australia. (Image by Carnegie Wave Power)

A diver works on a Carnegie CETO installation off Western Australia. (Image by Carnegie Wave Power)

¶ There is an assumption that when a supply-demand imbalance incident happens, there will be an automatic response within 5-6 seconds from conventional (gas, coal, hydro) generators to stabilize the power supply. This has been an important talking point in an argument against having too much renewable power. But the assumption turns out to be simply wrong. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Europe’s offshore wind industry has shattered previous installation records in the first half of 2015, installing 2,342.9 MW of electricity generation capacity, triple the same time last year. Installations for the first half of 2015 had reached 2,342.9 MW, tripling the grid-connected capacity of the same period in 2014 and bringing Europe’s operating capacity up to 10,393.6 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ GE is to supply Pattern Development with 61 wind turbines for its 180-MW Meikle wind project in British Columbia. The Meikle Wind project will be the largest in the province. It will generate enough energy to power the equivalent annual energy needs of 54,000 average British Columbian homes and increase the installed wind power capacity in the province by 38%. [reNews]

35 of GE's 3.2-103 wind turbines will be installed at the site.

35 of GE’s 3.2-103 wind turbines will be installed at the site.

¶ A substantial increase in renewable energy by 2030 would result in far cheaper electricity than if South Africa persists in its bid to build 9,600 MW of nuclear power, a study by Stellenbosch University has found. The study broadly confirms the findings of two other recent expert analyses which warn that nuclear energy will be the most expensive of the options available. [BDlive]

¶ Three former TEPCO executives will stand trial over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster after an independent judicial panel of citizens on July 31 again decided that mandatory indictments are warranted. It will be the first time for TEPCO or government officials to stand formally accused of professional negligence resulting in death and injury in the nuclear crisis. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Utility scale solar has grown so in the US that utilities are now longer fighting it, with large scale solar likely to be competitive even if tax credits are removed. That is the view of SunPower, one of the biggest solar module manufacturers and project developers in the US, which just bought out the 1.5-GW solar portfolio in the US built up by Australia’s Infigen Energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The losses are continuing to mount as more coal companies report their second quarter earnings. Cloud Peak Energy announced a $53 million loss for the quarter Wednesday, and Arch Coal reported a $168 million dollar loss Thursday, following a $1 billion loss Peabody Energy reported Monday. The losses result largely from competition from natural gas and renewables. [Wyoming Public Media]

Credit Stephanie Joyce

Open pit coal mine. Credit Stephanie Joyce

¶ When the US Environmental Protection Agency announced the Clean Power Plan last summer, the agency hinted that natural gas would play a big role in reducing the nation’s dependency on coal for power generation. That scenario has already been playing out, but as EPA prepares for final rule making, it looks like the natural gas industry is in for a rude awakening. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Alabama Power proposed to the state’s public utilities commission this month to build or contract to buy 500 MW of renewable energy. The proposed 500 MW would represent about 5% of the utility’s total capacity. The package that the utility presented to the commission includes several 80-MW projects. The power would be sold at a premium to corporate customers. [Clean Energy Authority]

¶ In New York state, sheriff’s deputies arrested 10 protesters, including several yoga practitioners and a cello player, in front of Crestwood Midstream’s gates Wednesday. They were protesting Crestwood’s plans for a gas storage facility. They arrived at 8 am, unrolled yoga mats, and blockaded the company’s north entrance, performing a series of poses to cello music. [Finger Lakes Times]

¶ Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said in an email interview with Bloomberg BNA,”The climate is changing; I don’t think anybody can argue it’s not. Human activity has contributed to it.” Jeb Bush has made varying statements on climate change this year, including saying that it is arrogant to claim science is settled on the issue, an argument he has made since 2011. [Huffington Post]


July 30 Energy News

July 30, 2015

World:

¶ Israel’s largest PV field has been commissioned, after six years’ effort. The 40-MW Ketura Solar field contains 140,343 panels spread over 54.2 hectares (133.4 acres) in the southern Arava Valley. In its first six days, it supplied 1.5 million kWh to the grid. The field is owned by Arava Power Company and Électricité de France Energies Nouvelles Israel. [Jerusalem Post Israel News]

Aerial view of the 40-megawatt Ketura Solar field. (photo credit:EGE)

Aerial view of the 40-megawatt Ketura Solar field. (photo credit:EGE)

¶ Big Six utility, E.ON UK and US solar installer Sungevity have partnered to launch a residential solar programme in the UK. The ‘Go Solar’ programme will initially target homeowners in the midlands and the north of the country before being expanded into other regions. The installer’s 20-year ‘SunSure’ guarantee insures the systems’ continued performance. [Solar Power Portal]

¶ Despite the UK government making moves to scale back the level of support given to solar technology, Scotland remains committed. In the aftermath of proposals to scrap support for most renewable sources, Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is at the forefront of the renewables industry and solar is an important part of our renewable mix.” [Solar Power Portal]

¶ Iran’s quest to rejuvenate its energy industry after decades of sanctions is attracting renewable energy developers eager to plant turbines on windy ridges across the country. Iran’s government plans to bolster wind as a way of preserving crude oil for export, while providing the electricity needs of its people. Its ambition is to install 5 GW of renewable capacity by 2020. [Bloomberg]

¶ The coal industry and its supporters often argue that coal is still a relevant energy source because it’s cheap, and cheap electricity reduces energy poverty. But on Tuesday, Oxfam Australia directed an entire report to Australia’s government, saying that for the one billion people living without electricity, coal is more expensive than renewable energy sources. [ThinkProgress]

¶ Kimberley, British Columbia, announced that SunMine is commercially operational. The 1.05 MW solar farm is the province’s first grid-connected solar facility and the largest in Canada to use solar trackers. SunMine consists of 4,032 solar-cell modules mounted on 96 trackers which follow the sun’s movement, providing 38% more energy than a fixed system. [Your Renewable News]

US:

 

A lava lake inside Kilauea's overlook crater in 2008.

A lava lake inside Kilauea’s overlook crater in 2008.

¶ The island if Hawaii gets about 50% of its energy from a mixture of renewable sources. A lot of that is thanks to the state’s only geothermal plant, Puna Geothermal Venture, which sits on the eastern rift zone of the Kilauea Volcano. The plant generates about 38 MW, according to the Hawaii Electric Light Co, enough to power up to 4,400 typical Hawaiian homes. [Business Insider]

 

¶ GTM Research’s latest report explored the current and future residential solar market. The US residential solar market has grown 15 out of the last 17 quarters, saw more than 50% growth in 2014, and outperformed and out-installed the non-residential solar market for the first time. But of the 1.2 gigawatts of residential solar installed in 2014, 72% was third-party owned. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Concrete and steel columns going up atop the economy parking garage at Tampa International Airport will soon anchor the largest solar array Tampa Electric Co has ever installed. The 7,000 panels will perch atop 130 columns across the rooftop and are expected to collect enough sunshine to produce 2 MW of electricity, enough to power 250 homes on an average day. [Suncoast News]

¶ Indianapolis Power & Light Company received approval to convert a portion of a coal-fired plant to run on natural gas. The company plans to reduce its dependence on coal from 79% in 2007 to 44% 2017. The company is also adding advanced battery-based energy storage to its fleet, which will increase efficiency, and support the integration of renewable power sources. [WFYI]

¶ SolarCity introduced a new solar energy service that will make it possible for many small and medium-sized businesses to pay less for solar electricity than they pay for power from their local utility for the first time. SolarCity will initially offer its SMB service to owner-occupied business locations in California, but expects to expand it to other territories in early 2016. [AltEnergyMag]

¶ Gains in Tennessee’s robust manufacturing sector accounted for nearly half of new clean-energy jobs over the past year, and the state is among the best nationwide for overall growth in the industry, according to a new report from the national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs. About 2,600 jobs were created last year in the clean energy sector. [Knoxville News Sentinel]

¶ New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the three state-operated ski resorts at Belleayre, Gore, and Whiteface Mountain have committed to using solar power to operate their ski lift and snowmaking operations. A 25-year power purchase agreement with Borrego Solar is the most recent of several environmental initiatives the state and ORDA have undertaken. [NEWS10 ABC]

¶ Wind energy developer Iberdrola Renewables has signed a power contract to underwrite construction of an array of industrial-scale turbines along the McCain Valley of San Diego County. Southern California Edison has agreed to buy electricity from up to 67 turbines. The Tule Wind Power project should supply enough power for about 40,000 typical homes. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

¶ Exelon’s Quad Cities nuclear plant may be a goner come September. Chris Crane, CEO of the company, which is the largest nuclear plant operator in the country, made clear on a conference call with analysts that he doesn’t see a way to keep money-losing Quad Cities open without a state law charging Illinois ratepayers more to support nuclear plants. [Crain’s Chicago Business]


July 29 Energy News

July 29, 2015

World:

¶ ABB has commissioned and handed over the DolWin1 offshore wind grid connection to the Dutch-German transmission system operator TenneT. The 800 MW link connects offshore wind farms around 75 kilometers off the German coast with the country’s transmission grid. The DolWin1 grid connection can integrate enough power to supply around one million households. [PennEnergy]

ABB wind energy grid connection.

ABB wind energy grid connection.

¶ A surprise backer of a 50% renewable energy target at the Labor Party’s weekend conference was Australia’s largest coal mining and energy union. The president of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union supports Labor’s energy policy, on the condition a Labor government provide assistance for thousands of workers who might lose their jobs. [The New Daily]

¶ A New South Wales start-up plans to become Australia’s first community-owned renewable energy retailer, as well as its cheapest. Enova Energy, which was formed last year by residents from the Northern Rivers Region, aims to retail renewable electricity, while providing advice and professional services for those who want to install solar or leave the grid entirely. [CleanTechnica]

¶ SunEdison announced they have financing and started construction of the 110-MW Quilapilun solar power plant in Chile. It is expected to be its largest solar power generation facility in Latin America. The plant is forecast to generate 242 GWh annually, enough to power 117,000 homes. It will avoid about 125,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. [Energy Matters]

¶ Seeking clarity and stability, six large oil and gas companies based in Europe are calling on all world governments and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to introduce carbon pricing systems. The companies include the UK’s BG Group, BP, the Italian multinational Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Norway’s Statoil and France’s Total. [Environment News Service]

¶ Germany’s transition from coal-fired and oil-fired power to carbon-free electricity hit a new milestone on July 25, when solar, wind, and other sources of renewable energy met 78% of the day’s energy demand. That beat the old record of 74%, made in May 2014, according to Craig Morris, a journalist who has covered Germany’s energy scene for more than a decade. [TakePart]

¶ ScottishPower Renewables Ltd, a unit of Iberdrola SA, started building a £300 million ($468.5 million) wind farm in South Ayrshire, Scotland. Once complete, it will generate enough electricity for 130,000 homes. It will comprise 96 turbines for a capacity of as much as 239 MW, ScottishPower said in a statement on its website. It’s expected to start working in 2017. [Bloomberg]

US:

OPT PB40 PowerBuoy

OPT PB40 PowerBuoy

¶ Ocean Power Technologies Inc announced it has successfully deployed its PB40 PowerBuoy off the coast of New Jersey about 30 nautical miles southeast of New York City for a year-long test period. The operational buoy will provide the company with key performance data to accelerate ongoing product commercialization and technology development efforts. [HydroWorld]

¶ The Obama administration has decided to give states more time to comply with proposed regulations requiring dramatic cuts in greenhouse-gas pollution from power plants, people familiar with the plans have said. The EPA will give states an additional two years, until 2022, to begin phasing in pollution cuts, even as the agency toughens the standards for the states. [Washington Post]

¶ One of the provisions of the energy bill Vermont passed this spring is creation of a ten-member task force charged with sorting out issues related to siting solar projects. Tensions around renewable energy development surfaced at the task force’s first meeting. Members of the public criticized the task force for being stacked with government officials and industry developers. [Vermont Public Radio]

¶ Moody’s Investors Service issued a report, “Coal-fired Power Plants Won’t Soon Be Replaced by Alternative Sources.” It says coal-fired electricity generation capacity was roughly 27% of total electric supply in 2014, and unless carbon regulations are accelerated, it will continue to be a leading US fuel source in the foreseeable future, [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide] (What are they smoking?)

¶ Massachusetts lawmakers are considering bills that would add a new tax to help pay for expanded monitoring of Seabrook’s nuclear power plant and greatly extend the size of the emergency zone. One bill would defray the costs of the state’s radiation control monitoring program. The other would increase the zone to a 50-mile radius, from its current 10-mile radius. [The Daily News of Newburyport]


July 28 Energy News

July 28, 2015

World:

¶ Norway is hoping to become the “green battery of Europe” by using its hydropower plants to provide instant extra electricity if production from wind and solar power sources in other countries fade. Engineers believe they could use the existing network to instantly boost European supplies and avoid other countries having to switch on fossil fuel plants to make up shortfalls. [Climate News Network]

Norwegian dam. Statkraft photo.

Norwegian dam. Statkraft photo.

¶ Much of the new electric capacity in Italy is in small installations. There were 190.1 MW of wind farms in the first half of 2015, spread among 384 installations. The 127.4 MW of new solar capacity included 46 MW in systems of 3 kW to 6 kW, and 27.86 MW in systems in the 20 kW to 200 kW range. The 53.9 MW of hydropower was spread among 95 plants. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Solar power company Canadian Solar is close to complete construction of a 100-MW project Grand Renewable Solar Project, in Haldimand county, Ontario, with 445,000 of the company’s CS6X MaxPower high-performance modules. GRS is expected to produce approximately 170,000 MWh of electricity per year. And the solar energy will help power about 17,000 homes. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Gamesa, a leader in wind technology, will supply nine wind turbines to repower a wind farm in the UK, developed by a joint venture between utility E.ON and renewable generator Energy Power Resources Ltd. Old turbines commissioned in 1993 will be updated with modern technology to produce twice as much power using fewer than half as many turbines. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Japan approved an increase in compensation payments for the Fukushima Disaster to ¥7.07 trillion ($57.18 billion), as tens of thousands of evacuees remain in temporary housing more than four years after the disaster. TEPCO, the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station, will also receive ¥950 billion more in additional public funds. [Reuters India]

¶ Statkraft has started construction on a 3-MW battery project at a run-of-river power plant in Dörverden, Lower Saxony, Germany. Three batteries of 1-MW installed capacity are being mounted on site. The aim of the pilot project is to deliver control reserve power to the German transmission grid. The company expects the batteries to be in operation by the end of the year. [reNews]

Image: Site of Statkraft run of river battery project (Statkraft)

Image: Site of Statkraft run of river battery project (Statkraft)

US:

¶ FERC issued its monthly report on new US generating capacity. CleanTechnica added a careful estimate of new rooftop solar capacity, and here are the numbers: 44% of new capacity came from wind power, 41.5% came from solar power, 13% was biomass, and 2% was natural gas. Overall, for the first half of 2015, renewables accounted for 78.4% of new capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Warren Buffett joined leaders of a dozen major US businesses at the White House in calling for robust action on global warming. Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, Walmart, General Motors, Cargill, Bank of America and others announced over $140 billion in investments in low-carbon projects and other actions as they shift toward greater reliance on renewable energy. [Omaha World-Herald]

¶ The Clean Power Plan is expected to be finalized soon, and two new reports refute opponents’ claims that the plan will increase electric bills. A Synapse Energy Economics scenario includes investments in renewables and energy efficiency. It finds the average US household participating in energy efficiency programs should save $35 on its electric bills in 2030. [Morrow County Sentinel]

¶ A study released Monday by the University of Wyoming Wind Energy Research Center presents a case for California regulators to turn to Wyoming wind power to help offset the natural ups and downs of wind and solar power generated in their state. The report says Wyoming wind could help California over a billion gallons of water annually and help Californians reduce utility bills. [KOLO]

¶ Installation of the turbine foundations for Deepwater Wind’s 30-MW Block Island project started Sunday and will take about eight weeks. Submarine cable installation is to commence in the spring of 2016, followed by turbine installation in the summer. With completion of grid connection, the wind farm is planned to be producing power in the final quarter of 2016. [SeeNews Renewables]

Alstom Haliade wind turbines. ©Alstom / Nicolas Job

Alstom Haliade wind turbines. ©Alstom / Nicolas Job

¶ Pumped hydro storage has potential on Oahu. It uses cheap solar energy during the day to pump water uphill to a reservoir, and then releases that water at night, running down a pipe, turning a turbine and making electric power. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative has decided against battery technology, and has opted to implement pumped-hydro storage. [Pacific Business News (Honolulu)]

¶ Southern California spot wholesale power prices slumped to negative levels, a signal for generators to cut output, after wind production surged above forecast. Wind turbines, primarily in the lower half of the state, produced an estimated 1,981 MW in the hour ending at 10 a.m. local time, 73% more than the California Independent System Operator Inc had predicted. [Bloomberg]

¶ A Texas company is moving forward with an effort to build a massive wind power project in Aroostook County, Maine, that would be the largest of its kind in New England. Applications in, EDP Renewables awaits the green light from the state before it can begin building the 250-MW wind project in northern Maine that could power roughly 70,000 homes. [Fort Worth Star Telegram]

¶ Bill Fehrman, CEO of MidAmerican Energy, said Monday the company could get up to 57% of its energy from wind with its latest renewable energy project. Wind’s growing presence in MidAmerican’s portfolio is encouraging, and so is news that the utility is looking to invest in Iowa solar projects; both community solar and utility-sized solar are being considered. [DesMoinesRegister.com]


July 27 Energy News

July 27, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Why Bigger Is No Longer Better In Energy” A product, technology, or energy source that is both cost-effective and bankable will scale, and this is the key to victory. The good news for photovoltaics is that nothing scales like silicon. And the earth’s silicon supply is virtually infinite. Silicon Valley is not called Germanium Valley for a reason (though it could have been). [OilPrice.com]

Science and Technology:

¶ An Entrade Energiesystems E3 micro-scale biomass CHP plant has passed 1000 hours of operation (nearly seven weeks), with almost no human interference. The plant produces 22 kW of electrical energy and 55 kW of thermal energy, and plants can be connected in series. The unit fits in a standard shipping container, and can be installed in less than a day. [Renewable Energy Focus]

Photo: © ENTRADE Energiesysteme AG

Photo: © ENTRADE Energiesysteme AG

World:

¶ Tougher national caps on the emissions of common air pollutants may soon be headed to the European Union, following the approval of European Commission proposals by the Environment Committee of the European Parliament. The new caps call for the emissions in question to be reduced by 70% by 2030 (saving an estimated €40 billion in air pollution costs). [CleanTechnica]

¶ New Delhi-based ACME Solar Energy Pvt Ltd commissioned two solar power plants in the Indian state of Rajasthan with a combined capacity of 150 MWp, it announced on Friday. The complex consists of five PV plants in the Thar desert. ACME Solar is a joint venture of ACME Cleantech Solutions Ltd, EDF Energies Nouvelles, and EREN Renewable Energy. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The latest challenge at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is to remove a 20-ton piece of debris from a pool holding over 500 spent fuel rods. More than four years after the plant was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami, Fukushima Daiichi’s operator TEPCO said it would start work on the critical task this week using a crane especially designed for the work. [Wall Street Journal]

US:

¶ Schneider Electric, S&C Electric Company, and Oncor, which does transmission and distribution, teaming up to put together a microgrid featuring nine separate distributed generation sources along with energy storage infrastructure. Oncor says the project is the “most advanced microgrid in North America,” and will provide insight into optimization strategies. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Although Kodiak Island relied on hydropower for 80% of the electricity, it also burned 2.8 million gallons of diesel oil, costing $7 million, per year. Kodiak Electric Association set a goal of producing 95% of the community’s electrical needs with renewable energy by 2020. They actually arrived there well ahead of time, and are now 99.7 % renewably powered. [GreenBiz]

Alaska's Kodiak Island has switched from diesel fuel dependence to relying almost entirely on renewable energy. Flickr/Mandalit.

Alaska’s Kodiak Island has switched from diesel fuel dependence to relying almost entirely on renewable energy. Flickr/Mandalit.

¶ A bipartisan energy bill that includes a 50-GW National Geothermal Goal is awaiting the Senate Finance Committee’s markup on Tuesday. The bill would have federal agencies identify priority areas for geothermal development, and facilitate new discoveries by allowing limited non-competitive leasing of adjacent lands where a new discovery has been made. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Developers of a plan by a Swanton family for what could become Vermont’s latest large-scale wind power project want to ask for state approval before the end of the year in hopes that construction can begin on what may be a seven-turbine, 20-MW installation before the end of 2016. The Swanton Wind project would be on a ridge northeast of St. Albans. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

¶ Southern California Edison has launched its sixth renewable energy solicitation for renewable electricity as part of a program to procure resources sized between 3 and 20 MW. The company is seeking a total of 104.8 MW, 54.8 MW to meet the its RAM procurement targets, and 50 MW of solar resources to support launching the company’s Green Rate program. [AZoCleantech]

¶ New Jersey is making good progress toward achieving the goals its four-year-old Energy Master Plan, lowering costs to consumers, promoting a diverse set of in-state generation, and supporting renewable energy, the state Board of Public Utilities says. The BPU is gearing up for a series of public hearings on the plan, and some people are likely to contest its opinion. [NJ Spotlight]

¶ General Electric Co wants to be a “sizable” player in the market for systems that store energy to manage power volatility, a sector the company expects to quadruple to $6 billion by 2020. Demand for industrial battery systems is being driven by increasing reliance on renewable energy sources and the potential to add energy to the grid quickly when power needs spike. [BusinessDay]


July 26 Energy News

July 26, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Coal is losing the war” While coal industry supporters blame the EPA for its decline, coal’s enemies also include the vast natural gas industry, rising renewable energy, decreased global demand, Wall Street and deep-pocketed nonprofits that deem coal a public-health threat. And they have recently notched a host of victories that show the war is becoming a rout. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Air pollution at a power plant. US National Park Service photo. This photo is in the public domain because it was prepared by a federal employee for the US government.

Air pollution at a power plant, in the old days before EPA-required improvements. US National Park Service photo. This photo is in the public domain because it was prepared by a federal employee for the US government.

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are trying to create an ultrasonic device to keep bats away from wind-turbine blades. The scientists want to reduce the number of bats killed by wind turbines by designing a whistle that would attach to a blade and imitate a bat call. The ultrasonic sound produced would alert bats to danger. [WPRI 12 Eyewitness News]

¶ Boeing has a new patent for nuclear engines that use lasers, with the US Patent and Trademark Office’s approval of an application earlier this month. Boeing’s concept for an engine would provide energy-efficient thrust by firing lasers at radioactive material to produce a fusion reaction and could be used to drive spacecraft, rockets and missiles. [International Business Times UK]

World:

¶ An IMF study says worldwide energy subsidies are much greater than previously known. The combination of direct and indirect subsidies is projected at $5.3 trillion in 2015, or 6.5% of global GDP. Most of this arises from countries setting energy taxes below levels fully reflecting damage to the environment associated with fossil fuel consumption. Country-level estimates are available. [imf.org]

¶ Glasgow-based Start Renewable Energy has won a £350,000 contract to supply heat pumps for a system which will, for the first time in the UK, see solar thermal panels used to power district heating. Star will design and build a large-scale heat pump system connected to a solar energy farm to be built in the new town of Cranbrook, now under construction near Exeter. [Herald Scotland]

¶ China’s solar power industry depends on subsidies from the government, but the money available, which the government derives from coal-fired power generation, is dropping as coal prices fall. The government owes 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) to fifteen solar energy companies. Industry representatives say the sector will be stunted as payments are delayed. [WantChinaTimes]

Solar PVs on Chinese rooftops. Photo by Ismoon. GNU Free Documentation License. [Wikimedia Commons] 

Solar PVs on Chinese rooftops. Photo by Ismoon. GNU Free Documentation License. [Wikimedia Commons]

¶ Chinese solar module manufacturer Suntech has supplied Indian utility Adani Power with 36,470 modules for development of a 9.3-MW peak solar power project in Mundra, Gujarat. The solar power project is expected to generate 13 GWh of electricity each year, which would be adequate to meet the electricity requirements of about 32,000 households in Mundra. [Greentech Lead]

¶ Canadian solar company SkyPower Global is to sign an agreement with the energy ministry of Kenya to develop 1-GW of solar power in that country. The project will be developed over five years and is expected to cost $2.2 billion. Africa has recently been getting attention of renewable power developers worldwide, and the SkyPower’s deal is one of many. [Greentech Lead]

US:

¶ The state of Hawaii submitted testimony opposing Hawaiian Electric Industries’ merger with NextEra Energy Inc, as currently proposed. Governor David Ige outlined the reasons for this. “Although I welcome capital investment in Hawaii with respect to energy, any merger or investment must align with the state’s 100 percent renewable energy goal,” Ige says. [North American Windpower]

¶ Village Green Ventures, is building a 1-MW anaerobic digester at the Brunswick Landing business park in Brunswick, Maine. It will have three steel tanks, the largest of which will stand 75 feet tall. Digesters can eat most any kind of organic material, including food waste, sludge, manure and cooking grease. This one is going to need roughly 180 tons of waste each day. [WGME]


July 25 Energy News

July 25, 2015

World:

¶ Grid-connected wind generation capacity in the EU reached 129 GW in 2014, meeting 8% of Europe’s demand for electricity. A report by the European Commission’s in-house science service, projects that at least 12% of electricity will be from wind by 2020, a significant contribution to the European energy goal that 20% of energy come from renewable sources by 2020. [E&T magazine]

Wind power makes a valuable contribution to renewables targets. Photo credit: EU.

Wind power makes a valuable contribution to renewables targets. Photo credit: EU.

¶ Up until mid-last year, oil prices hovered over $100 per barrel, but with its excessive production paired with falling demand, the prices have declined by half and stayed low. The coal industry has also been struggling. Years of buildup in the mining capacity have forced global coal prices to tumble and there’s little hope that the industry will be back firmly to its knees. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The United Arab Emirates’ Energy Ministry has decided to terminate gasoline subsidies, as the country’s economy is being negatively affected by low oil prices. The average cost of gasoline in the UAE is equivalent to $1.78 per gallon and the policy change should increase the cost closer to global prices. The policy change is also very likely to reduce waste.[CleanTechnica]

¶ Kenya has outpaced its African peers in renewable energy production, and is ranked top in the five globally in geothermal energy investments. A renewables global status report 2015 shows Kenya increased its green energy output by 358 MW last year, more than doubling its stock to about 600 MW. The report said future policies need to respond to emerging opportunities. [The Star]

¶ Insurance giant Aviva has announced new targets to invest £500 million a year for the next five years in low-carbon infrastructure, in a move that will prevent 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The investments will be made in renewable energy and energy efficiency infrastructure in Europe. They will include investment in solar PV and wind power. [Business Green]

¶ Swedish utility Vattenfall AB says preparatory works on its 54.4-MW Ray wind farm near Kirkwhelpington, northern England, will begin this month. The £90 million ($139.6 million) wind park will start generating power in early 2017. Once fully operational, the facility is expected to produce enough power to meet the annual needs of over 30,000 UK households. [SeeNews Renewables]

Source: News Oresund. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Source: News Oresund. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

US:

¶ US solar manufacturer SunPower has announced that it will build a 100-MW solar PV power plant for NV Energy in Nevada. SunPower made the announcement on Thursday, revealing that it had signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with NV Energy in Nevada to build a 100-MW solar PV power plant in the Eldorado Valley of Boulder City, Nevada. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The state of Massachusetts has a goal to produce 1,600 MW of solar power by the year 2020. To do this, the state Senate voted on Thursday to raise the maximum amount of solar power permitted to be resold by consumers to the main grid. This is part of a far larger bill intended to fight against climate change, called the Climate Change Preparedness Bill. [Apex Tribune]

¶ An Arizona utility can burn trash and claim the electricity it generates is coming from renewable resources, the state Court of Appeals has ruled. The judges rejected arguments by the Sierra Club that the Arizona Corporation Commission acted illegally in concluding the Mohave Electric Cooperative could meet part of its renewable-energy mandate through trash. [Arizona Daily Star]

¶ Almonds, which have been vilified during the current drought for being one of California’s thirstier crops, have a surprisingly small carbon footprint compared to other nutrient-rich crops, according to a report from a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. California grows about 80% of the world’s commercial almonds. [UC Davis]

¶ North Carolina is just beginning to explore offshore wind development. The federal government has identified possible sites off Kitty Hawk, Wilmington and Bald Head Island, but North Carolina’s offshore wind farms are years away. Still, with more uniform winds, offshore wind energy will be “the game changer,” as we transition from our use of dirty fuels. [News & Observer]

¶ A valve that failed during three inspections over the last five years was cited by the NRC as the reason water leaked into an electrical equipment room after the transformer explosion and fires at Indian Point in May. About half an inch of water was found on the floor of the switchgear room, warranting a special inspection by the NRC leading to a green-level violation. [Westfair Online]


July 24 Energy News

July 24, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ The competition in the nascent battery storage market continues to intensify, with South Korean LG Chem launching a new 6.4-kWh battery storage system that approaches the key $1,000/kWh mark. The system is already bringing costs down at the top end of the market, matching the pricing of the Tesla Powerwall, with the advantage that it is actually in the market. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ In June, Dutch district court ordered the Netherlands to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 25% lower than 1990 levels by 2020. This is several percentage points deeper than the 17% reduction the country had been envisaging. The same reasoning used by the Dutch judges for declaring tort law valid for dealing with climate change could be applied elsewhere. [CleanTechnica]

The Netherlands has long embraced renewable energy, but some judges say it must do more. Uberprutser, CC BY-SA.

The Netherlands has long embraced renewable energy, but some judges say it must do more. Uberprutser, CC BY-SA.

¶ In a ruling welcomed by Gaz Métro and the City of Saint-Hyacinthe, the Régie de l’énergie du Québec has authorized the utility company to purchase the renewable natural gas (RNG) produced by the city and build the infrastructure required to connect the output to its distribution network. Up to 13 million cubic metres per year of RNG may be produced. [Your Renewable News]

¶ According to a recent announcement, Indian solar PV manufacturer Rolta Power signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese firm Zhenfa New Energy Science and Technology to develop solar power projects in India. The companies would together install 2 GW of solar power projects by 2020, which is expected to generate revenue of around $2.03 billion. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Japan’s foreign aid arm Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) plans to fund solar power parks in the country, giving a fillip to India’s green energy plan. To start with, Jica is ready to invest $500 million in the proposed solar parks. Other institutions such as Germany-based KfW Bankengruppe and World Bank also want to invest in solar parks. [Livemint]

¶ US renewable energy development company SunEdison Inc says it signed a long-term power agreement with the Tata Power Delhi Distribution to provide 180 MW of solar power. This is the largest deal SunEdison has signed under the open access solar framework that allows renewable energy firms to sell power directly through the national grid to end-user. [mydigitalfc.com]

¶ As many as fifty-five cities in twenty-seven Indian states and union territories are currently being developed as solar or green cities, parliament was told on Thursday. The fifty-five solar cities are being developed under ‘Development of Solar Cities programme’, Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal told the Lok Sabha in a written statement. [Greentech Lead]

¶ French lawmakers passed legislation that included a last-minute amendment initially rejected by the government to increase the target price of carbon to €56 ($61.48) a ton in 2020 and €100 a ton in 2030. The rate, now €14.50 a ton, climbs to €22 a ton in 2016 and is integrated in a levy on fossil fuels. This fulfills a campaign pledge of President Francois Hollande. [Bloomberg]

US:

The Benefits of Transit in the United States: A Review and Analysis of Benefit-Cost Studies, a report from the Mineta Transportation Institute, has found that public transit systems in the US provide very notable and varied net benefits to the regions where they operate. The report considers studies on economic benefits and costs of US public transit system. [CleanTechnica]

Image Credit: Charlotte Lynx

Image Credit: Charlotte Lynx

¶ Developers in Oklahoma and other windy states are ramping up construction on wind farms in the wake of a last-minute renewal of a key federal tax credit that took place at the end of 2014. The American Wind Energy Association said 13,600 MW of capacity was under construction across 101 projects in 24 states. Oklahoma is expected to add another 1,440 MW. [NewsOK.com]

¶ Colorado officials are planning for an expected EPA rule next month that could require a 30% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions nationwide by 2030. The director of the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division said a number of options are being considered, including updating coal plants, shifting to natural-gas, more renewable energy, and conservation. [Colorado Springs Gazette]

¶ The earlier revenue-neutral New York State Carbon Tax proposal has now transformed into a combined tax credit and investment proposal, according to the Network For Sustainable Financial Markets. The proposal would allow for tax credits to low-income groups, in addition to encouraging investments for reduced carbon emissions or climate change mitigation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to federal officials the application for a combined construction and operation license for the Calvert Cliffs 3 nuclear reactor, has been withdrawn by UniStar Nuclear Energy. When it was first proposed late last decade, a modern European-style reactor at Calvert Cliffs was targeted to go on-line in 2015. Instead, July of 2015 marks the plan’s official demise. [Bay Net]


July 23 Energy News

July 23, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Nuclear Almost As Good As Solar, Says Report Prepared For Nuclear Group” Nuclear power helps lower the selling price of electricity, according to a recent report prepared for a nuclear advocacy organization, but it seems to fall short of renewables on the same score. The report is an economic analysis on nuclear power prepared by the Brattle Group for Nuclear Matters. [Forbes]

World:

¶ A 50% renewable energy share in Australia by 2030 is “entirely achievable”, the head of the Clean Energy Council said in response to media reports that the Australian Labor Party would adopt such a target. He said meeting the target would require an energy and climate change policy that would facilitate shutting down old coal-fired plants. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind Farm in West Australia. Author: Lawrence Murray. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

Wind Farm in West Australia. Author: Lawrence Murray. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ Given the availability of solar power at 4¢ per kWh, a price with which crude oil could only compete if offered below $7 per barrel, the ‘carbon bubble’ is expected to burst, Wermuth Asset Management has warned. According to the company, this will have profound implications for the Middle East’s oil producing countries, global financial markets and the world. [Trade Arabia]

¶ China will develop a renewable energy micro-power grid policy, to promote sustainable development of energy resources, according to the National Energy Administration. Micro-power, a paradigm that is the opposite of large, centralized power stations, has electricity sources that are small, mass producible, quick to deploy, cost competitive and rapidly scalable. [eco-business.com]

¶ Deutsche Bank has painted a sunny picture for solar in India, stating annual investments in the clean power technology could surpass investment in coal by 2019. In its India 2020: Utilities & Renewables report, the bank says that by 2020, renewables could account for 20% of the nation’s power generation capacity – and the electricity will be cheaper than coal. [Energy Matters]

¶ Environment Victoria’s new report, Six Steps to Climate Leadership: The Path to a Cleaner, Healthier and More Prosperous Victoria, outlines changes the state could make to transform into a “renewable energy heavyweight on the global stage”. A seven-star housing standard, low-income retrofits, a vision for reaching zero net emission, are just parts of the vision. [The Fifth Estate]

¶ Scottish Power reported a 24% drop in its coal-powered electricity generation in the first half of this year. The Spanish-owned energy giant, which is based in Glasgow, is preparing for the likely shut-down of the massive Longannet station in Fife next year. Renewable energy generation was up 27%, to reach half of the coal-powered figure of more than 4 GWh. [BBC News]

Longannet is one of the biggest coal-fired power stations in Europe.

Longannet is one of the biggest coal-fired power stations in Europe.

¶ Renewable energy company SunEdison announced that it has signed a power purchase agreement with Tata Power Delhi Distribution. The agreement was signed for supplying electricity from a 180 MW solar plant that it would build in Madhya Pradesh. SunEdison will sell electricity to Tata Power for 20 years. It is said to be the largest such agreement ever signed. [PrepSure]

US:

¶ According to the recently-released BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2014, the US was the world’s largest and most diverse energy producer in 2014. But things are not as simple as BP’s calculations. Different grades of oil and gas are not the same. BP may have been correct, according to their methods of evaluation, but based on the energy content of the fuel, it is not. [Energy Collective]

¶ SunEdison Inc completed a 4.1-MW solar power plant for the City of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The solar power plant, located in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, will supply the municipality and Cape Cod Community College under a 20-year power purchase agreement. SunEdison and partner BlueWave Capital have installed 16 MW of solar for New Bedford. [Solar Industry]

¶ With 1,661 MW of newly installed wind turbines coming online during the second quarter of 2015 and more than 13,600 MW under construction, American wind power continues to grow. Florida’s first purchase of wind energy, from a wind farm in Oklahoma, shows a growing trend in the Southeast, as does a new utility-scale wind farm in North Carolina. [Windpower Engineering]

There are now 67,870 MW of installed wind capacity in the US and over 49,000 wind turbines online.

There are now 67,870 MW of installed wind capacity in the US and over 49,000 wind turbines online.

¶ Renewable energy sources accounted for nearly 70% of new electrical generation placed in service in the US during the first six months this year. According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Energy Infrastructure Update, wind alone accounted for nearly 2 GW of new generating capacity – or 50.64% of all new capacity year-to-date. [North American Windpower]

¶ US developer Swaggart Wind Power has unveiled plans for a 500-MW wind farm in northern Oregon. The company anticipates constructing the project in phases, a site certificate application says. The project will consist of up to 292 turbines divided into two areas, Wheatridge West and Wheatridge East, linked via a 230 kV transmission line up to 35 miles long. [reNews]

¶ Scituate is the first community in Massachusetts to generate 100% of its power for public buildings from green energy sources. The town installed the solar farm at the former landfill 2 years ago and the wind turbine was erected 3 years ago on the Driftway. The vice-chair of the Scituate Board of Selectmen said each project has earned the town over $250,000 annually. [95.9 WATD-FM]

¶ A proposal by Kansas’ largest electric utility to raise its rates by $152 million a year is drawing strong criticism, particularly as parts of it could discourage consumers from installing solar panels or increasing efficiency. Westar says it needs rate increases to cover costs to meet a federal air pollution standard and for upgrades at the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant. [Salina.com]


July 22 Energy News

July 22, 2015

World:

¶ French lawmakers will adopt a long-delayed energy law on Wednesday to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear reactors and lower carbon emissions by cutting the use of fossil fuels. The sweeping energy transition law reflects a campaign pledge more than three years ago by President Francois Hollande to cut nuclear energy in favor of renewables. [Bloomberg]

Four solaire Félix Trombe Solar power engine in Font Romeu France. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons.

Four solaire Félix Trombe Solar power engine in Font Romeu France. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa will equip 250 MW of wind farms in Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, India, under a contract from independent power producer Orange. The three orders include 125 pieces of its G97-2.0 MW Class S wind turbines, tailor-designed for Indian conditions. The deals also include operation and maintenance. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Renewable Obligation support for solar farms under 5 MW will be scrapped after 1 April 2016, under UK Department of Energy and Climate Change plans outlined today. The government seeks to remove all renewable obligation support for solar as a reaction to an “over-allocation of renewable subsidies” which is outspending the Levy Control Framework budget. [Solar Power Portal]

¶ Mayors from around the world declared Tuesday that climate change is real, man-made and must be stopped as a matter of moral imperative, gathering at the Vatican to announce new measures to fight global warming and bask in Pope Francis’ ecological star power. The Vatican had invited the 60 mayors to conference ahead of UN climate negotiations. [LubbockOnline.com]

¶ Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is set to unveil a bold climate policy goal requiring half of the country’s large-scale energy to be generated using renewable sources within 15 years. He will use this weekend’s ALP national conference in Melbourne to announce the ambitious goal, dramatically beefing up Labor’s renewable energy target. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Ongoing expansion of solar energy capacity in India has prompted Deutsche Bank, the international lender based in Frankfurt, Germany, to revise its growth forecast for the segment in India to 34 GW by 2020. The forecast in the report, “India 2020: Utilities & renewables,” is a 240% increase on the previous projection of 14 GW for the period. [Greentech Lead]

¶ The Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Finance Corporation to develop an initial two 50-MW solar power projects in the country. These projects will likely be the first of many. Zambia’s President has directed the IDC to develop at least 600 MW of solar power capacity as soon as possible. [Energy Matters]

US:

¶ Coastal Risk Consulting, LLC, a new venture in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has unveiled a first-of-its-kind flood forecast service for more than 50 million coastal properties in the US. CRC’s proprietary models promote property resilience by identifying climate change threats, assessing coastal flood risk and potential consequences, and evaluating adaptation solutions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A plan to run a 1,000-MW power line down Lake Champlain and across Vermont to bring Canadian power to southern New England is getting key support in the Green Mountain State. Vermont officials and the CEO of TDI New England said the company has reached agreements with four state agencies, three towns and the state’s largest power company. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

Lake Champlain and mountains in Vermont at sunrise. Photo by Ammunation1. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

Lake Champlain and mountains in Vermont at sunrise. Photo by Ammunation1. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Hewlett-Packard officials announced that the company has signed a 12-year power purchase agreement with SunEdison, which will supply 112 MW of wind power. That will meet the electricity demands of all five of HP’s Texas data centers. It is the equivalent of powering 42,600 homes and will keep over 340,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually from being emitted into the air. [eWeek]

¶ NRG says it wants to be more than the ordinary electric utility, powering lights and appliances. The company is trying to serve electric vehicle owners with its EVgo in-home charging units. NRG has also set up a network of stations for away-from-home charging. The company claims hundreds of stations and says that it continues to expand nationally. [Alternative Energy Stocks]

¶ New York Mayor Bill de Blasio set another aggressive environmental target to reduce the city’s carbon emissions within the next 15 years. At a Vatican conference on climate change, de Blasio said the city would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030. That benchmark would be on target for the city’s larger goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. [Capital New York]

¶ The American wind energy industry praised senators for overwhelming bipartisan support in the US Senate Finance Committee. The committee voted to extend over 50 tax policies through 2016, including incentives for US wind farms. The 23-3 preserved language that allows wind farms to qualify so long as they start construction while the tax credits are in place. [Windpower Engineering]

¶ Georgia Power announced an on-base 46-MW AC solar facility planned at the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. The project was approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission and will be the fifth large-scale solar project developed by Georgia Power in coordination with the military. The company is working with the Navy to finalize project details. [Satellite PR News]

¶ Pacific Gas and Electric Company celebrated connecting 10,000 solar customers each in three of California’s largest cities, Bakersfield, Fresno and San Jose, as part of PG&E’s milestone of connecting the 175,000th solar customer to its electric grid. Also, a survey found that 25% of Californians are considering solar panels, showing their interest in clean energy. [MarketWatch]


July 21 Energy News

July 21, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Utility Solar May Cost Less, But It’s Also Worth Less” A report released this week asserts that utility-scale solar is much more economical than small-scale solar. The clear implication is that we should let incumbent utilities build or buy solar from large-scale arrays instead of allowing customers to generate their own power. There are several reasons to question this. [ilsr.org]

World:

¶ Offshore UK wind projects going into construction in 2020 could deliver clean power at a cost that is lower than that delivered by new gas-fired power plants, according to a study by consultancy BVG Associated. The report was commissioned by renewable energy developer Statkraft and details how the offshore wind sector could comfortably beat the £100/MWh goal. [Business Green]

Offshore wind turbines. 

Offshore wind turbines.

¶ During most of the past ten years the upwards trend of China’s energy imports was supported by strong advances in all the main elements, oil, gas and coal. In the past eighteen months, this pattern has showed signs of a fundamental shift, with coal imports falling steeply and much greater uncertainty about future volumes arising. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

¶ Sweden’s state-owned energy group Vattenfall announced a massive 36.3 billion krona ($4.2 billion) write-down Tuesday tied to looming closures of two nuclear reactors and slumping lignite activity in Germany, with competion from renewables. Vattenfall said second quarter losses jumped to 25 billion krona, while revenue fell 1.3% to 36.1 billion krona. [Yahoo! Maktoob News]

US:

¶ Only last month the California Farm Bureau Federation reported that local officials were still a bit iffy over prospects for scaling up a demo-scale solar desalination plant for the water-starved San Joaquin Valley. But now the plant’s developer announced plans upscaling it to a commercial-scale facility capable of producing 1.6 billion gallons of fresh water per year. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Cornell Tech is building an applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City. It will feature environmentally friendly classrooms and lots of green space, but its most noteworthy feature will be a 250 foot tall dormitory. Designed to house 520 people when it’s completed in 2017, the dormitory will be the tallest Passive House building in the world. [CleanTechnica]

Image Credit: Handel Architects

Image Credit: Handel Architects

¶ Renewable Edge® installed its 1000th Integrated Wireless Solar Payphone Power Supply System Kit to New York City payphones. Renewable Edge system replaces the utility grid power connection needed to operate New York City payphones with a solar powered battery system powering wireless routers that communicate with existing cell towers. [PR Newswire India]

¶ A new solar farm is powering Vermont’s correctional facility in St. Albans and has helped fund the wish for a local Make-A-Wish child. The 500-kW solar project next to the prison is part of a broader solar initiative for state facilities, spearheaded by Governor Peter Shumlin, to supply solar energy for state buildings and provides taxpayer savings from reduced electric bills. [vtdigger.org]

¶ After decades of providing the punch line in jokes about snowstorms, also-ran sports teams and urban decline, Buffalo, New York, Queen City of the Lakes is suddenly experiencing something new: an economic turnaround, helped by renewable energy. Parents who once told their children to seek their fortunes elsewhere are now telling them to come back. [New York Times]

¶ Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has ensured that a laundry-list of tax incentives, including a two-year extension of the wind energy production tax credit, are included in a bill the Senate Finance Committee will consider on July 21. Allies of non-renewable energy sources have worked hard against the inclusion of the wind energy provision. [North American Windpower]

¶ Regional power grid administrator ISO New England is planning $4.8 billion in transmission infrastructure upgrades that will be underway or complete by 2023, bringing the total investment in the reliability of the system to $12 billion since 2002. New England has 210 reliability projects proposed, planned or under construction, and 25 projects in service. [Hartford Business]


July 20 Energy News

July 20, 2015

 Opinion:

¶ “The Fossil Fuel Energy Industry Is Now Entering Terminal Decline” The detail is interesting and important, but unless we recognise the central proposition, that the fossil fuel age is coming to an end, and within 15 to 30 years, not 50 to 100, we risk making serious and damaging mistakes in climate and economic policy, in investment strategy and in geopolitics and defence. [CleanTechnica]

Lignite mine, "Turów", Poland. Author Anna Uciechowska. GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons. 

Lignite mine, “Turów”, Poland. Author Anna Uciechowska. GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons.

Science and Technology:

¶ A study just published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces,”Efficient Electrochemical CO2 Conversion Powered by Renewable Energy,” demonstrates that current, state-of-the-art renewable energy sources can efficiently power large-scale CO2 conversion systems. A US DOE scientist says the data “shows that large-scale CO2 conversion technologies are practical.” [Nanowerk]

¶ IBM has shared details on its program to harness powerful computers to forecast weather and other factors that determine the output of solar and wind installations. Using machine learning and advanced data analytics, IBM is aggressively pushing to give utilities, plant managers, and grid operators clearer guidance on what their arrays will produce. [MIT Technology Review]

World:

¶ Electricity retailing giant AGL Energy has taken the industry by surprise by offering 7.2-kWh battery storage systems at less than $10,000 in four Australian states. The price includes an inverter, control system, and installation, including connection to a rooftop solar system. The price is less than one third of that offered for the same battery storage system to wholesalers. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Australian Government’s insistence that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation cease investing in small-scale solar power could mean many pensioners and low-to-middle income households miss out on significant electricity bill savings. Councils have used CEFC funding to enabled pensioners to install solar power systems at zero up front cost and low payments. [Energy Matters]

Photo by SteKrueBe. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons. 

Photo by SteKrueBe. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Germany added more than three times the amount of offshore wind capacity in the first six months of this year than in the same period of 2014 and the country looks set to reach half of its 2020 offshore target of 6,500 MW later this year. Some 1,765 MW of new offshore capacity were installed in the first six months of 2015, compared with 492 MW in January-June 2014. [Reuters UK]

¶ The Australian Capital Territory government says it has been swamped by thirty submissions representing 967 MW of potential solar plus storage capacity in response to its call for interest on its next generation solar program. The ACT government intends to commission around 50 MW of capacity, in what will likely be Australia’s first large scale solar plus storage project. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Negev Energy, a consortium of Israel’s Shikun & Binui and Spain’s Abengoa, has signed an agreement with the Israeli Government to construct a 121-MW thermo-solar power plant in the Negev desert. The project is expected to cost around $1.05 billion, and will be financed by the European Investment Bank and the US Overseas Private Investment. [Energy Business Review]

¶ Concerned about running out of nuclear fuel, India is creating a strategic uranium reserve to ensure that its reactors can keep producing electricity without interruption. The reserve could be sufficient for five to ten years’ supply of nuclear fuel. Nuclear represents a about 2% of the baseload power for densely populated India, with 20 reactors having a total capacity of 4,780 MW. [MINING.com]

US:

¶ Drilling is scheduled to start next month at three sites in American Samoa identified as potential locations for a geothermal power plant. Geothermal power is one of the renewable energy projects the American Samoa Power Authority is undertaking as it attempts to reduce the territory’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. Scientists say the chance of positive results is high. [Radio New Zealand]

Pago Pago, American Samoa. Photo: AFP

Pago Pago, American Samoa. Photo: AFP

¶ Nevada Power is seeking approval to build two 100-MW solar energy projects as part of a three-year plan to help replace the utility‘s coal-fired capacity. The prices in the proposed 20-year agreements with Boulder Solar and Playa Solar 2 are under $50 per MWh. The average cost of solar renewable energy delivered to Nevada Power in 2014 was $137.65 per MWh. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

 

 


July 19 Energy News

July 19, 2015

World:

¶ Wouldn’t it be ironic if the biggest oil exporters in the world became the biggest solar energy investors with plans to export solar energy? That may seem like a far-fetched idea but it’s exactly what Saudi Arabia has in mind. What’s driving the world’s largest oil exporter to solar may tell us a lot about the future of energy. Saudi Arabia could be a net importer of oil by 2038. [Motley Fool]

First Solar's thin-film panels are perfect for the Middle East's hot, desert climate. Image: First Solar.

First Solar’s thin-film panels in a hot, desert climate. Image: First Solar.

¶ With relentless construction, a booming aviation sector and nearly permanent air conditioning, Dubai is not an obvious contender for the title of one of the world’s most sustainable cities. Nevertheless, this is the goal the emirate has set for itself. The worst effects of the recession gone, building has again taken off, but this time, the emphasis is on being ‘green’. [ArabianBusiness.com]

¶ Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology are collaborating to test and refine a model of hydrogen-supply infrastructure based on chemically bonding the hydrogen rather than attempting to store it as a gas or liquid. A functioning hydrogen supply center will be opened in the prefecture in 2016. [The Japan Times]

A quarter-century after the fall of communism, Central Europe sees irreconcilable visions of nuclear power that pit nations from opposite sides of the Iron Curtain against one another. Germany and Austria have long decided to go strictly nuclear free, while eastern EU members avidly look to increase reliance on nuclear power so they can grow their economies. [Northwest Georgia News]

US:

¶ Hydrogen-powered vehicles are beginning to roll onto the scene in Hawaii. Hydrogen-powered buses soon will be shuttling tourists at Volcanoes National Park, and hydrogen will possibly soon fuel the Wiki-Wiki shuttles at Honolulu Airport. Oahu has two hydrogen fueling stations, though they are not available to the public. [Longview News-Journal]

¶ Otter Tail Power Co, based in Fergus Falls, South Dakota, announced last week that it is nearly finished and under budget with its $384 million pollution-control upgrade of the coal-burning Big Stone power plant, which it co-owns with two other utilities. The plant, which supplies 36% of Otter Tail customers’ power, is expected back online in August. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Workers at the Big Stone power plant near Milbank, SD, as the pollution-control project at the coal-fired generator winds down. Photo from an on-site security camera. Courtesy of Otter Tail Power Co.

Workers at the Big Stone power plant, as the pollution-control project at the coal-fired generator winds down. Security camera photo, courtesy of Otter Tail Power Co.

¶ A recent federal decision may allow Colorado’s Kit Carson Electric Cooperative to get past a current cap on the amount of renewable energy it can generate on its own. In June, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that Delta-Montrose Electric Association is compelled to buy energy from small energy facilities, including renewable plants. [taosnews]

¶ Three new reports look at Wisconsin’s hits and misses on renewable energy. The reports, from consulting firm Clean Edge, the state Public Service Commission and the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, say Wisconsin utilities are meeting the state’s renewable energy goals, but many other states are moving more aggressively on clean energy. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

¶ Iowa could meet 40% of its energy needs from wind power within five years, according to an industry report on the state’s wind potential. The state could push its wind-energy mix to 41% in 2020 and supply enough power to more than match its energy usage by 2030, with excess energy to export to other states, the American Wind Energy Association says. [DesMoinesRegister.com]

¶ California Governor Jerry Brown will visit the Vatican this week for an international conference carrying a resolution from state lawmakers supporting the Pope’s recent encyclical on climate change. He hopes the Legislature will send an even stronger message later this year by passing new environmental rules aimed at cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. [Los Angeles Times]

¶ Vermont’s Green Mountain Power and its CEO, Mary Powell, have been getting increasing national notice for moving from traditional one-way generation and transmission of power to an “energy services company,” providing customers with a new wide range of products and services. Tom Kuhn, head of the Edison Electric Institute, calls GMP “a real leader.” [Daily Journal]


July 18 Energy News

July 18, 2015

World:

¶ The number of Scots companies, communities, farms and landowners making their own electricity has risen by more than 50% in the last year, generating more than £271 million worth of energy, new research has found. The number generating their own power has risen from 509 in 2013 to 775. [Aberdeen Press and Journal]

Remote station in Scotland.

Remote station in Scotland.

¶ Solar lights are being used more often in Africa, where off-grid areas have poor access to safe and reliable nighttime lighting. Supporting this trend, The VELUX Group and Little Sun are partnering with NGO Plan International to distribute a new solar lamp, the Natural Light solar lamp, in three African countries. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A new report commissioned by the Energy Supply Association of Australia has confirmed that, not only is “off-grid” distributed energy supply a viable option for some regional and remote customers, it is also an option that could lead to significant cost savings and other benefits for network operators. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Galapagos islands are known for those lumbering, giant tortoises and as the inspiration for Darwin’s theory of evolution. Now they boast another distinction: an airport, built during the Second World War, is believed to be the only one in the world working 100% on wind and solar energy. [New Straits Times Online]

¶ Significant numbers of Australians can install rooftop solar and battery storage cheaper than buying grid electricity, so uptake of solar likely to be “unstoppable,” according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The forecast is for 33 GWh of battery storage and 37 GW of solar PVs in Australia by 2040. [CleanTechnica]

¶ African countries, driven by the need to power base stations for mobile phone operators in the face of serious power shortages, are increasingly turning to renewable energy. Power shortages are increasing in many areas of Africa, and many are using renewables to run IT equipment. [Network World]

¶ An expert panel with the Japan’s nuclear watchdog remains unswerving in its assessment that fault lines running under the Shika nuclear power plant in Ishikawa Prefecture may well be active. The position, stated in a July 17 draft report, throws the prospect of restarting the facility’s reactors into doubt. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Since the 1970s, tops of over 500 mountains have been removed and more than 2,000 miles of headwater streams destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. Now, the US Interior Department has issued proposed water protection rules that would effectively end the common practice. [CleanTechnica]

Valley fill - Mountaintop removal coal mining in Martin County, Kentucky. Photo by Flashdark. This image has been released to the Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Mountaintop removal coal mining filled the valley behind this home. Photo by Flashdark. Released to the Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The Sierra Club says that an Iowa utility has agreed to phase out seven coal plants in a settlement with the US Justice Department and EPA, the state, and the environmental group. The settlement requires Alliant to phase out coal use or install pollution controls at all eight of its coal-fired power plants. [Sentinel Republic]

¶ This week the Sierra Club is celebrating a new milestone: The 200th U.S. coal plant retirement announcement since 2010. This is a huge deal, because in 2010 there were 535 coal plants in the country, so this is almost 40% of the fleet that is going away, with the oldest and dirtiest plants going first. [Treehugger]

¶ A tax incentive that benefits wind power and other renewable energy would be revived and extended through next year under a draft tax package released by the Senate Finance Committee. The 2.3¢ per kWh production tax credit has been targeted for several years by conservatives. [Washington Examiner]

¶ Duke Energy Corp is breaking ground on a solar farm on the East Coast’s largest Marine Corps base as the military moves away from oil. Duke Energy is starting construction at Camp Lejeune on a 13-MW solar array on 100 acres. The Navy plans to get 50% of its energy from renewables by 2020. [Jacksonville Daily News]


July 17 Energy News

July 17, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Polar bears are unable to adapt their behaviour to cope with the food losses associated with warmer summers in the Arctic. The bears survive mainly on a diet of seals that they hunt on the sea ice, but increased melting in the summer reduces seal numbers and as a result the bears struggle to find a meal. [BBC News]

Polar bear. Photo by Ansgar Walk. GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons.

Polar bear. Photo by Ansgar Walk. GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ The Japanese government says the country will cut 26% of their greenhouse gas emissions from 2013 levels by 2030. They will submit the plan to the UN for the global summit on climate change in Paris in November. The plan calls for relying slightly less on nuclear power than on renewable energy. [The Japan Times]

¶ The Canadian unit of EDF Energies Nouvelles officially dedicated the 150-MW first phase of the 350-MW Riviere-du-Moulin wind project in the province of Quebec. The wind park will be completed in December of 2015, when the second phase, adding 200 MW, is also commissioned. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ As part of the National Democratic Alliance government’s green energy push, India will award contracts for the supply of 15,000 MW this year. According to the plan, Solar Energy Corp of India will shortly call for bids from developers for buying 2,000 MW. India plans to install 100,000 MW of solar PVs by 2022. [Livemint]

¶ Global investment in new nuclear is an order of magnitude less than renewable energy investment. That is just one finding of a new independent report on the state of the worldwide nuclear industry that issued on Thursday. No matter how you look at the nuclear industry, the picture isn’t pretty. [Greentech Media]

¶ A Japanese delegation from Fukushima, site of a nuclear disaster in March 2011, visited Switzerland to discuss energy policies, technologies and the development of renewable forms of energy. Almost five years after the Fukushima Disaster, many inhabitants of the prefecture can’t lead normal lives. [swissinfo.ch]

Piles of radiated soil lay along the side of a road in a deserted town near the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on June 22, 2015 (Keystone)

Piles of radiated soil lay along the side of a road in a deserted town near the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on June 22, 2015 (Keystone)

¶ The first house in the UK that produces more energy than it consumes has been built in Wales by Cardiff University researchers. The prototype house combines renewable energy with multiple approaches to energy efficiency, including layers insulation, and energy-efficient windows and doors. [E&T magazine]

US:

¶ An Analysis Group report claims the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative involving 9 New England and Mid-Atlantic states has added $1.3 billion in economic activity to the region since 2011 and reduced carbon emissions by 15%. The program has also saved people in the area $460 on electricity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus, a municipal bus operator in the Westside region of Los Angeles, is one of the first municipal transit authorities in the US to convert its fleet to biomethane, which is rated 90% cleaner than diesel. Fuel supplier Clean Energy Fuels call the product “renewable natural gas.” [NGV Global]

Big Blue Bus. Photo by George Lumbreras. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons.

Big Blue Bus. Photo by George Lumbreras. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The New York Public Service Commission established an innovative Shared Renewables program to expand consumer access to local solar, wind and other clean energy resources, particularly among low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. The program aids those who cannot put solar PVs on their homes. [Business Wire]

¶ The NY Prize Microgrid Competition is a first-in-the nation $40 million competition to help communities in New York State create their own microgrids. More than 130 proposals were submitted statewide. The town of Ossining is one winner, and will receive $100,000 to complete a feasibility assessment. [Patch.com]

¶ Renewable energy supporters say a proposed fee for Montana-Dakota Utilities customers who use their own wind or solar power is an attempt to stifle small-scale generating. The fee is built into a 21% rate increase proposed for about 26,000 eastern Montana customers of the North Dakota-based utility. [NBC Montana]

¶ In a deal expected to save residents $45 million over the next two decades, Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city has signed a power purchase agreement with Iberdrola for the entire output of a wind farm in Pennsylvania. The total purchased will be about 125,000 MWh each year. [Utility Dive]


July 16 Energy News

July 16, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Solar program: it doesn’t make sense not to participate” Solar isn’t just for wealthy homeowners anymore. As a renter with a modest income, I can’t install solar panels on my building. Community solar and available low-interest loans mean I can cut my electric bill, saving over $10,000 in 25 years. [Commons]

SunGen Sharon Solar Farm in Sharon, Vermont. Photo by SayCheeeeeese.  Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Wikipedia Commons. 

SunGen Sharon Solar Farm in Sharon, Vermont. Photo by SayCheeeeeese.  Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Wikipedia Commons.

¶ “A new business model for the electricity sector” Critics of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan fail to acknowledge a basic reality: The electricity sector is already in the midst of profound change, with new technological and market forces challenging utilities’ business models with a lower costs and increased reliability. [The Hill]

Science and Technology:

¶ Irreversible damage to overheated batteries in Solar Impulse 2 has pushed the second half of its round-the-world flight to early spring 2016. Despite the hard work of the team to repair the batteries that overheated in the record-breaking flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, Si2 will stay in Hawaii for further repairs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ It turns out the climate change deniers had one thing right: There isn’t 97% agreement among climate scientists. But the real figure is higher, not lower. The scientific “consensus” on climate change has gotten stronger, surging past 97% to more than 99.9%, according to a new study reviewed by MSNBC. [MSNBC]

¶ Climate change deniers’ new hero is Valentina Zharkova, a professor at Northumbria University in England. Her research seems to suggest a looming “ice age,” which is making your conspiracy-minded uncle cartwheel with glee. But hold on a minute, is the research legit climate science? Not even close. [MSNBC]

World:

Reuters reports, based on figures from the Federation of Thai Industries renewable energy division, that Thai solar power investment is set to exceed $2 billion in 2015, installing at least 1,200 MW of new solar capacity by the end of the year. This will outperform all neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia. [CleanTechnica]

Image by Asian Development Bank (some rights reserved)

Image by Asian Development Bank (some rights reserved)

¶ The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change has overspent its budget to support renewable energy projects over the next five years by £1.5 billion. Unless ministers increase the budget, the UK could struggle to meet legally binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [The Guardian]

¶ The UK’s first compressed air energy storage project is to be awarded almost €6.5 million by the European Union. It will hold air in specially engineered salt caverns under high pressure on Northern Ireland’s east coast, to be used as needed to generate up to 330 MW of electricity for up to six hours. [Belfast Telegraph]

US:

¶ The US Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an important decision that supports clean electricity. It the upheld the constitutionality of Colorado’s renewable portfolio standard. It says the Colorado RPS does not impose unlawful regulations on out-of-state companies that supply electricity to the state. [CleanTechnica]

Solar wind turbines at sunset via Shutterstock.

Solar wind turbines at sunset via Shutterstock.

¶ In Amesbury, Massachusetts, efforts to pursue sustainable energy continued, as a contract for one solar field within the city was followed by the City Council approving development of a second, larger solar field down the road. The $10 million, 6.5-MW solar farm is on the site of a former landfill. [The Daily News of Newburyport]

¶ The Newberry Volcano, located 20 miles south of Bend, Oregon, is one of five sites that have been awarded $2 million by the DOE to conduct research on production of geothermal energy. Backers of the project see it as a potential competitor of nuclear power for production of carbon-free power. [The Corvallis Advocate]

¶ Advanced Microgrid Solutions and SunEdison announced a joint venture to finance and deliver 50 MW of energy storage for Southern California Edison, which will purchase capacity from the storage systems under a 10-year capacity contract. SCE plans to add 2.2 GW of cleaner resources by 2022. [Energy Matters]

¶ For nearly two decades, federal and state authorities allowed the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to operate with an expired Clean Water Act permit. Two dozen public-health and environmental groups formed a coalition that is now asking the agencies to suspend Entergy Corp.’s water pollution permit. [ecoRI news]


July 15 Energy News

July 15, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Though Tesla’s Gigafactory seems now set to end up far larger than was originally reported, there is competition. Bosch and its partner GS Yuasa are moving toward producing a lithium-ion battery with two-times the energy density for half the cost, with the aim being for production to begin by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ While nuclear stations on average produce about twice as much electricity as renewables annually for every kilowatt installed, the high growth of solar, wind and other renewables means atomic power is fast being eclipsed as nations are turning away from the energy source after the Fukushima Disaster in Japan. [eNCA]

¶ National energy efficiency solutions company, Anesco, is working with the award-winning battery technology company, OXIS Energy, on lithium-sulfur technology. The new battery storage units will be available starting in 2016. Lithium-sulfur batteries are the lightest available, among other advantages. [PennEnergy]

World:

¶ More than £400 million was invested in independent UK renewable energy generation projects by businesses, farmers, landowners and communities last year according to a new report. The continued strong growth for independent projects comes despite changes to renewable subsidies and other uncertainties. [reNews]

Low Spinney wind farm in England under construction (Broadview)

Low Spinney wind farm in England under construction (Broadview)

¶ All twelve IKEA stores in Canada will soon have Sun Country Highway electric vehicle chargers in their parking lots, providing shoppers (and others) with free charging. Each of the 12 locations will install two 60-amp chargers, according to IKEA, with the installations taking place by the end of this August. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Australia’s growing solar energy industry might not have much support from Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but parts of the nation’s influential resources sector are conspicuously backing new off-grid solar battery storage deployments as a means to reduce their operating costs and keep remote mines viable. [Government News]

¶ German solar developer Juwi AG said a 10.6-MW solar park with storage capacity is under construction at an Australian mine, to be commissioned in early 2016. The facility will have 34,080 solar panels on single-axis trackers and a 6-MW battery. The site has a 19-MW diesel-fired generator. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The premier of the Australian state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, says his government is close to announcing plans to boost investment and jobs in the renewable energy sector by bypassing the Abbott government’s policies. In an attack on the Abbot government, he noted that windpower creates many jobs. [The Age]

¶ UK firm Renewable Energy Generation Ltd said Wednesday it has extended its short term operating reserve contracts with National Grid for 26 MW of bio-power plants. The power plants run on bioliquid recovered from recycled waste cooking oil. The power plant in Whitemoor has a capacity of 18-MW. [SeeNews Renewables]

Biodiesel sample. Photo by Shizhao. GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons.

Biodiesel sample. Photo by Shizhao. GNU Free Documentation License. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The UK will miss its renewable energy targets in all except one scenario analyzed by the country’s grid operator. The findings undercut Prime Minister David Cameron’s positions. Since the last election in May, his government cut incentives for onshore wind farms and capped other incentives for clean energy. [Bloomberg]

¶ Turbine manufacturer Vestas is to supply 45 of its V126-3.3MW turbines to German utility developer EnBW. The units will be installed at onshore wind projects in the German states of Baden-Wurttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Brandenburg in 2016 and 2017. Vestas will train EnBW maintenance staff. [reNews]

US:

¶ A report from the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says energy intensity relative to the GDP has fallen from 12,100 BTUs per dollar, in 1980, to 6,100 BTUs per dollar, in 2014. Roughly 60% of the cut came from better energy efficiency. The savings were estimated as $800 billion. [CleanTechnica]

¶ After over eight months of debate, Las Vegas data center company Switch and NV Energy have reached a compromise that will keep the tech firm as a power company customer. Under the deal, the utility will build a 100-MW solar array in North Las Vegas to generate power for Switch by the end of 2016. [Las Vegas Sun]

¶ Alabama Power petitioned the Alabama Public Service Commission last month to install up to 500 MW of renewable energy projects, including solar power, a company spokesman confirmed. The company is seeking a way to provide renewable energy for corporate customers who want it in their energy portfolios. [AL.com]


July 14 Energy News

July 14, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change, seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years on climate denying research. [The Guardian] (I missed this last week, for which I apologize.)

World:

¶ Italian-based Enel Green Power says it has started construction of the 100-MW Vientos del Altiplano wind park in Mexico. Enel Green Power will invest $220 million in the project. The facility will have 50 turbines of 2 MW each, and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2016. [SeeNews Renewables]

Author: .Martin. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

Author: .Martin. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

¶ Installed solar PV capacity in Australia totaled 4 GW at the end of 2014, and provided 2.5% of the nation’s electricity generation, according to the latest annual update from the Australian PV Institute. The report, said the nation’s market grew only slightly in 2014 – to a total installed capacity of 7.2%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Irish energy firm Mainstream Renewable Power has started construction on an 80-MW windfarm in South Africa.The windfarm, which is expected to be operational by the middle of next year, will cost about €137 million to develop. It is being built in Noupoort, in South Africa’s Northern Cape province. [Irish Independent]

¶ A world-leading 1,200-MW wind and solar project proposed for north Queensland is competing head to head with a new coal station proposal favored by Tony Abbott. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates the price of electricity from coal at about $130/MWh, so it would require hefty subsidies. [RenewEconomy]

¶ The Clean Energy Finance Corporation could have an avenue to fight the Australian government’s ban on investing in wind power and rooftop solar, a senior lawyer says. The Abbott Government already tried to abolish the taxpayer-funded $10 billion CEFC twice and now is trying to redirect its efforts. [ABC Online]

¶ Australia’s solar power industry has vowed to expand its marginal-seats campaign against the Coalition, which dominates the Senate, and aims “to remove this government from office” after ministers directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to avoid wind and small-scale solar investments. [The Guardian]

¶ Despite the continued increase in carbon emissions in China, the rate of growth of carbon emissions has been “in a steady decrease” since 2005, and was near zero in 2014, according to a new climate report. Factors include better energy efficiency, development of renewable energy, and air pollution concerns. [eco-business.com]

Sunset on more than 200 Windturbines at Guazhou wind farm. Photo by Popolon. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

Sunset on more than 200 Windturbines at Guazhou wind farm. Photo by Popolon. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ International nuclear inspectors told TEPCO to update its emergency manual to reflect new safety measures imposed after Fukushima Disaster. The order came after a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency completed two weeks of inspections of the company’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶ A report released at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners conference says states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have found that economic benefits accompany regulating carbon emissions from power plants through market-based mechanisms. [Today’s Energy Solutions]

¶ The California Department of Food and Agriculture will award nearly $11.1 million to help pay to build five anaerobic digesters in the Central Valley. AgPower Visalia, LLC, a partnership that includes the Moonlight Dairy near Visalia, will receive $3 million to put toward a digester at the dairy. [Visalia Times-Delta]

Schematic of the Biogas Reactor. By Tilley, E., Ulrich, L., Lüthi, C., Reymond, Ph., Zurbrügg, C. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Wikimedia Commons.

Schematic of the Biogas Reactor. By E. Tilley, L. Ulrich, C. Lüthi, P. Reymond, C. Zurbrügg. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Coal companies turn to bonds to raise money for such things as new mines and environmental cleanups, but investors are increasingly turning away. Coal bond prices tumbled 17% in the second quarter, according to analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence. It’s the fourth consecutive quarter of price declines. [Mineweb]

¶ A new energy plan for the next 20 years released by TVA projects electricity demand in the Tennessee Valley to grow at the slowest rate in TVA’s 82-year history. This negates any need for the federal utility to build new nuclear, coal or other major baseload power facilities during that time. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

¶ sPower, a leading renewable energy provider, announced that construction has begun on its 45-MW Sandstone Solar project in Florence, Arizona. The facility is scheduled to start delivering clean, renewable energy by the end of the year under a 21-year power purchase agreement between sPower and SRP. [PennEnergy]

¶ US Senators Tom Carper and Susan Collins have introduced an act that aims to provide financial incentives for investment in offshore wind. The act would create an investment tax credit that is redeemable for the first 3000 MW of offshore wind facilities placed into service, which is about 600 wind turbines. [reNews]


July 13 Energy News

July 13, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “The transition from fossil to renewable energy” The current diabolical position taken by Australian political leaders on matters of energy and sustainability is of great concern in how we deal with the future challenges and opportunities. Our leaders must apply rational thinking in the face of facts. [The Fifth Estate]

The PS20 concentrated solar thermal plant in Spain.

The PS20 concentrated solar thermal plant in Spain.

World:

¶ Oil prices dropped today as Iran and global powers appear close to a historic deal to loosen sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program. Sanctions have long reined in Iran’s oil exports. Crude prices dropped by 1.6% to around $52 a barrel as investors reacted to the potential new supply. [CNN]

¶ Scottish communities from inner city Glasgow to western Harris are set to benefit from £500,000 in funding for demo projects designed to encourage the use and local ownership of renewable energy. There is a trend for community ownership of renewable energy sources, especially in rural areas. [Click Green]

¶ Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has come under fire from the opposition and investors after ordering the government’s $10 billion ($7.45 billion, US) Clean Energy Finance Corporation to stop investing in wind and solar power. Abbott has made no secret of his desire to axe the CEFC. [Day & Night News]

¶ Cuba plans to build 13 wind farms, including seven facilities financed with foreign direct investment. The move is part of a plan for Cuba to source some 24% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030. For the purpose, Cuba will need to attract about $600 million in foreign capital. [SeeNews Renewables]

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

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

¶ All Wales’ electricity will come from renewable sources within 20 years if Plaid Cymru wins the 2016 assembly election, the party says. Plaid backs community-owned power schemes and energy efficiency. Wales generates twice as much electricity as it uses but only 10% comes from renewable sources like wind. [BBC News]

¶ Beijing is setting its eye on resolving its problem with air pollution. China’s capital city is working hand in hand with the northern Chinese city of Zhangjiakou in an attempt to contain this predicament. Beijing and Zhangjiakou already have a joint project that will use of wind power for generating heat. [Chinatopix]

US:

¶ In the year since the Clean Power Plan was proposed, naysayers have been spinning doomsday stories that say cutting carbon pollution would be difficult and costly for Virginia. Multiple studies, such as one from a consumer watchdog, show this is simply not true. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

A little smoke.

Who does the smoke make wealthy?

¶ Solar Impulse will be grounded in Hawaii for at least two weeks because of battery damage. The solar-powered airplane overheated its batteries during the historic, five-day crossing from Japan. Engineers working on it are not sure yet if new parts will be needed to get it back up into the air again. [BBC News]

¶ A $600 million project by Iberdrola Renewables will put 102 turbines on 22,000 acres near the coastal community of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, with plans for about 50 more. It will be the South’s first wind farm. It will generate about 204 MW, or enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes. [The Denver Post]


July 12 Energy News

July 12, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Renewable Energy Is Looking for This Game Changer” Time of use rates will increase the value renewable energy and energy storage can provide to the grid. Rates and policies are also how utilities (driven by Koch funding) are attempting to fight off solar. There are good and bad signs in California. [Motley Fool]

A solar installation at the Mascone Center in San Fransisco, built by Sunpower. Image source: Sunpower.

A solar installation on the roof of the Mascone Center in San Fransisco, built by Sunpower. Image source: Sunpower.

World:

¶ The global solar industry has seen exponential growth in recent years, and that’s expected to continue. After hitting about 178 GW of capacity by the end of 2014, global solar PV capacity is expected to hit 200 GW shortly. BSW-Solar expects the global solar PV capacity to reach 400 GW within four years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Australian government has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to make any future investments in wind power, instead focussing on emerging technologies, the trade minister confirmed. The finance minister and treasurer bypassed the environment minister in issuing the directive. [The Guardian]

¶ It has emerged that the Abbott government is puting a stop to solar investments other than the largest industrial-scale projects. It opened up another front in its war on renewable energy by pulling the plug on investments in the most common form of alternative energy, rooftop and small-scale solar. [The Guardian]

¶ The solar energy industry accused the Australian government of hypocrisy over a decision to ban the $10 billion (Aus) Clean Energy Finance Corporation from investing in wind power or roof-top solar. The government ordered the corporation to avoid projects the private sector can handle. [The Australian Financial Review]

¶ SunEdison has been showing great interest in the Indian market. In recent times, the company announced several deals helping the Indian government reach its target of 175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022. The company has significantly expanded its footprint in the Indian wind energy market. [Greentech Lead]

Field and wind turbines in India. Courtesy of Vestas. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons.

Field and wind turbines in India. Courtesy of Vestas. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Germany and the United Nations have expressed willingness to help Pakistan address challenges of climate change. Talking to Radio Pakistan, the German Ambassador and the Director of the UN Information Center in Pakistan said Pakistan can mitigate problems by focusing on renewable sources of energy. [Business Recorder]

¶ While South Africans bemoan regular electricity load shedding‚ a new report points out that the current power crisis in sub-Saharan Africa offers a huge investment opportunity. The report from McKinsey and Company points out that the region is incredibly rich in potential power-generation capacity. [Times LIVE]

¶ Kenya is a model investment destination and a model for the rest of Africa, Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, declared on Saturday. The comments came after he led a group of investors in talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta. They explored how to make the most of Kenya’s abundant potential. [Capital FM Kenya]

¶ Barring last-minute glitches, nuclear power will again become a part of Japan’s energy mix after two years off. Technicians at the Sendai-1 reactor on the south-western coast of Kyushu completed refueling operations on July 10. After final “pre-use” inspections, the reactor is expected to go online in September. [Anadolu Agency]

¶ Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on Thursday broke ground for the construction of the first utility-scale solar energy power plant in Jamaica, which, upon completion, will be the largest such facility in the Caribbean. The 20-MW photovoltaic facility should be connected to the national grid by June 2016.[Stabroek News]

US:

¶ A Stratham-based alternative energy company hopes to change New Hampshire’s status as a solar energy laggard. NHSolarGarden.com is working on building solar arrays all over the state that would create more solar energy in the state than all thecurrent solar energy projects combined. [Foster’s Daily Democrat]

¶ Wisconsin regulators have given a go-ahead to resume work on part of a high-voltage power line connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin put on hold over concerns about protected bird species. Work can resume outside the habitat area, but the utilities need to submit a new plan for where they live. [The Courier Life News]


July 11 Energy News

July 11, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ World seabird populations have suffered a staggering 70% drop over the last 60 years, according to new international research. This means around 230 million seabirds have disappeared across the globe since the 1950s. Climate change, overfishing, and pollution from plastics and oil have been blamed. [Scotsman]

Numbers of black-legged kittiwakes have plunged by 77 per cent since the 1980s. Factors including climate change are blamed. Picture: RSPB.

Numbers of black-legged kittiwakes have plunged by 77 per cent since the 1980s. Factors including climate change are blamed. Picture: RSPB.

World:

¶ A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Oriel Windfarm and Gaelectric Holdings to begin developing a large-scale offshore wind farm in the north Irish Sea. The project will start with a 15-MW demonstration project, at a cost of €80 million. The developers hope to end with a 870-MW wind farm. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An agreement between Chile’s state-owned energy company Enap and Italy’s Enel Green Power, will see the development and building of a geothermal energy plant in the northern region of Chile’s port city, Antofagasta. This project is not only the first of its kind for Chile, but also for South America. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶ In a long-term study of more than 300,000 workers in France, the US, and the UK, those with many years of exposure to low doses of radiation had an increased risk of dying from leukemia. The study authors say, however, that it is not clear what amount of low-level exposure raises the risk of cancer. [Fox News]

¶ A solar microgrid company is poised to enter the Kenyan energy market, aiming to end the five-decade monopoly of the state-owned electricity supplier. Powerhive East Africa was granted a permit to supply electricity to rural homes earlier this year and hopes to start commercial operations in September. [E&T magazine]

¶ On an unusually windy day, Denmark found 116% of its electric power needs were met by wind turbines. When electricity demand dropped for the night, it rose to 140%. Interconnectors allowed 80% of the power surplus to go to pumped storage plants in Germany and Norway, and the rest to Sweden. [The Guardian]

The Conservative UK government has announced a withdrawal of support for onshore windfarms. Denmark’s windfarms have strong government backing. Photograph: Max Mudie/Alamy

The Conservative UK government has announced a withdrawal of support for onshore windfarms. Denmark’s windfarms have strong government backing. Photograph: Max Mudie/Alamy

US:

¶ The 300 MW Beltran solar PV power project currently under development in Stanislaus County, California, is now one step closer to completion. Reports are that the developer Centauri Energy has secured a grid connection agreement for the project. The project is expected go online in 2016 or 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ After skyrocketing prices drove thousands of Massachusetts households to switch their electricity suppliers, the state is planning a website where consumers can comparison shop for electricity plans. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities says it will soon solicit ideas for such a website. [Boston Globe]

¶ Conservation groups have reached an agreement with First Solar to provide additional conservation protections to wild lands and wildlife as part of construction of the California Flats Solar Project, a proposed 280-MW solar energy project in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. [Center for Biological Diversity]

¶ New York Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to power all city government operations with renewable energy. De Blasio said that the city is seeking creative solutions identifying potential renewable sources, such as developers, power providers, financial institutions, energy brokerages, or trade groups. [PennEnergy]

The Conservative UK government has announced a withdrawal of support for onshore windfarms. Denmark’s windfarms have strong government backing. Photograph: Max Mudie/Alamy

Solar PVs in New York.

¶ A statewide call for power conservation in California underscores the state’s continued reliance on natural gas even as it works to increase use of renewable energy to 50% by 2030. The California Independent System Operator issued the first Flex Alert in two years as the western US baked in triple-digit heat. [Argus Media]

¶ President Obama and presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) have announced separate initiatives to help low-income and middle-income Americans afford solar power. Sanders introduced the Low Income Solar Act, to establish a $200 million loan and grant program throughout the US. [Computerworld]

¶ Pacific Gas and Electric faces legal challenges opposing its bid to keep operating the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for the next 30 years. San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace and Friends of the Earth claim the recently discovered Shoreline Fault poses more risk to the nuclear plant than PG&E admits. [Cal Coast News]

¶ Crestmark announced it is providing sale-leaseback financing for three 500-kW (AC) solar projects to deliver energy to the State of Vermont on a Power Purchase Agreement basis. The funding will go to Alternative Energy Development Group LLC and SolarSense LLC, headquartered in Berwyn, Pa. [ABL Advisor]


July 10 Energy News

July 10, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change is threatening the survival of bumblebees, significantly reducing the habitats in which they can survive, researchers say. Natural ranges are being compressed in Europe and North America. The analysis indicates that warming is having a greater impact than pesticides or land use change. [BBC News]

Across Europe and North America bumblebees have lost ground to climate change.

Across Europe and North America bumblebees are losing to climate change.

World:

¶ EV sales are up in the UK. With over 14,000 electric cars sold in the UK in the first half of the year, the increase over the same period in 2014 is a whopping 350%. Brits registered a little more than 35,000 electric and hybrid cars in the first 6 months of 2015, representing approximately 3% of all new car sales. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Caribbean nation of Belize is now aiming to go to 100% renewables, reports say. All of its electricity needs are to be met via renewable energy, and it’s transportation sector to fully embrace electric vehicles.The new goal is to get 89% of its electricity via renewables by 2033, with longer term goal of 100%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ France’s nuclear safety regulator told the BBC the flaw in the steel housing the reactor core at the nuclear plant being built in Normandy is “serious,” and he could stop the project unless he is satisfied with the plans to put it right. The collapse of the design would be a major blow to the so-called nuclear renaissance. [BBC]

¶ Total onshore wind installed capacity in Serbia will soar from just 20 MW in 2014 to an estimated 542 MW by 2025, according to research and consulting firm Global Data. Serbia is looking to wind as it aims to produce 27% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, Global Data said in a statement. [SeeNews Renewables]

Author: MK Group. License: All rights reserved.

Author: MK Group. License: All rights reserved.

¶ Norwegian company Scatec Solar has signed an agreement with the Malian Ministry of Energy and Water and Electricité du Mali to build, own and operate West Africa’s first utility-scale solar power plant. The 33-MW solar power plant will be located near the ancient city of Segou in South-East Mali. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ ABB Ltd has made a deal worth $25 with electrical transmission system operator RTE France, under which it will provide nine 400-megavolt ampere booster transformers to aid the regulation of power transmission voltage from four large-scale offshore wind projects across France’s Atlantic coast. [Zacks.com]

US:

¶ SolarCity has completed two commercial solar systems totalling 644 kW at the rooftops of Walmart stores in El Paso, Texas. The installation was completed at no upfront cost for Walmart, which will pay only for the renewable electricity generated at the two sites through an off-take contract. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Minnesota Power, the state’s most coal-dependent electric utility, says it is idling and eventually retiring the Taconite Harbor power plant, a large power plant in Schroeder, Minnesota, on Lake Superior’s North Shore. The move will save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Photo by Dennis O'Hara, Minnesota Power 

Photo by Dennis O’Hara, Minnesota Power

¶ Tucson Electric Power is seeking to expand a popular new solar power program that provides fixed-price electric service using solar arrays installed on customers’ homes. The renewable energy plan includes a proposal to add up to 1000 new participants in the Residential Solar Program, tripling its size. [AZoCleantech]

¶ Hydroelectric power would become more important to Massachusetts under a proposal filed by the state’s governor. The bill submitted to the state Senate requires the state utilities to work with the Department of Energy Resources to pursue long-term contracts for bringing hydropower into the state. [GazetteNET]

¶ Duke Energy claims a pair of power plants burning natural gas in North Carolina’s Salisbury and Rockingham counties should get credit for burning biogas from swine waste in Missouri and Oklahoma. The NC Pork Council is upset that it will not use the contributions of a single hog in North Carolina. [News & Observer]


July 9 Energy News

July 9, 2015

World:

¶ Four engineering students from Taiwan are heading to Iceland, Sweden and Norway to research on renewable energy this summer. The team plans to head to Iceland first, to study geothermal power, since 90% of Iceland’s energy is produced via geothermal generation. Financial help came from alumni. [China Post]

Krafla geothermal power plant in Iceland. Photo by Ásgeir Eggertsson. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

Krafla geothermal power plant in Iceland. Photo by Ásgeir Eggertsson. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ RenewableUK, the trade association representing the wind, wave and tidal energy industries, strongly criticised the Chancellor’s budget announcement that he is retrospectively changing the rules governing the Climate Change Levy. The green-tax break was designed to promote generating clean energy. [Energy Voice]

¶ India and Kazakhstan, the world’s largest producer of uranium, reached an agreement on uranium. Kazakhstan will supply India with 5,000 metric tons of nuclear fuel in the 2015-2019 period. In 2010 through 2014, Kazakhstan supplied India with 2,100 metric tons, but India its increasing it use. [The Diplomat]

¶ Norwegian company Scatec Solar entered an agreement with the government of Pakistan to set up large-scale solar power projects with 150 MW of combined capacity. Pakistan has been facing acute power shortage for several years now, and is developing large-scale renewable projects to boost power generation. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Workers at the Sendai nuclear power plant here have loaded nearly half of the nuclear fuel into a reactor that is expected to resume operations in mid-August. About 50 workers are engaged in the round-the-clock operation. It takes workers about 20 minutes to install each of the 157 bundles of fuel rods. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ Hundreds of wildfires are burning in Alaska and Canada, fed by record high temperatures and drought. They mark a new milestone in the history of climate change. The fires may speed up the melting of permafrost, releasing methane into the air, as the permafrost’s natural insulation becomes fuel for the fires. [Wired]

An Alaska Army National Guard helicopter drops water on the Stetson Creek Fire near Cooper Landing, Alaska, on June 17 2015. Photo by Sgt. Balinda O'Neal, US Army National Guard.

An Alaska Army National Guard helicopter drops water on a fire near Cooper Landing, Alaska. Photo by Sgt. Balinda O’Neal, US Army National Guard.

¶ New York’s Governor Cuomo announced awards of about $100,000 each to be given to 83 communities across the state to support microgrid projects. These awards were granted as part of the NY Prize microgrid competition to support a new generation of community-based power. [Hudson Valley News Network]

¶ A group of scientists at Stanford has published a plan for the United States to have all of its energy come from renewable sources by 2050, an ambitious goal that carries a $15 trillion dollar price tag. Mark Jacobson and his co-authors drew up the plan based on the capability of existing technology. [The Epoch Times]

¶ The Sierra Club says it will air a radio ad in the Albuquerque radio market urging the Public Regulation Commission to reject plans for the San Juan power plant. The plans call for closing two coal-fired units and replacing the lost power with more coal, natural gas, nuclear power, and other sources. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

¶ In Florida, municipal governments are divided over a decision by the Florida League of Cities to file a legal brief urging the Florida Supreme Court to reject the proposed Solar Choice amendment to the November 2016 ballot. The amendment would allow homeowners and businesses to sell solar power. [Bradenton Herald]

¶ Governor Charlie Baker plans to file legislation to help bring up to 2,400 MW of hydropower to Massachusetts from Canada. Baker’s energy and environmental affairs secretary says the state needs more renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as required by the EPA Clean Power Plan. [Boston Globe]

¶ 8minutenergy Renewables LLC and DE Shaw Renewable Investments LLC have announced the completion of permitting and start of construction of the 137-MW Springbok 1 solar farm, located in Kern County, California, 70 miles north of Los Angeles. The project is expected to be operational in June, 2016. [solarserver.com]


July 8 Energy News

July 8, 2015

World:

¶ Market Research Store says the wind turbine market is poised to grow to $96.7 billion as countries impose stricter environment controls on the use for fossil fuels and coal to generate electricity. The fact that wind energy has reached parity for the long term comparative cost of energy, bodes well for growth. [CMO]

Tauernwindpark Oberzeiring, Styria, Austria. Photo by Kwerdenker. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

Tauernwindpark Oberzeiring, Styria, Austria. Photo by Kwerdenker. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Panasonic Eco Solutions Canada Inc announced that it has signed a contract with Petawawa Renewable Power Corporation to build three 600-kW ground-mount solar PV projects in Ontario under the Ontario Power Authority / IESO Feed-in Tariff programs. Construction should start this summer. [solarserver.com]

¶ France’s Wind Energy Association said Tuesday the country has hooked 523 MW of wind parks to the grid in the first half of 2015, thus boosting its total installed wind capacity to 9,713 MW. The additions in the first six months show that the country is on track to meet its 1.2-GW target for the year. [SeeNews Renewables]

US:

¶ As US coal production has seen gradual decline in the last few years, mountaintop removal mines have taken the hardest hit, according to a report from the US Energy Information Administration. Total US coal production decreased about 15%, but mountaintop removal mining saw a 62% drop. [State Journal]

Mountaintop removal mining in Kentucky. Photo by iLoveMountains.org. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Mountaintop removal mining in Kentucky. Photo by iLoveMountains.org. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

¶ In Nevada, NV Energy has lined up what may be the cheapest electricity in the US, and it comes from a solar farm. The Berkshire Hathaway company agreed to pay 3.87¢/kWh for power from a 100-MW First Solar project. Include subsidies, and it is close to a record of 5.85¢/kWh set in January in Dubai. [Daily Democrat]

¶ States are pressing ahead with their plans to comply with the Obama administration’s forthcoming rule to limit carbon emissions from power plants despite a recent setback dealt to the Environmental Protection Agency by the Supreme Court. The court ruling applied to the cost of controls on mercury. [Washington Examiner]

¶ According to a recent announcement made by Facebook, the computer servers at the company’s massive new $500 million data center in Fort Worth, Texas, will run solely on wind power. The company is partnering with Alterra Energy for the construction of a 202-MW wind farm on 17,000 acres. [Northern Californian]

Ice Energy's Ice Bear.

Ice Energy’s Ice Bear.

¶ NRG and Ice Energy will meet recently awarded 20 year contracts to provide 25.6 MW of behind-the-meter energy storage using Ice Energy’s proprietary Ice Bear technology for Southern California Edison. NRG and Ice Energy will deliver the peak energy reductions associated with these contracts. [PennEnergy]

¶ The White House has taken steps to boost installation of solar power and other renewable energy for federally subsidised housing. The new goal is to install 300 MW of solar and other renewable energy in affordable housing by 2020, tripling a goal set in 2013 which has already been surpassed. [Business Recorder]

¶ The waves of Hawaii are a big draw for tourists and surfers, but now they’re also a source of electricity. For the first time in the US, energy from waves is being turned into electricity that is heading onto the grid, and powering homes in Hawaii. Half the people in the US live within 50 miles of the coast. [Popular Science]

 


July 7 Energy News

July 7, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Driverless cars running on electric power can cut greenhouse gas emissions up to 90%, a study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory says. The reduction in GHG emissions from 5% of 2030 vehicles being autonomous electric taxis would be greater than from 1,000 two-MW wind turbines. [International Business Times UK]

World:

¶ Austria formally filed a legal challenge at the European court of justice against EU-granted state subsidies for a new nuclear power plant in Britain. The announcement came only days after an alliance of 10 German and Austrian energy companies filed a separate legal challenge against Hinkley Point. [The Guardian]

Opponents see Hinkley Point C as an unnecessary show of support for nuclear energy. Photograph: EDF/PA.

Opponents see Hinkley Point C as an unnecessary show of support for nuclear energy. Photograph: EDF/PA.

¶ ReNew Power announced an agreement with Hareon Solar to develop a 72-MW solar power project in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Hareon Solar will supply 234,161 crystalline silicon solar modules with delivery beginning in August 2015. The plant would be commissioned in March 2016. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ New Zealand significantly raised its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, but said it still wants a climate change policy that was affordable. The plan to cut emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 will be submitted as part of negotiations on a comprehensive agreement in Paris at the end of the year. [Reuters]

¶ Clearfleau Ltd, a leading UK-based provider of onsite anaerobic digestion systems for the food and beverage sector, has finished the first stage in a major sustainability project at one of the UK’s largest cheese creameries. It will be the first dairy in Europe to feed bio-methane into the gas grid. [Biomass Magazine]

¶ A licence for Oman’s first solar power plant was issued to Bahwan Astonfield Solar Energy Company by the Authority for Electricity Regulation. The 303-kW solar plant is located in the wilayat of Al Mazyounnah in Dhofar Governorate. The power produced will be sold to the Rural Areas Electricity Company. [Times of Oman]

US:

¶ New York Governor Cuomo announced the state’s solar power increased more than 300% from 2011 to 2014, double the US growth rate. Over 310 MW of solar panels had been installed by the end of last year, enough to power more than 51,000 homes. Over 304 MW more is under contract as of May 2015. [Energy Matters]

Omega Center for Sustainable Living at Rhinebeck, New York. Photo by Andy Milford from Dahlonega, GA. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons.

Omega Center for Sustainable Living at Rhinebeck, New York. Photo by Andy Milford from Dahlonega, GA. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The biggest highlight of the US electricity generation capacity market is that 74% of new US capacity added in January through May of 2015 came from wind and solar power. Renewables overall accounted for 75% of new electricity generation capacity. Wind and solar now make up 7.6% of the US capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A bipartisan group of mayors from over 250 cities is taking an important stand against “climate change denialism,” calling for the “swift implementation” of climate education in high schools nationwide. This happend at a conference of the United States Conference of Mayors, for cities over 30,000 in population. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Ohio University, located in southeastern Ohio’s coal-mining country, still uses coal-fired boilers to generate steam to heat and cool campus buildings, but officials anticipate changing that by year’s end. A $5.5 million project is underway to build a pipeline to carry natural gas to the university’s power plant. [Columbus Dispatch]

¶ A wind and solar farm in northern Cochise County, Arizona, is expected to start generating power by the end of this month. The farm, belonging to Red Horse 2 LLC, will produce up to 71 MW of wind and solar power combined by the end of July, enough to provide power to more than 13,500 homes. [Eastern Arizona Courier]


July 6 Energy News

July 6, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “SA’s proposed $100bn Nuclear Fleet – driven by arrogance or ignorance?” – Russia is seen as the frontrunner to win the right to build 9600 MW of South African nuclear power plants that may be worth as much as $100 billion. But who is going to pay for the country’s biggest project yet remains a mystery. [BizNews]

World:

¶ The National Trust is to invest £30 million in solar panels, woodchip boilers and innovative technology that can extract heat from a lake, in a bid to supply half of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. The investment is an eightfold increase on what the trust has made in five pilot projects. [The Guardian]

A biomass boiler will heat the entire property at Ickworth House, a Georgian mansion, 680 feet long,  in Suffolk, UK. Photograph: David J. Green/Alamy.

A biomass boiler will heat the entire property at Ickworth House, a Georgian mansion, 680 feet long, in Suffolk, UK. Photograph: David J. Green/Alamy.

¶ Twenty subnational governments, with over 220 million people and $8.3 trillion in GDP, have now committed to targeted reductions in carbon emissions through the Compact of States and Regions, a partnership of The Climate Group, CDP, R20, and nrg4SD supported by the United Nations and others. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Brazil’s wind power output reached 2,261 MW average (MWa), in the month of June, which is by 75.1% more than was recorded a year ago, according to InfoMercado, the weekly newsletter of the Power Trading Chamber. The electricity consumption also fell 1.1% year on year to 56,818 MWa. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Emissions from Australia’s main power sector are rising at an increasing rate one year after the end of the carbon price, with plants in Victoria fired by brown coal the biggest contributors. In the year to June, emissions jumped by about 6.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or about 4.3%. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ Ratch Australia is planning to build a $100 million (Aus) solar plant in Collinsville. Ratch general manager of business management, Anil Nangia, said the recent Federal Government deadlock on the Renewable Energy Target had kept the project on hold. The project is in north Queensland. It begin next year. [ABC Online]

¶ Wind power generated 33% of Scotland’s electricity needs in June, according to analysis by WWF Scotland. This represents an increase of 120% compared with June 2014. WWF also found that homes fitted with solar PV panels typically produced sufficient energy to supply themselves in much of the country. [reNews]

Hill of Towie wind farm in Scotland (reNEWS)

Hill of Towie wind farm in Scotland (reNEWS)

¶ The Czech Republic, biggest electricity exporter in Europe, plans to build two additional nuclear reactors in the country, a senior official said. The government aims to make nuclear energy account for 58% of the nation’s total supply, up from 30%. It also plans to increase renewable energy to 25%. [Korea JoongAng Daily]

US:

¶ Special utility company–provided electric vehicle tariff rates are becoming more and more common in the US, according to a new study from Northeast Group. As it stands now, according to the study, there are 28 different utility companies in 15 different states providing EV charging specific rates. [CleanTechnica]

¶ SunEdison is partnering with Green Charge Networks, which specializes in commercial energy storage, to provide a solar plus energy storage system to utility company Silicon Valley Power. Combining energy from solar PVs with energy allows customers to cut down on utility bills rather substantially. [CleanTechnica]

¶ When Vermont became the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in 2012, Governor Peter Shumlin said the ban was “in keeping with our environmental ethic and our protection of our natural resources.” But now the state seems likely to increase the use of fracked gas from Canada. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]


July 5 Energy News

July 5, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “Restore Ohio wind-energy provisions that benefit local students” – By turning to wind power, the Lincolnview Local Schools added a revenue stream of $400,000 annually. But the Ohio legislature added onerous restrictions on wind-energy development, making similar projects difficult. This may be changed. [cleveland.com]

World:

¶ The world’s longest underwater electricity cable will soon enable sharing of renewable energy between the UK and Norway. Starting in 2021 power will be able to move as needed, balancing grid loads, thanks to a 730-km (453-mi) underwater cable between Blyth, Northumberland, and Kvilldal in Norway. [Geographical]

A picturesque fjord in Kvilldal, where the Norwegian end of the pipeline will be situated. Credit: Geoffrey Kopp.

A picturesque fjord in Kvilldal, where the Norwegian end of the cable will be situated. Credit: Geoffrey Kopp.

¶ Indonesian President Joko Widodo has asserted that the government will prioritize the development of environmentally friendly power plants to meet its target of generating 35,000 MW more electricity by 2019. The country has a geothermal energy potential of 28,000 MW and this is being studied. [Jakarta Post]

¶ Jordan will construct four 50-MW solar power plants through the country. About 20 companies have been approved to bid on the projects, and the bids are about to be examined. Jordan imports 97% of its energy needs, and its grid is being studied to find ways to integrate more renewable power. [Construction Week Online]

¶ The London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, had its second anniversary of operation. The 630-MW wind project has produced more than 5 TWh of affordable electricity, while mitigating more than two million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Its power is enough for 2% of all homes in the UK. [Khaleej Times]

US:

¶ After two decades of trying to buy the defunct Eagle Mountain iron mine, in California, the Eagle Crest Energy Company has finally succeeded. The plan is to build a 1,300-MW hydro-power plant, using billions of gallons of water that would be drawn from an aquifer. The plan has a lot of opposition. [The Desert Sun]

The foothills of Eagle Mountain can be seen from the edge of Joshua Tree National Park on Nov. 18, 2014. (Photo: Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun)

The foothills of Eagle Mountain can be seen from the edge of Joshua Tree National Park on Nov. 18, 2014. (Photo: Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun)

¶ The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is poised to change the way electricity is made across the country, moving the nation further away from coal and toward cleaner energy sources. In Virginia, a debate is beginning over whether the state’s largest utility should build another nuclear reactor at North Anna. [Richmond.com]

¶ While the energy history of the US is one of significant change, the three fossil fuel sources have made up at least 80% of total US energy consumption for more than 100 years. The mix is changing among fossil fuels, with natural gas becoming dominant. Renewables are growing, but still small. [The Maritime Executive]

¶ Environmental groups along New York state’s Southern Tier and Hudson Valley are launching campaigns to help home owners and small businesses add solar systems with price discounts. The campaigns are supported with funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. [Oneida Dispatch]

¶ In West Virginia, Appalachian Power Co expects to develop the means to generate more than a fifth of its energy from the sun and wind in 15 years, according to a plan filed with the state this week. At the same time, it foresees reducing reliance on coal for electric power from 72% to just over half. [Bristol Herald Courier]


July 4 Energy News

July 4, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Solar Impulse, powered only by the sun, has landed in Hawaii after making a historic 7,200km flight across the Pacific from Japan. The distance covered and the time spent in the air, 118 hours, are records for manned, solar-powered flight. The duration is also an absolute record for a solo, un-refuelled journey. [BBC News]

Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse. AP.

Opinion:

¶ “China’s climate pledge for green growth spells doom for coal exporters” – Renewable energy is all go in China, as set out in its climate pledge this week, with huge growth planned for wind and solar. The one big loser is coal exporters who can expect falling sales volumes in coming years. Wake up Australia! [The Ecologist]

¶ “Propelling Pennsylvania wind projects forward through grassroots support” – Despite the environmental benefits, there is still a need for public support for new wind projects. Environmental concerns of residents of Black Creek Township, Pennsylvania, were successfully addressed. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

World:

¶ Djibouti, one of the poorest countries, needs cheap power to fund expansion of its harbors. Ethiopia, Africa’s fastest growing economy, relies on the nation’s ports for most of its exports and imports. Geothermal power is part of Djibouti’s plan to become 100% reliant on renewable energy by the end of the decade. [Onislam.net]

¶ The downturn in the oil and gas industry has prompted fears over 2,000 jobs at three oil rig fabrication yards in Fife and in the Outer Hebrides. These are to be discussed between First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and trade unions that missed out on contracts supported by the Scottish Government. [The National]

¶ A study published in online journal PLOS ONE from the University of East Anglia has revealed the drastic effects of the Balbina Dam on Amazonian tropical rainforest biodiversity. It reveals a loss of mammals, birds and tortoises from most of the islands formed by the creation of the vast Balbina Lake. [Bird Watch]

¶ Solar power supplied 16% of the UK’s electricity demand on one afternoon, as the country basked in sunshine, according to industry estimates. The news comes as solar-powered homes, commercial rooftop schemes and solar farms open to the public on Friday and Saturday as part of “solar independence day.” [The Guardian]

Children inspect panels at a UK solar farm. Photograph: Primrose Solar/PA.

Children inspect panels at a UK solar farm. Photograph: Primrose Solar/PA.

¶ The German Economy Minister says that if the funds by utilities for shutting down nuclear power plants are insufficient, they should be asked to make further payments. Germany’s four nuclear operators have set aside nearly $40 billion (US) for decommissioning and creating a safe waste disposal facility. [Yahoo! Maktoob News]

¶ German utility RWE is considering a restructuring as it battles an industry-wide crisis, a German newspaper reported on Saturday. German utilities are struggling in the face of weak energy demand and a boom in renewable energy sources that have priority over conventional power plants for grid access. [Reuters Africa]

¶ Governments must rethink plans for new coal-fired power plants around the world, which are now the “most urgent” threat to the future of the planet, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warns. The warning from a “club of the world’s richest countries” is strongly worded. [The Guardian]

¶ The International Renewable Energy Agency released reports for Fiji, the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu, concluding that a combination of solar, wind, geothermal, marine, biomass and biofuel could meet energy needs, decrease electricity costs, increase energy access, and boost energy independence. [Biobased Digest]

¶ Having regulatory approval, Kyushu Electric Power Co will begin loading nuclear fuel into a reactor at the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture on July 7 for planned restart in August. The reactor is planned to be restarted in mid-month after Kyushu Electric undergoes a month-long preparation. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ US developer TradeWind Energy plans to build a 108-MW wind farm in southwest Oklahoma. The Drift Sands scheme will be located in Grady County, about 60 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. The project area encompasses about 10,000 acres of private land under lease from around 25 landowners. [reNews]

Tradewind Energy's Smoky Hills wind farm in Kansas (Tradewind Energy)

Tradewind Energy’s Smoky Hills wind farm in Kansas (Tradewind Energy)

¶ When Tesla announced the Powerwall, its home energy storage product, it was stated that SolarCity would be offering the Powerwall to its customers in Hawaii and California, but details were slim. Now, SolarCity has announced its energy storage for new homes California homebuilders and their buyers.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Fort Hood is a leader in energy efficiency with the Army’s largest hybrid renewable energy project and vehicle-to-grid initiative, saving the installation money and resources while leveraging green technologies. The electric vehicle buys power from the grid, stores it and sells back what power it doesn’t use. [DVIDS]


July 3 Energy News

July 3, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Solar Impulse 2 has broken all distance and duration world records for solar aviation (80 hours and 5,663 km, or 3,519 miles). Pilot André Borschberg has also broken the record for the longest solo flight ever. Solar Impulse 2 has proven the vision of reaching unlimited endurance without fuel was not a crazy dream. [CleanTechnica]

Cartoon Credit: Solar Impulse

Credit: Solar Impulse.

World:

¶ The Philippines is set to be the home to South-East Asia’s largest solar photovoltaic power plant. Real estate developer Gregorio Araneta recently announced that it will set up a 100-MW solar PV power plant in Cadiz City after the successful implementation of a 30-MW project in the Philippines. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In Germany, Siemens has started operations at a plant at Energiepark Mainz, where hydrogen will be produced from excess wind power to be re-used as a general fuel or in natural gas pipelines. The €17 million energy storage project will provide sufficient hydrogen to power about 2000 fuel-cell cars. [Power Technology]

¶ Van Oord has installed the first monopile at the 600-MW Gemini offshore wind farm in the Dutch North Sea. The Aeolus installation vessel placed the first of 150 foundations at the project site, located 85 km off the coast of Groningen. The monopiles range in length from 59 m to 73 m depending on water depth. [CleanTechnology News]

¶ Dong has selected Siemens to supply 7-MW turbines for the 1.2-GW Hornsea 1 offshore wind farm in England. The company will use up to 171 of the next-generation machines at what will be the world’s largest wind farm project. The contract has yet to be signed, and work may begin in 2017 for completion in 2018. [reNews]

¶ DEME, a Belgian company, has awarded Alstom a contract to supply 66 Haliade 6-MW turbines to the Merkur offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. Work on the water some 45 km off Borkum will kick off in 2016 and will be carried out by DEME unit Geosea. Alstom, is in the midst of an acquisition by GE. [reNews]

Image: Alstom

Image: Alstom.

¶ Wind energy company Windlab has started construction of the wind farm at Coonooer Bridge, 80 km northwest of Bendigo, Victoria. The $50 million (Aus) wind farm will be built in northwest Victoria with six of the largest turbines in Australia. Each will generate about 13,000 MWh of electricity each year. [Business Spectator]

¶ Costa Rica produced 98.55% of its electricity through renewable energy sources in the first half of 2015, according to data of state-run utility Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad. The mix includes hydro, geothermal, wind, biomass and solar power. The goal for thermal generation for the year is 2.9%. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Toshiba developed a small robot in co-ordination with the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning to explore interiors of the primary containment vessel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Deployment of the robot will be carried out at the facility’s Unit 2. [Power Technology]

US:

¶ Iberdrola Renewables announced filing a potential 25-year contract to supply Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power, with wind energy from the permitted Deerfield Wind Farm. GMP would purchase 30 MW from the wind farm, under the contract submitted to the Vermont Public Service Board for review. [AZoCleantech]

¶ Fifteen years ago, California led the way to cleaner transit buses with strict tailpipe emissions standards that effectively ushered out diesel as the primary fuel for buses in the state and replaced it with natural gas. Now, California is taking the lead again by mandating a switch to “zero-emission” buses by 2040. [The Hans India]

Goodbye, natural gas.

Goodbye, natural gas.

¶ The Pennsylvania Utility Commission had proposed limits on anaerobic digesters. After receiving largely negative feedback from farmers and state agencies, it reversed course, excluding some digesters from being regulated. Now, state legislators are pushing a law to prevent limits in the future. [York Dispatch]

¶ Ameren Missouri has hopes for a large new solar array along the north side of Interstate 70. The 70-acre project will be visible from the highway for more than half a mile. The 15-MW solar plant that would produce an estimated 20,655 MWh per year, enough to power roughly 1,500 households annually. [Lake Expo]

¶ Coal is no longer king in America. That’s the latest findings from the US Energy Information Administration, which provides independent statistics and analysis of the energy sector. Coal lost its number one spot as the nation’s top electricity source for the first time on record this April, when it produced less than natural gas. [EcoWatch]

¶ The White House has categorically rejected biomass fuels as carbon neutral, saying the idea flies in the face of sound science. The administration issued a policy statement declaring its strong opposition to a House measure it believes would undermine President Obama’s ability to put environmental reforms in place. [Utility Dive]


July 2 Energy News

July 2, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Solar Impulse 2 has been in the air, nonstop, for 2 days, 20 hours, and 21 minutes at the time that I write this. André Borschberg, cofounder, CEO, and pilot, is at the controls of the first solar-powered airplane to make this historical oceanic flight, which will last at least 5 days and 5 nights nonstop. [CleanTechnica]

Photo Credit: Solar Impulse

Photo Credit: Solar Impulse

¶ Researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a coating that can be applied to turbine blades to reduce the amount of sound they make. The material, which is made of 3-D printed plastic, can reduce the noise generated by a blade up to 10 decibels without affecting aerodynamic performance. [Buildings]

¶ German utility RWE is a victim of the so-called “utility death spiral,” with its business based on central power plants losing billions of dollars in Germany’s renewables-rich market. But one RWE vice president says distributed energy technologies and business models could help turn its fortunes around. [Greentech Media]

World:

¶ Vestas Wind Systems has announced orders totalling 860 MW over the space of five days, covering seven orders in five countries. An announcement that Vestas had a 150-MW order from a Texas wind farm being developed by EDF Renewable Energy was followed by seven more orders, totalling 860 MW. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners has established a new €2 billion infrastructure fund targeted at renewables. The fund, described as a 20-year ‘buy-and-hold’ fund, has 19 financial investors. It will focus on investments in energy infrastructure in Northern and Western Europe as well as North America. [reNews]

¶ Dong Energy’s 210-MW Westermost Rough offshore wind plant was officially inaugurated off the east coast of England. The project is the first to use Siemens 6-MW wind turbines on a large scale in a commercial project. Each turbine will have an integrated helicopter-hoisting platform at the rear of the nacelle. [reNews]

The Siemens SWT-6.0-154 at Westermost Rough offshore wind power plant (Siemens)

The Siemens SWT-6.0-154 at Westermost Rough offshore wind power plant (Siemens)

¶ The Indian state of Tamil Nadu will sign power purchase agreements for 2,000 MW of solar power by the end of this year. Tamil Nadu is expected to buy 1,000 MW of solar power by the end of July, according to the minister of electricity, non-conventional energy development, prohibition and excise. [Business Standard]

¶ SunEdison, Inc, the world’s largest renewable energy development company, and Gamesa, a global technology leader in wind energy, today announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create a joint venture to develop up to 1 GW of wind energy power plants globally by 2018. [Jakarta Post]

¶ Germany has agreed to mothball about five of the country’s largest brown coal power plants to meet its climate goals by 2020, retaining them as a “capacity reserve” system for power shortages. The decision means Germany could meet its goal of reducing German CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990. [The Guardian]

¶ Morocco’s Platinum Power, a subsidiary of US private equity firm Brookstone Partners, plans to invest $845 million to build a hydroelectric project in Cameroon, the company said. Platinum Power signed an agreement with the country’s government to build a 400-MW complex in the country’s Center Region. [Reuters Africa]

¶ Greenpeace and nine German and Austrian utilities selling renewable energy say they are launching legal action against state aid for the Hinkley Point C project in southwest England. The aid was approved by the European Commission, but they will argue that the aid would distort prices in mainland European. [Reuters]

US:

¶ Two states recently passed legislation significantly increasing renewable electricity goals. On June 8, Hawaii updated legislation setting a 100% renewable portfolio standard by 2045. On June 11, Vermont passed a bill creating a 75% RPS by 2032. Both targets are higher than any others in the United States. [CleanTechnica]

Source: US Energy Information Administration Note: The figure includes primary renewable targets and does not adjust for additional sub-targets.

Source: US Energy Information Administration Note: The figure includes primary renewable targets and does not adjust for additional sub-targets.

¶ US renewables developer SunEdison Inc says it has obtained the $360 million of financing needed for the 185-MW Bingham Wind project in Maine, and construction is under way. The wind farm will bring the company’s wind portfolio in Main to 552 MW. It will provide power for over 65,000 households. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The Missouri Public Service Commission voted Wednesday to deny a Texas company’s plan for a controversial $2.2 billion, 780-mile transmission line to carry power from Kansas high plains wind farms across Missouri to eastern power grids. Backers pushed the project as important in the fight for clean power. [Kansas City Star]


July 1 Energy News

July 1, 2015

Science and Technology:

¶ Samsung researchers developed a technology that enables coating silicon battery cathodes with high crystal graphene. They can now virtually double the capacity of lithium-ion batteries! This energy density increase could almost double the range of electric vehicles without adding a single pound of weight. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ China has submitted a United Nations climate Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). The Chinese greenhouse gas emitter’s contribution means plans from the 193 UN nations now cover over half the world’s GHG emissions. China’s plan is to cut the emissions relative to its GDP by 60% by 2030. [CleanTechnica]

Yangtze River, China (cc via travelojos.com)

Yangtze River, China (cc via travelojos.com)

¶ Kyocera TCL Solar LLC, a joint venture of Kyocera Corp and Century Tokyo Leasing Corp, has commenced construction of a 23-MW solar power plant on an abandoned golf course in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. The plant will generate an estimated 26,312 MWh per year, enough for about 8,100 local households. [KSL.com]

¶ Brazil and the United States announced a joint effort to address climate change and boost renewable energy during a visit by Brazilian President Rousseff. Both countries pledged to increase renewable energy targets to 20% by 2030. Brazil will also restore 12 million hectares of forest, roughly the size of Pennsylvania. [ThinkProgress]

¶ Wholesale electricity prices in Ireland will continue to fall over the coming years as the onshore wind building boom gathers pace ahead of the 2017 refit deadline. A Moody’s Investors Service report says wholesale power is likely to fall by between €53 and €58 per MWh over the next three years due to windpower. [reNews]

US:

¶ A transformer fire that shut down Indian Point nuclear power plant on May 9 was caused by a failure of insulation, according to an internal investigation. Entergy Corp, which runs the plant, said the failure lead to the transformer in Unit 3 to short-circuit and catch fire. The fire was put out with water and foam. [CBS Local]

Black smoke billows from the Indian Point nuclear power plant on May 9, 2015. (Credit: @RocklandFires/Twitter)

Black smoke billows from the Indian Point nuclear power plant on May 9, 2015. (Credit: @RocklandFires/Twitter)

¶ An Oklahoma woman who was injured by an earthquake can sue oil companies for damages, the state’s highest court has ruled. This opens the door to other potential lawsuits against the state’s energy companies. Researchers have blamed fracking for a dramatic spike in earthquakes in the state. [Columbus Dispatch]

¶ Vestas has confirmed that it will be supplying 150 MW worth of wind turbines to the Salt Fork wind power plant in Texas. EDF Renewable Energy placed the order for 75 of Vestas’ V100-2.0 MW turbines to go towards the Salt Fork wind power plant, located in the Donley and Gray Counties of Texas. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A statewide ban on fracking is now official in New York State, nearly a year after communities won the right to ban oil and gas development locally. This action concluded New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s comprehensive, seven-year review and completely prohibits fracking. [Environment News Service]

¶ Texas-based community-owned utility Austin Energy has received record-low, firm solar power bids of under $40 per MWh in a recent 600-MW request for proposals. Austin Energy has a goal to source from renewables 55% of its power by 2025, and it is retiring coal-fired and gas-fired power capacity. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar Farm. Author: Michael Mees meesphotography.com License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

Solar Farm. Author: Michael Mees meesphotography.com License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

¶ Bill Gates has announced that he will be investing $2 billion in renewable energy initiatives, especially focussing on those that make use of innovative technologies. Gates has become known as a supporter of clean energy and sustainability, investing aggressively in solar power and similar types of energy. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶ Annapolis could leap to the front of the green-energy movement if plans for a 16.8-MW solar facility are approved. Annapolis Renewable Energy Park would house the nation’s largest solar energy project installed on a closed landfill. The city’s landfill is 80 acres, and its lease would earn the city $260,000 per year. [CapitalGazette.com]

¶ The US DOE and some state governments have launched funding and other programs to encourage microgrid development. Microgrids can increase renewable and distributed power generation and improve the resiliency of grid systems vulnerable to severe weather events and cyber-attacks. [energybiz]

¶ Duke Energy, Samsung SDI and Younicos are teaming up to upgrade a 36-MW energy storage and power management system at the 153-MW Notrees wind farm in west Texas. The system has been operating since 2012. Its lead-acid batteries which will be replaced during 2016 with lithium-ion technology. [reNews]


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