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

May 25, 2016

16,846 links to articles in 1454 regular daily posts 

§ The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report, a depressingly drab account of NRC news, posted on non-holiday weekdays and Saturdays. May 25 news is that out of 100 US-licensed reactors, 3 were at reduced output and 6 not operating.

§ Video: Energy Week: 5/19/2016 – Climate change has been happening faster since 1998, despite what some politicians say. Nuclear power plant owners are looking for subsidies, as their costs higher. Facebook and Microsoft are thinking about putting money into replacing all US coal plants with renewables by 2025. Renewables are being built faster, even with low gas prices. And there is more.

geoharvey is one of George Harvey’s Blogs.

May 25 Energy News

May 25, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Here’s how smart power could help the UK reach 100 per cent renewable energy” • Both Portugal and Germany have recently succeeded in meeting almost all of their power needs using renewable energy. At the moment, the UK falls far short of this feat, but that could be changed. [Business Green]

Off the grid. from www.shutterstock.com.

Off the grid. From http://www.shutterstock.com.

Science and Technology:

¶ A PricewaterhouseCoopers report, Electricity beyond the grid: accelerating access to sustainable power for all, says rural electrification is best done by renewable off-grid technologies. It said current trends will leave two-thirds of the world’s population without electricity in 2030. [CPI Financial]

¶ Dosing farm animals with antibiotics increases greenhouse gas emissions from cow dung, new research suggests. Scientists say the drugs boost methane production in cowpats, apparently by favoring antibiotic-resistant, methane-producing organisms found in the gut. [BBC]

Methane from cattle burps is a major contributor to carbon emissions. Science Photo Library.

Methane from cattle burps is a major contributor to carbon emissions. Science Photo Library.

¶ The gulf between laboratory tests and real world air pollution from cars is hampering efforts to cut the toxic air that kills millions of people a year worldwide, an expert at the UN warned. The World Health Organisation said harmful airborne particulates had risen by 8% in cities. [The Guardian]

World:

¶ Home Energy Africa, which specializes in the development and sales of renewable energy products, got a $705,000 grant from the US Trade and Development Agency for a solar PV project in Ghana. The project is projected to generate 100 MW, powering about 80,000 homes. [Planetsave]

Ghanaian landscape. Image via Shutterstock.

Ghanaian landscape. Image via Shutterstock.

¶ Growth of the Chinese electrochemical energy storage market over the past 5 years has eclipsed the global average, a report says, with a CAGR (2010–2015) of 110%. That’s about 6 times the global figure. The lithium-ion battery market accounted for about 66% of that market. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to new figures published by MAKE Consulting, the Asia Pacific excluding-China region is expected to install more than 63 GW of new wind power capacity in the next decade, with India, Australia, and Japan constituting approximately 72% of all new installations for the region. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm in South India. Photo by Thangaraj Kumaravel from Chennai, India. CC BY 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind farm in South India. Photo by Thangaraj Kumaravel from Chennai, India. CC BY 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Renewable energy could provide as much as four times the UK’s current energy consumption, according to a report from The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The 2008 Climate Change Act has set the target of slashing emissions by 80 percent by 2050, compared to a 1990 baseline. [CNBC]

¶ Total and SunPower announced a power purchase agreement for the supply of 300 GWh per year of solar energy to Metro of Santiago. With this agreement, Metro of Santiago will become the first public transportation system in the world to run mostly on solar energy. [Sun & Wind Energy]

Santiago Metro train. Image placed in the public domain by its author, Fevarasv. Wikimedia Commons.

Santiago Metro train. Image placed in the public domain by its author, Fevarasv. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ After provoking fuel shortages, French trade unions now want to turn their attention to the country’s electricity supplies as they up the ante against the government and its labour reforms. The union is calling on workers at the country’s nuclear power stations to join the strikes. [The Local.fr]

¶ The operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant revealed that 600 tonnes of fuel melted during the disaster, and that the exact location of the highly radioactive blobs remains a mystery. He also admitted the technology needed to remove the fuel, once it is found, has to be invented. [ABC Online]

Fukushima Daiichi five years after the 2011 meltdown. ABC: Yumi Asada

Fukushima Daiichi five years after the meltdown. ABC: Yumi Asada

US:

¶ DTE Energy has installed the first of nearly 200,000 solar panels at its 45-MW Lapeer solar project in Michigan. The project will consist of two solar farms with capacity of 30 MW, on 150 acres, and 15 MW, on 100 acres. Both projects are expected to be complete by the end of the year. [reNews]

¶ By continuing to advance technology and lower costs, windpower will stay on pace to grow to supply 10% of U.S. electricity by 2020. The ongoing cost cuts have led zero-emission wind energy to become one of the biggest, fastest, cheapest ways to cut carbon pollution. [Windpower Engineering]

The wind could supply 10% of US electricity by 2020.

The wind could supply 10% of US electricity by 2020.

¶ US commercial PV inverter manufacturer Yaskawa – Solectria Solar has announced that Bombard Renewable Energy chose its US-made utility-scale inverters and monitoring systems for a 17.5-MW community solar project in the Mojave Desert town of Pahrump, Nevada. [PV-Tech]

¶ Duke Energy Corp is taking a second step into pig poop. The company announced a deal, similar to one in March, to collect methane from animal waste and convert it into fuel for two of its existing electricity plants. The plants will provide annual power needs for about 880 homes. [PennEnergy]


May 24 Energy News

May 24, 2016

World:

¶ The private sector is leapfrogging inefficient state-owned utilities in Africa to deliver electricity to rural people, according to a report by consulting firm PwC. An estimated 80% of those without electricity live in rural areas, where transmission are excessively expensive. [BDlive]

Renewable energy programs aim to bring power to remote locations. File picture: CIRCA

Renewable energy programs aim to bring power
to remote locations. File picture: CIRCA

¶ A strike over new labor laws has spread to all of France’s eight oil refineries, the CGT union says, in an escalating dispute with the government. An estimated 20% of gas stations have either run dry or are low on supplies. Clashes broke out at the refinery at Fos-sur-Mer in Marseille. [BBC]

¶ The owner of London Taxi Company, the manufacturer of London’s iconic black cabs, has reportedly raised $400 million in new funding through a green bonds sale. These new funds will reportedly be used to electrify the company’s fleet offerings, such as the recently revealed hybrid TX5. [CleanTechnica]

London electric taxi.

London electric taxi.

¶ Ecotricity announced it has gained planning permission to build two new solar farms at existing wind farm sites in Devon and Leicestershire. This follows approval of 5 MW of solar capacity at a wind farm in Lincolnshire, which is expected to be the first ‘hybrid energy park’ in Britain. [Business Green]

¶ Offshore contractor Subsea 7 SA said it has been awarded a contract worth over $1 billion for the 588-MW Beatrice wind project off Scotland. The company has been selected by Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd to supply the turbine foundations and array cables for the project. [SeeNews Renewables]

Offshore wind turbines. Featured Image: Eugene Suslo / Shutterstock.com

Offshore wind turbines. Eugene Suslo / Shutterstock.com

US:

¶ MGM Resorts International said it plans to leave NV Energy in the fall and pay an $87 million exit fee to do so, while Wynn Resorts is planning a similar move. The casino giants filed paperwork with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, after months talks on costs. [PennEnergy]

¶ An energy bill released by key lawmakers in the Massachusetts House would require the state’s utilities to enter into long-term contracts to buy more offshore wind and hydro-power. The bill would require solicitation of contracts of 15 to 20 years for 1,200 MW of offshore wind power by 2027. [MassLive.com]

Associated Press photo.

Associated Press photo.

¶ A solar array approximately 60 to 80 times more powerful than any currently in the state may be coming to hundreds of acres in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. Ranger Solar of Yarmouth, Maine, is proposing to install a solar array of 60 to 80 MW on privately held property. [The Keene Sentinel]

¶ A trio of non-profits has come out with a report that makes a strong case for deploying energy storage plus on-site solar for low-income rental housing in California. The analysis says that under today’s market conditions, the combo would cut electricity bills practically nothing. [CleanTechnica]

Image (screenshot): via The Clean Energy Group.

Image (screenshot): via The Clean Energy Group.

¶ Online solar energy marketplace Geostellar has partnered with Etsy on a pilot program so members of the Etsy community can install solar PV systems at a discount, the companies say. Apparently they plan to use emissions reductions in aggregate to offset shipping emissions. [CleanTechnica]

¶ TVA’s Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor achieved initial criticality Monday, beginning its first sustained nuclear fission reaction. Meanwhile, the NRC is holding a public meeting today to discuss TVA’s response to a letter the NRC wrote over working conditions a the plant. [Knoxville News Sentinel]


May 23 Energy News

May 23, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Solar panels and battery systems power off-grid living as a lifestyle choice” • For some people, off-grid living is not a lifestyle choice, but a necessity due to his home’s isolated location. Others choose to live off-grid. In either case, no compromise on lifestyle is necessary. [Domain News]

Peter Long’s off-grid family home near Gunnedah, NSW. Photo: Supplied.

Off-grid family home near Gunnedah, NSW. Photo: Supplied.

World:

¶ Solar system owners in regional Queensland will start receiving a more generous rate for their solar electricity exports from July. The Queensland Competition Authority announced the new feed-in tariff for regional customers in 2016-17 is 7.448¢/kWh, 17.3% higher than 2015-16. [Energy Matters]

¶ A community hydropower scheme on the Thames at Teddington lock and weirs won planning permission and defeated a judicial review from the Lensbury club, but the club is now seeking to appeal against the judicial review decision. The Lensbury club is owned by oil giant Shell. [The Guardian]

A computer simulated model of the Teddington & Ham hydro project, which could produce electricity for 600 homes. Image courtesy of THH.

Computer simulation of the Teddington & Ham hydro project, which could produce electricity for 600 homes. Image courtesy of THH.

¶ Australia’s prime minister pledged to create a program offering grants to community groups for the installation solar and battery systems, if he is re-elected. The program would build on the Solar Towns program as part of the $30 million Coalition parks and environment policy. [Energy Matters]

¶ A consortium of developers have made a positive final investment decision for the 588-MW Beatrice offshore wind farm in Scotland. SSE, Copenhagen Investment Partners and SDIC Power of China have committed to the 84-turbine, £2.6-billion project. Turbines will be installed in 2018. [reNews]

588-MW offshore wind farm to go ahead after positive investment decision. Siemens image.

A Siemens offshore turbine. Siemens image.

¶ Britain is turning to a new way to make sure it doesn’t run out of power. So-called aggregator firms get commitments from businesses to reduce power usage. For example, supermarkets can turn down refrigerators by a few degrees for a short period without any impact. [euronews]

¶ Israel came one step closer to a clean-energy future on Sunday, when the country inaugurated a 50-MW solar in the northern Negev, through a partnership with a subsidiary of France’s national electric company. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls attended the inauguration. [Jerusalem Post Israel News]

¶ Proton Power Systems has sealed a deal to work on the Orkney Islands “Surf and Turf” green energy project. The Newcastle-founded firm’s fuel cells are used in vehicles and buildings; now the group’ expertise has been called upon for the Scottish renewables scheme. [ChronicleLive]

The AK-1000 tidal energy turbine is prepared to be loaded onto a barge

The AK-1000 tidal energy turbine about to be loaded on a barge.

¶ A US-Japanese consortium has been established to build the £14-billion Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant in North Wales. Horizon Nuclear Power has appointed Menter Newydd, a Hitachi-Bechtel-JGC consortium, to help deliver the company’s lead nuclear build project on Anglesey. [WalesOnline]

¶ GE signed an agreement with Vietnam’s government to develop renewable energy, as US President Barack Obama and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quangaims watched. GE will provide 1,000 MW of wind-power capacity for Vietnam by 2025, enough to power 1.8 million households. [Nasdaq]

US:

¶ Energy prices are to remain low and fuel supplies high this summer, according to federal energy experts. More than 18 GW of generating capacity will be added to the grid this summer, mostly from new wind and solar projects, though the first nuclear plant in 20 years is expected. [Electric Co-op Today]

Wind turbines. Credit: D. O'Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines. Credit: D. O’Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant.
 CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ California ranks among the lowest states in per-capita energy consumption and per-capita energy spending, according to a new report from Beacon Economics. Nevertheless, with its large population the state is the second-largest energy consumer in the US, behind only Texas. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A Vermont solar facility developer is working with a Pittsfield, Vermont, property owner on a 1.9-MW power generating array, the second currently proposed in the town. Aegis Renewable Energy, of Waitsfield, Vt., proposes the facility on a 27.5-acre parcel off Cloverdale Street. [Berkshire Eagle]


May 22 Energy Week

May 22, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Solar Impulse has landed in Ohio following the 12th stage of its circumnavigation of the globe. The zero-fuel aircraft arrived in Dayton at 21:56 local time having flown from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 1,100-km journey took about 16 hours to complete, a relatively short hop for the plane. [BBC]

Solar Impulse's flight from Tulsa was fairly short, compared to some earlier stages. EPA.

Solar Impulse’s flight from Tulsa was fairly short, compared to some earlier stages. EPA.

World:

¶ Leaders of political parties in Sri Lankan parliament agreed to convert the Parliamentary complex from using grid power to solar power, the Government Information Department says. A Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy study found the conversion cost-effective. [Colombo Page]

¶ This fall, New Energy Corp Inc of Calgary will install a 25-kW EnviroGen hydrokinetic power system in the Winnipeg River for the Sagkeeng First Nation. The equipment does not require a dam and is anchored in the river. Sagkeeng also looks to install 50 kW of solar PVs. [Winnipeg Free Press]

The hydrokinetic turbine is ideal for isolated communities that rely on diesel generators. New Energy Corp Inc.

The hydrokinetic turbine is ideal for isolated communities that rely on diesel generators. New Energy Corp Inc.

¶ With major changes planned for Alberta’s electrical system as the government takes action on climate change, the Alberta Federation of Labour is fighting for thousands of workers impacted. At least 12 of the 18 coal-fired power plants are set to be closed by 2030. [Stony Plain Reporter]

¶ Doubling the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030 could save the global economy between $1.2 and $4.2 trillion each year, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. By comparison, the entire US federal budget in 2015 was $3.8 trillion dollars. [Jefferson Public Radio]

Solar panels on Cape Cod, in Harwich, Massachusetts.

Solar panels on Cape Cod, in Harwich, Massachusetts.

¶ The sun will be contributing to the electricity in a number of homes as the Barbados Light & Power’s solar panel plant comes on line by the end of next month. The 42-acre, 44 000-panel site is projected to save the electricity company $10 million in fuel costs annually. [Nation News]

¶ Neighbouring countries also want to have their say about the situation regarding the Belgian nuclear plants near the borders. There will be a demonstration in Maastricht on Sunday, to protest against the continued use of the “cracked” Doel and Tihange centers. [The Brussels Times]

©Belga

Doel nuclear plant in Belgium. ©Belga.

US:

¶ Authorities say misaligned mirrors caused a small fire that shut down a generating tower at the world’s largest solar power plant. San Bernardino County fire Captain Mike McClintock says a malfunction focused sunbeams wrong, causing electrical cables to catch fire. [KTNV Las Vegas]

¶ Solar energy in the region of California’s Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties is about to cross a major threshold: 1 GW of solar power installed. This is enough electricity to power more than a quarter million homes in the area. Solar power has become mainstream. [Ventura County Star]

Parking lot of the Ventura County Government Center. Photo contributed by the Ventura Public Works Agency.

Parking lot of the Ventura County Government Center. Photo contributed by the Ventura Public Works Agency.

¶ Last week the EPA finalized rules to cut methane leaks. Missouri environmentalists say the new federal rules are a step in the right direction, but more needs to happen. The Sierra Club says the rules will save around $100 million worth of natural gas that would otherwise be wasted. [KMAland]

¶ The fate of a long-debated solar project proposed for a site on 30 acres in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, could be decided at a Planning Board meeting Monday. Some people say the site includes Native American burial grounds, The board has until June 5 to decide whether to grant the permit. [The Recorder]


May 21 Energy News

May 21, 2016

World:

¶ HeliosAltas Corp, of Roseville, California, and DA Green Power Consulting, of the Philippines, announced their partnership to deploy Helios PowerWheel™ riverine energy technology in the Philippines. Helios said the agreement during the first four years is for a minimum of $16.2 million. [HydroWorld]

Helios Powerwheel™

Helios Powerwheel™

¶ Norway’s foremost institute for interdisciplinary climate research has launched a new initiative pairing scientists with leading investors to better explain climate risk. The Climate Finance Initiative will provide “a meeting place for climate scientists and leading global investors.” [CleanTechnica]

¶ Japanese companies Venti, Mitsubishi and C-Tech have agreed to develop a 66-MW wind farm in the north of the country. Construction on the 22-turbine plant is scheduled to start in September and finish in early 2019. It will supply electricity to Tohoku Electric Power Co. [reNews]

Mitsubishi image.

Mitsubishi image.

¶ According to GlobalData, the uptake of smart metering systems in the EU, where at least 80% of existing electricity meters are to be replaced by smart meters, could reduce EU emissions by up to 9%, and cutting annual household energy consumption by a similar amount. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Prince Edward Island’s legislative energy committee issued a report to the legislative assembly recommending a new energy strategy with an overarching goal of transitioning the province to 100% use of wind, solar and water power for all purposes by 2050. [The Guardian Charlottetown]

Committee says 100% renewable energy

Committee says 100% renewable energy

¶ Britain’s Rugeley coal power plant will close by the end of June because of worsening conditions for coal generation, its operator said. The 1-GW plant provides enough electricity to power a million homes, but with renewable energy and cheap gas it has become uncompetitive. [euronews]

¶ Poland’s parliament approved a bill that introduces extra requirements for building wind parks as the country aims to curb the booming industry. The bill is intended to help prop up its declining coal industry. The country now has 5.6 GW of installed wind capacity. [Bloomberg]

US:

¶ Conservatives for Clean Energy commissioned a poll of 800 North Carolina voters on attitudes towards energy sources. It found deep support among both Democrats and Republicans for solar and wind energy, but less enthusiasm for nuclear power and offshore drilling. [Charlotte Observer]

Apple's solar farm near Newton, North Carolina. Mark Hames mhames @ charlotteobserver.com

Apple’s solar farm near Newton, North Carolina.
Mark Hames, mhames @ charlotteobserver.com.

¶ The Florida Supreme Court, in a 6-1 decision, ruled that the Florida Public Service Commission did not have legal authority to approve a Florida Power & Light request to invest ratepayer’s money in a controversial Oklahoma natural-gas project. [Tampa Bay Business Journal]

¶ Exelon said it will shut down the Clinton nuclear plant next year unless it gets financial support from the Illinois legislative session, which is scheduled to end May 31. The chair of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee said it won’t get to the Senate floor for a vote anytime soon. [Herald & Review]

The Clinton nuclear plant in Illinois.

The Clinton nuclear plant in Illinois.

¶ New analysis of the Clean Power Plan shows average US electricity demand growth would decline from 0.61% to 0.31% annually, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp. Combined wind and solar capacity would rise by an additional 10 to 20 GW over the next 15 years. [Utility Dive]

¶ Twenty New York state senators, led by Senators Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman, are urging Governor Andrew M Cuomo, and Audrey Zibelman, chair of the state’s Public Service Commission, to include an offshore wind tier in the state’s clean energy standard. [North American Windpower]


May 20 Energy News

May 20, 2016

World:

¶ While Australian network operators are usually keen to underline the importance of the grid, a survey by Western Power of regional consumers has shown that an overwhelming majority, four out of five, are either very keen or are open to the idea of cutting the line altogether. [RenewEconomy]

Customers want to leave the grid.

Most customers want to leave the grid.

¶ The latest inventory of national greenhouse gas emissions, released by the government, indicates that Australian emissions increased 1% over the 2015 calendar year, growing to 3% above 2000 levels, and forecast to be above of Australia’s target of -5% on 2000 levels by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to a new report from GlobalData, China was responsible for nearly half of all new wind installations globally during 2015. Only a few weeks ago, GlobalData predicted China’s installed wind capacity would triple by 2030, reaching 495 GW, up from 149 GW in 2015. [CleanTechnica]

Windpower in Xinjiang China.

Windpower in Xinjiang China.

¶ South Australia Power Networks announced the biggest trial of rooftop solar and energy storage of its type in the country, in a bid to prove that the new “distributed generation” technologies can avoid the need to build additional network infrastructure, and so save customers money. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Ontario has enshrined its carbon-cutting targets in law, along with emissions trading and green investment plans. Canada’s most populous province, home to 14 million people, aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions 37% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. [Climate Home]

Toronto. (Flickr/Rick Harris)

Toronto. (Flickr/Rick Harris)

¶ In Germany, windpower production is now expected to exceed that of nuclear. Research institute IWR expects total German wind power production to rise to 100 TWh this year from 88 TWh in 2015. With a plant closing, nuclear power production declined to around 87.1 TWh. [Argus Media]

¶ Australia’s Coalition government has commissioned a “technology neutral” roadmap for a “low emissions” future by the end of the year, but indicated it is still struggling with the idea of a high renewables-penetration grid. It has troubles with the idea of intermittent power. [RenewEconomy]

Australian solar and wind.

Australian solar and wind.

¶ Europe’s biggest oil companies, reeling from losing billions in the two-year oil market rout, are intensifying their push into renewable energy as they hunt for new sources of future revenue. Shell, Eni, Total and Statoil have announced green energy investments totaling $2.5 billion. [Daily Times]

US:

¶ The DOE is advancing another $3.7 million to the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp to continue engineering work on a proposed wind turbine project in Lake Erie about seven to 10 miles northwest of downtown Cleveland. DOE grants to LEEDCo now total $10.7 million. [cleveland.com]

LEEDCo wind turbine and barge. Howard Tucker, Grossi Public Relations.

LEEDCo wind turbine and barge.
Howard Tucker, Grossi Public Relations.

¶ New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced that Fortune 500 retailers Best Buy and Nordstrom have agreed to the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s request that they increase the use of renewable energy in their operations and supply chain. [RealEstateRama]

¶ Hawaiian Electric signed an agreement with Fortis, operator of a liquified natural gas facility in British Columbia, to supply fuel, starting in 2021. The 20-year deal depends on approvals for Fortis to expand its facility and for Hawaiian Electric to merge with NextEra Energy Resources. [ithaca.com]

Tilbury LNG illustration (courtesy Fortis)

Tilbury LNG illustration (courtesy Fortis)

¶ Green energy advocates are aghast at the North Carolina legislature’s latest proposal to regulate wind farms and solar farms. It would impose financial and safety hurdles stricter, in some ways , than those for coal-burning power plants and nuclear power plants. [Asheboro Courier Tribune]

¶ Microsoft is kicking up its targets for environmentally sustainable cloud computing by pledging that half of the electricity to power its data centers will come from renewable sources by 2018. The announcement came at a summit of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. [GeekWire]

Dedicated wind farms are an increasingly important source of energy for data centers.

Dedicated wind farms are an increasingly
important source of energy for data centers.

¶ Pennsylvania’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission unanimously rejected the state’s Public Utility Commission’s controversial rules that would have capped surplus sales to utilities through a net metering system at 200% of a customer’s annual consumption. [Tribune-Review]

¶ In separate hearings, the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved two bills that would create a new licensing framework at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the review of advanced reactors. [Bloomberg BNA]


May 19 Energy News

May 19, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Europe keeps hitting clean energy milestones” • May has been a good month for clean energy in Europe. Coal plants have faltered and wind farms are thriving, and not just in Denmark, the continent’s shining example of renewable energy. We’re whizzing by milestones right and left! [Grist]

Solar power in Germany. Shutterstock image.

Solar power in Germany. Shutterstock image.

Science and Technology:

¶ A study undertaken by the Australian Marine Conservation Society found that coal dust released by the industrial expansion down Australia’s Reef coastline, including Abbot Point, threatens marine flora and fauna prompting the authors to urge a cap on coal port expansion. [Ship Technology]

World:

¶ About 15% of all Australian homes have rooftop solar PVs, but only 1% of the rentals do. That will change, as Australia’s 2 million rental homes are getting access to less costly solar energy under an innovative Digital Solar scheme, which makes money for landlords and saves it for tenants. [CleanTechnica]

Rooftop solar in Australia.

Rooftop solar in Australia.

¶ Increasingly, German firms and communities are investing in power-to-heat (P2H) systems. Last year, there were negative prices for power on 25 days, up from 15 days in 2012. The P2H process is highly efficient, nearly 100% according to one report, making it inexpensive. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The world’s biggest rooftop solar plant was officially inaugurated by Punjab’s Chief Minister about 45 km from Amritsar. The 11.5-MW rooftop solar energy plant is spread across an area of more than 82 acres and was built at a cost of ₹139 crore ($20.9 million). [newsgram.com]

¶ Tata Power Co Ltd said its renewable energy unit won two solar projects, each of 50-MW capacity, in the Indian state of Karnataka, at a tariff of ₹4.79/kWh (7¢/kWh). The company will sell power from the projects to a state-run system under a 25-year power purchase agreement. [Livemint]

Indian solar tariffs have been falling. Photo: Bloomberg

Indian solar tariffs have been falling. Photo: Bloomberg

¶ After nearly five months of electricity crisis, Tasmania’s major gas power generator, the 208-MW combined cycle gas turbine at the Tamar Valley Power Station, is back on standby. With recent rains, the state’s replenished dams are now supplying more power than is needed. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ Electric cooperatives in Indiana will soon have access to 100 MW of wind energy under a recently announced power purchase agreement. Wabash Valley Power Association and Hoosier Energy should get power from the Meadow Lake V wind farm in 2018. [Electric Co-op Today]

Meadow Lake wind. (Photo By: EDP Renewables)

Meadow Lake wind. (Photo By: EDP Renewables)

¶ Independent power producer sPower will commission three PV facilities, Bayshore A, B, and C, in Lancaster, California, over the course of 2017. Each solar facility will have a capacity of 20 MW, and PG&E has agreed to purchase the power produced at the plants on 20-year PPAs. [pv magazine]

¶ The Oregon Department of Energy has recommended regulators approve the 500-MW Wheatridge wind project in the northern part of the state. US developer Swaggart Wind Power plans to build up to 292 turbines divided into two areas linked together with a transmission line. [reNews]

The Oregon portfolio includes Shepherds Flat (Blattner)

The Oregon portfolio includes Shepherds Flat (Blattner)

¶ Vermont’s renewable energy sector exceeded growth projections in 2015 by 3%, meaning an additional 1,400 employees, for a total of 17,700 renewable energy-related jobs in the state, Governor Peter Shumlin said. Green energy employs about 6% of the state’s workforce. [vtdigger.org]

¶ Solar power could deliver $400 billion in environmental and public health benefits in the United States by 2050, according to a study from the US DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The study is part of the SunShot Initiative. [(e) Science News]

¶ New York State officials discussing the state’s proposed Clean Energy Standard. The proposed plan calls for the state to generate 80% of electricity from renewable power by 2050. Incredibly, however, the proposed plan includes subsidies for four nuclear power plants. [The River Reporter]


May 18 Energy News

May 18, 2016

World:

¶ UK building society Nationwide will buy the electricity generated at Baywa’s 45-MW Vine Farm solar park under a fixed-price power purchase agreement for 15 years. The Vine Farm facility, located south of Cambridge, generates enough power for about 11,500 households. [reNews]

BayWa solar park in England.

BayWa solar park in England.

¶ Mahachai Green Power Co, a Thai-German joint venture, and DPCleanTech Group, a biomass energy provider, have announced the completion of the first high temperature high-pressure biomass power plant, which converts all forms of coconut waste into energy. [Bioenergy Insight Magazine]

¶ Wind turbine markets, which had been at $32.2 billion in 2011, are anticipated to reach $96.7 billion by 2018. Growth is expected to be worldwide and a result of marked improvements in the technology. In places where wind turbines are installed, they can reduce transmission requirements. [NewsMaker]

Vestas wind turbines in Austria. Photo by Kwerdenker. CC BY-SA 3.o unported. Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons.

Vestas wind turbines in Austria. Photo by Kwerdenker.
CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ A record $330 billion has been invested in renewable energy after the crash of oil and gas prices, according to Bloomberg’s Michael Liebreich. Unsubsidized renewable energy prices now outcompete gas, with bids for wind and solar sometimes well below 4¢/kWh. [MyBroadband]

¶ The Canadian electric utility Hydro-Québec, which supplies about 22% of Vermont’s power, says the renewable energy it exported to the US in 2015 prevented 7.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions that otherwise would have come from fossil fuel plants. [vtdigger.org]

Hydro-Québec's Manic-cinq electric power plant. Photo by Bouchecl. CC BY-SA 3.o unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Hydro-Québec’s Manic-cinq electric power plant. Photo by Bouchecl. CC BY-SA 3.o unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The president of Bolivia said the country will have 549 MW of renewable power capacity by 2020. He presented four wind schemes with a combined capacity of 120 MW and a current investment of $96 million (€84.7 million). Some projects are still raising funds. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The fallout from Japan’s nuclear disaster hit home as a former Japanese prime minster and US sailors file a lawsuit against TEPCO. Over 5,000 sailors who were aboard the USS Ronald Reagan after the Fukushima Disaster. Many say they are suffering from radiation exposure. [AM 760 KFMB]

US:

¶ An estimated 143,023 workers are employed in the Texas advanced energy industry, and the expected growth rate this year is 7%. Currently, the number of advanced energy workers is twice that of airline workers in Texas. It is also almost the same as the number working in construction. [CleanTechnica]

Wind farm. Image by Leaflet, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wind farm. Image by Leaflet, CC BY-SA 3.0.

¶ Kaiser Permanente unveiled an aggressive environmental plan to reduce water use, reduce waste, and eliminate or offset its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Kaiser also will buy its food from local sources or farms that follow sustainable practices and avoid overuse of antibiotics. [SFGate]

¶ Massive wind turbines could end up floating in deep ocean waters off Hawaii’s shores under two current proposals. Two companies have proposed offshore wind turbine projects for federal waters off Oahu as Hawaii pushes to meet its aggressive renewable energy goals. [Maui News]

A WindFloat Prototype near Setubal, Portugal. Principle Power via AP (Joshua Weinstein/Principle Power via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

WindFloat Prototype near Setubal, Portugal. Principle Power via AP.

¶ The declining use of coal last year sent Arkansas carbon emissions lower than would be required by the Clean Power Plan in the rule’s final year of implementation. Carbon emissions dropped last year to 30.1 million tons. The CPP would limit Arkansas emissions to 30.6 million tons in 2030. [Utility Dive] (Arkansas is one of the states suing the EPA over the Clean Power Plan.)

¶ Several Maine communities are reconsidering or shelving plans to build large-scale solar energy projects after a bid to reform Maine’s solar regulations failed. The cities and towns had been planning to install PV panels on top of capped landfills that otherwise have no use. [Press Herald]

¶ Dow Chemical Company will partner with NRG to reduce its carbon emissions by increasing its clean energy target from 400 MW to 750 MW by 2025. This increase aligns with Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals and was achieved within the first year of the launch of the goals. [POWER magazine]


May 17 Energy News

May 17, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Earth experienced the warmest April on record, keeping 2016 on track to be the hottest year yet and by the biggest margin ever. New data released by NASA put this April’s land and sea temperatures at 1.11 degrees Celsius warmer than average April temperatures between 1951 to 1980. [CNN]

Coral bleaching, Great Barrier Reef

Coral bleaching, Great Barrier Reef

¶ The Ford Motor Company announced that it will use foam and plastic parts sourced from reclaimed carbon dioxide. Ford plans to transition its seating and underhood foam and plastic parts to materials made with reclaimed carbon dioxide, following a test period. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Around 12,000 people have been urged to leave Canada’s oil sands camps near the fire-hit town of Fort McMurray as a resurgent wildfire heads towards them. The vast fire now covers 930 square miles. It had moved away from the city but recently started to threaten the area again. [BBC]

The wildfires have devastated parts of Fort McMurray.

The wildfires have devastated parts of Fort McMurray.

¶ The global anti-fossil fuel campaign Break Free wrapped up 12 days of protests on Monday, with more than 30,000 activists calling for a shift away from fossil fuels. Organizers said it was the “largest global civil disobedience in the history of the climate movement.” [eco-business.com]

¶ Plans by Japan to build dozens of coal-fired power stations will cause at least 10,000 premature deaths, according to a study, as the country struggles to fulfil its climate change obligations five years after the Fukushima disaster closed down almost all of its nuclear plants. [The Guardian]

¶ Altogether the UK’s electricity system was coal-free for almost a third of last week, the Financial Times reported. On May 12th and 13th, the UK went almost the entire day without drawing on coal-fired generators, with natural gas, wind and solar stepping in to fill the breach. [Business Green]

UK Electric supplies for May 12.

UK Electric supplies for May 12. Coal is at the bottom, almost invisible, below the gray area representing nuclear power.

¶ Wrapping up the G-7 environment ministers’ meeting, Tamayo Marukawa, as chairwoman of the talks, hailed the group’s “strong political will” to implement the Paris accord. But Japan is unclear on a plan for renewables, and she pointed out weaknesses in relying on nuclear power. [The Japan Times]

¶ The world’s largest floating windfarm is set to be erected off the coast of Scotland and could be operating by the end of 2017. Five floating 6-MW turbines will be tethered to the bottom of the seabed 16 miles (25 km) in deeper water than any other development in the UK. [Daily Mail]

¶ More than 1.5 million households in Australia have rooftop solar. And in a few months time, 40 Tasmanian homes will be acting as mini power stations, not just producing energy for their own consumption and to export back into the grid, but actively trading the power they generate. [The Guardian]

Bruny Island has huge spikes of power demand during the holiday season. Photo by Dave Hunt/AAP

Bruny Island has huge spikes of power demand
during the holiday season. Photo by Dave Hunt/AAP

¶ A new poll indicates 64% of Australians would be more likely to vote for a party with plans to source 100% of Australia’s energy from renewables. The Reachtel poll of 2,400 Australians also indicates 56.1% would be more likely to vote for a party with a policy to phase out coal power. [Energy Matters]

¶ Last week, Portugal hit a major milestone in its ongoing effort to move to renewable energy. The entire country ran for more than half a week without having to resort to fossil fuels. That’s thanks to a big push toward solar, wind, and hydro power and a little nudge from the EU. [Geek]

US:

¶ The Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to fix the problem of bird kills, but in a way that may seem counterintuitive. The agency released a proposed revision to their eagle management strategies on May 6. But instead of putting stricter rules in place, it’s doing the opposite. [High Country News]

NREL researcher Jason Roadman and veterinarian Seth Oster release a Bald Eagle. Photo by Dennis Schroeder and John de la Rosa / NREL

NREL scientists release a Bald Eagle. Photo by
Dennis Schroeder and John de la Rosa / NREL

¶ In the first three months of 2016, the US grid added 18 MW of new natural gas generating capacity. It added a whopping 1,291 MW of new renewables. The renewables were primarily wind (707 MW) and solar (522 MW). We also added some biomass (33 MW) and hydropower (29 MW). [ThinkProgress]

¶ Enel has begun construction of the 150-MW Lindahl wind project in North Dakota. The company expects to complete the $220-million (€194 million) project by 2017. It will be able to produce some 625 GWh per year, enough to power over 50,000 average US homes. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in USA. Author: Tripp. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

Wind farm in USA. Author: Tripp. License:
Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ The Power Company of Wyoming plans to start roadwork this summer for the two-phase 3-GW Chokecherry Sierra Madre wind farm in the southern part of the state. The developer proposes to kick off in August with work on a haul road linking up to a new 14-mile rail spur. [reNews]


May 16 Energy News

May 16, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ An Innovate UK-funded industry group is working on a new generation of transparent solar panel technology that matches the costs and performance of standard high-performance glazing while delivering clean, renewable energy to the buildings in which they are installed. [Power Technology]

Polysolar glass PVs.

Polysolar glass PVs.

Opinion:

¶ “US EIA Responds To CleanTechnica Letter/Criticism On Energy Forecasts” • Over 2 years ago, CleanTechnica readers wrote an open letter to the US Energy Information Administration regarding its incredibly far-off-mark energy forecasts. After two years, the EIA has responded. [CleanTechnica]

Twelve years without solar installations - EIAs improbable projection on the growth of solar PV

The EIA projected twelve years without solar installations starting
in 2017. Historically, EIA projections have always been wrong.

World:

¶ Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, established a new division to invest in renewable and low-carbon power. The move came days after experts at Chatham House warned international oil companies they must transform their business or face a “short, brutal” end within 10 years. [The Guardian]

¶ Wind farms in the UK produced more power than coal for a whole month for the first time in April, industry body RenewableUK pointed out. According to National Grid statistics, wind generated 2,290 GWh of electricity in April, while coal provided only 1,755 GWh. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in UK. Author: Mycatkins. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

Wind farm in UK. Author: Mycatkins. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

¶ Nissan has revealed a new home energy storage product created from recycled batteries sourced from the company’s electric vehicle offerings. The move means that Nissan has now joined Tesla and Daimler in the offering of home energy storage systems in addition to electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Chinese companies Goldwind and CECEP Wind Power Corporation have started building the 175-MW White Rock wind farm in New South Wales. The $400-million project will be operational in the second half of 2017. Initially it will feature 70 Goldwind 2.5-MW turbines. [reNews]

Goldwind wind farm outside of Urumqi, China. Photo by Pzavislak at English Wikipedia. Placed in the public domain by the author. Wikimedia Commons.

Goldwind wind farm in China. Placed in the public domain by
its author, Pzavislak at English Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, plans legal action against VW over the firm’s emissions scandal. The fund’s lawyers said VW’s conduct gives rise to legal claims under German law. Volkswagen has admitted it installed secret software to cheat on emissions tests. [BBC]

¶ It has only been a week since South Australia’s last coal-fired generator closed, but already a new pattern is emerging that points the path away from “baseload” built around coal, gas or nuclear, to a new energy system built around wind and solar and other renewables. [RenewEconomy]

US:

¶ The US has signed an agreement with Denmark to strengthen cooperation on offshore wind energy. The memorandum of understanding recognizes both countries common interests in developing the technology as a clean and sustainable energy source, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy said. [reNews]

Photo by Lina Bertling.

Photo by Lina Bertling.

¶ Alliant Energy is partnering on a project in Walworth County, Wisconsin, with Korean solar energy firm Hanwha Q Cells USA. The rows of solar collecting panels, 7,740 in all, are geared to tilt in electronically controlled motion to track the sun across the sky. They will have 2.3 MW of capacity. [Gazettextra]

¶ Wind-turbine service technicians, who must work at extreme heights in all sorts of weather, occupy a job category projected to expand more than any other through 2024, outpacing health care and technology, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. [Northwest Arkansas News]

Climbing the ladder in a mast. Bloomberg News photo / Matthew Staver

Climbing the ladder in a mast.
Bloomberg News photo / Matthew Staver

¶ In the US, CO2 emissions from electricity generation totaled 1,925 million metric tons in 2015, the lowest since 1993 and 21% below their 2005 level. This was partly due to shifts in the electric generation mix, with natural gas and renewables displacing coal-fired power. [Your Renewable News]

¶ Renewables yes, nuclear no, that’s the message New York environmentalists want the state’s Public Service Commission to hear. In the public comment period on a proposed Clean Energy Standard, the environmentalists urge the state to close the state’s nuclear plants. [Public News Service]


May 15 Energy News

May 15, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Crisis looms as our coal-fired power stations start to break down” • Coal-fired power stations are likely to break down more often as the deadline for closure approaches, leaving the UK vulnerable to power shortages. Nine coal-fired power stations remain in the UK. [This is Money]

Shutting down: Coal supplied about 17% of the UK’s electricity at the end of 2015, down from over 30% in 2014.

Shutting down: Coal supplied about 17% of the UK’s
electricity at the end of 2015, down from over 30% in 2014.

¶ “Coal vs. renewables: Texas a leader in shift to wind and solar energy” • If there’s a War on Coal, it’s increasingly clear which side is winning. Analysis by the investment firm Lazard determined that wind energy is now the lowest-cost energy source, even without tax incentives. [Longview News-Journal]

World:

¶ Experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa suggested that leveraging investments into renewable, digital and energy-efficient technologies will spur Africa’s ambitions to a fully electrified continent. Countries are expected to need to add 292 GW of new capacity in the next 35 years. [AllAfrica.com]

Wind farm on the Tunisian coast. Photo by IssamBarhoumi. CC BY-SA 4.0 international. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind farm on the Tunisian coast. Photo by IssamBarhoumi.
CC BY-SA 4.0 international. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The government of the Indian state of Karnataka is looking to increase the installed solar power capacity target from the current 2 GW to 6 GW by 2022. The new target is in line with the central government’s target of 8% share of solar power in national power consumption by 2022. [PlanetSave.com]

¶ Dubai Electricity and Water Authority said that solar PV panels have been installed on 30 buildings as part of the Shams Dubai initiative launched last year. The utility is working with 18 government organisations to connect 37 projects, with a total capacity of 279 kW. [The National]

Solar PVs have been installed on 30 buildings as part of the Shams Dubai initiative. Wam

Solar PVs have been installed on 30 buildings
as part of the Shams Dubai initiative. Wam

¶ To ensure power for all its people by 2025, Sierra Leone became the first country to sign an agreement in the UK’s Energy Africa campaign. It will eliminate tax on qualified internationally certified renewable energy products to ensure power to 1 million people by 2020. [Sierra Express Media]

¶ Dudgeon Offshore Wind said it has secured a £1.3 billion ($1.84 billion) financing for a 402-MW project being co-developed by Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar along with Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil and state-owned electricity company Statkraft. [Al-Bawaba]

The project is already more than half-completed. (Shutterstock)

The project is already more than half-completed. (Shutterstock)

US:

¶ Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp are joining forces with environmental groups to promote the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. They hope to develop 60 GW of renewable energy by 2025, enough to replace all coal-fired power plants in the US over the next four years. [domain-B]

¶ Power-stingy homes are a must in California. State policies now include a law requiring California’s built environment, tens of millions of structures, to operate twice as efficiently by the year 2030, cutting consumption of electricity and natural gas to half their projected levels. [LA Daily News]

Solar collectors on dorm at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California. Photo by Robert Ashworth. CC BY-SA 2.o generic. Wikimedia Commons.

Dorm at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California. Photo by Robert Ashworth. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ A Utah school district is getting ready to flip the switch on a unique alternative energy project. The 60-kW waste vegetable oil cogeneration plant at Grand County High School is the first of its kind for Rocky Mountain Power and one of a few biomass projects in the country. [KCSG]

¶ Wind turbine construction in the United States has rebounded to its highest level in three years in the aftermath of a long political fight over the future of federal tax credits that support renewable energy projects. More than 8,500 MW of wind power capacity was built last year. [Longview News-Journal]

Bliss Wind Farm near Eagle, New York. Photo from Windtech at English Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Bliss Wind Farm near Eagle, New York. Photo from Windtech at English Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Dozens of protesters demonstrated outside of a Florida Power & Light facility concerning leaks at the nuclear power plant at Turkey Point. The company announced that customers will shell out an estimated $50 million this year alone for the cleanup of hypersaline water coming from the plant. [Miami Herald]


May 14 Energy News

May 14, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ French scientist and yachtsman Raphael Dinelli is preparing to make the first carbon-free transatlantic flight a reality by June 2016. He will attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in the Eraole, hybrid biplane powered by solar panels and biofuel. The trip will last 60 hours. [CleanTechnica]

Frenchman Raphael Dinelli hopes to fly the Eraole across the Atlantic Ocean.

Frenchman Raphael Dinelli hopes to fly the
Eraole across the Atlantic Ocean.

¶ A German startup, Lilium Aviation, is working on a 100% electric jet that may fulfill the promise of the flying car. It says the jet can land or take off from an area the size of a typical garden, can fly about 500 km (310 miles), and recharges overnight from a standard household outlet. [BBC]

World:

¶ China is expected to raise its power storage capacity ten-fold to 14.5 GW by 2020. China is the world largest wind and solar power producer, but some regions are estimated to be losing more than 40% of their power because of technical restraints and bottlenecks in the grid. [Reuters]

Wind turbines and solar panels in China. Reuters/Jason Lee

Wind turbines and solar panels in China. Reuters / Jason Lee.

¶ One of the world’s largest offshore wind farms achieved financial close today, after its developers Masdar, Statoil and Statkraft announced they have secured £1.3 billion in recourse financing for the project. The 402-MW farm is being built 32 km off the coast of Norfolk. [Business Green]

¶ The 295-MW Nordsee Ost offshore wind farm in the German North Sea generated 1 TWh of electricity in the first year since the formal opening ceremony. The 48 Senvion 6.2M126 turbines delivered enough power to supply some 320,000 households, owner RWE innogy said. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm. RWE image.

Offshore wind farm. RWE image.

¶ Việt Nam’s power needs could be fully met by renewable energy by 2050, according to a report by World Wide Fund for Nature – Việt Nam and Việt Nam Sustainable Energy Alliance. The report suggests various scenarios for the country’s energy sector development strategy. [Viet Nam News]

¶ On May 9, several old UK power stations broke down, leading to a growing deficit in the wholesale electricity market. National Grid issued an emergency request for more supplies. Prices spiked accordingly to £1,250 per MWh ($1.79/kWh, wholesale). The price in summer is usually £50. [FT Alphaville]

¶ The Chinese company helping EDF with plans to build new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point has flatly dismissed the idea it would go it alone if the French company dropped out. CGN issued a statement saying it has no independent plans to build reactors at Hinkley Point C. [The Guardian]

A view of the proposed site for Hinkley Point C in Somerset. Photograph: Geoff Pagotto / EDF

A view of the proposed site for Hinkley Point C in Somerset. Photograph: Geoff Pagotto / EDF

US:

¶ After Exelon, the company owning the Clinton nuclear power plant, threatened to shut it down because it is no longer profitable, Illinois lawmakers filed bill of over 300 pages that they say will save the plant. They estimate the bill will cost the state around $150 million. [FOX Illinois]

¶ Massachusetts’ omnibus House energy bill will likely come in below Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal for hydropower procurement and below what the offshore wind industry wants to produce and sell to ratepayers, according to a House chairman working on the bill. [wwlp.com]

Offshore wind farm. AP Photo/ Peter Dejong, File

Offshore wind farm. AP Photo/ Peter Dejong, File

¶ Invenergy announced it has signed a 225-MW wind power purchase agreement with Google to provide renewable energy for its data center operations. The agreement includes the sale of 965,000 MWh of wind energy from the Bethel Wind Energy Facility in Texas. [invenergyllc.com]

¶ An 80-acre solar farm on Virginia’s Eastern Shore is slated to be completed later this year and will be one of the largest solar installations on the East Coast. The Amazon Solar Farm is being built by Community Energy Solar. The farm is expected to have a capacity of 80 MW. [Lancaster Farming]

Solar array at Cooper Vineyards in Louisa, VA. USDA photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Solar array at Cooper Vineyards in Louisa, VA.
USDA photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ New York is partnering with several private companies to invest up to $220 million in new clean energy and energy efficiency projects. The move, announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, is part of the state’s effort to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. [PennEnergy]

¶ The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced that it has become a partner in the DOE’s Better Buildings Combined Heat and Power Resiliency Accelerator, to help the nation seize opportunities to improve critical infrastructure in communities. [Long Island Exchange]

¶ Xcel Energy Inc filed a plan with Colorado state regulators to build, own and operate its $1 billion Rush Creek Wind Project, including a 600-MW wind farm and 90-mile power line in the eastern parts of the state. As proposed, it would be Colorado’s biggest wind farm. [Denver Business Journal]


May 13 Energy News

May 13, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ No need to wait very long for climate change to show up on the earth’s timeline. Climate scientist Ed Hawkins of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, UK posted this hypnotic moving image of climate change on Twitter this week. [CleanTechnica]

Spiralling global temperatures from 1850-2016.

Spiralling global temperatures from 1850-2016.

¶ Air pollution in cities worldwide is increasing at an “alarming rate” and killing millions each year, a report by the World Health Organization says. The report says more than 80% of people living in cities that monitor pollution are exposed to air quality levels that fail WHO standards. [The Epoch Times]

World:

¶ Over 850,000 renewable power plants have been set up across the Italian peninsula and it is starting to pay dividends for local communities, according to a report. Thirty-nine of Italy’s municipalities are now running on 100% renewable energy and utility bills are falling as a result. [EurActiv]

Solar energy in Rome. (UK in Italy / Flickr)

Solar energy in Rome. (UK in Italy / Flickr)

¶ The eStorage Project, a consortium of European stakeholders in the “electric power value chain,” has released a study identifying a massive 2291 GWh of development-ready sites having existing reservoirs that can be used as new pumped storage plants in the EU-15, Norway, and Switzerland. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Italian oil and gas major Eni SpA announced a plan to install over 420 MW of renewable energy capacity at home and abroad. The plan involves building renewable energy facilities in the vicinity of other company-owned plants, including on abandoned industrial areas. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar system in southern Italy. Author: Richard Allaway. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Solar system in southern Italy. Author: Richard Allaway. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

¶ Leni Gas Cuba Limited entered into an agreement with solar specialists Commercial Funded Solar to assess the potential for installing and operating renewable energy and hybrid power solutions (solar power, energy storage and power management systems) in Cuba. [Proactive Investors USA & Canada]

¶ Scotrenewables Tidal Power launched its 2-MW SR2000 tidal turbine at Harland & Wolff Heavy Industries in Belfast. The 550-tonne machine is the first commercial-scale unit built by the company. It will undergo preliminary tow trials in Belfast Lough before being towed to Orkney. [reNews]

Scotrenewables SR2000 tidal turbine (Scotrenewables)

Scotrenewables SR2000 tidal turbine (Scotrenewables)

¶ India’s renewable power producer Mytrah Energy exceeded its capacity target. Mytrah has added 283 MW of wind capacity over the last 12 months, increasing the company’s operating wind portfolio to 826.4 MW at the start of the 2016 wind season, 83 MW ahead of the company’s target. [Energy Voice]

US:

¶ In California, the use of coal to generate electricity has dropped dramatically, essentially going from small to almost microscopic. Two recent reports from the US Energy Information Administration show the decline. California had the steepest fall by percentage of any state. [Los Angeles Times]

Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona. Photo by Daniel Schwen. CC BY-SA 2.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona. Photo by Daniel Schwen. CC BY-SA 2.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Invenergy will work with Empire State Connector to transport up to 600 MW of wind power in upstate New York to customers in the New York City area. Submarine cables will be buried in the Erie Canal and the Hudson River. The project is expected to cost $1.5 billion [reNews]

¶ The Obama administration issued a final rule to cut methane emissions from US oil and gas production. The EPA rule has a goal to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas drilling by up to 45% by 2025, compared to 2012 levels. It will require energy producers to find and repair leaks. [Phys.Org]


May 12 Energy News

May 12, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Fuveme is a coastal village in Ghana, one of a number of villages that are vanishing because of coastal erosion. What was once a thriving fishing community is now best reachable by boat because of rising sea levels due to climate change. Waves have washed away whole parts of the village. [BBC]

Fuveme is just a slither of land now

Fuveme is just a slither of land now.

World:

¶ South Africa will connect 7,000 MW of renewable power to its grid by the middle of this year, when the first 47 projects become fully operational, the energy minister said. Africa’s most industrialised country has turned to solar and wind power to plug electricity shortages. [Yahoo News]

¶ The UK Energy Bill, which provides for the closure of the Renewables Obligation support regime for new onshore wind in Great Britain, concluded its passage through Parliament. Industry body RenewableUK called for tapping into onshore wind as the cheapest power option. [SeeNews Renewables]

Wind farm in UK. Author: JAK SIE MASZ. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Wind farm in UK. Author: JAK SIE MASZ.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

¶ Japan’s government is in the process of building a new fleet of coal-fired power stations that could prove worthless in a few decades as a result of overcapacity and falling energy costs, potentially stranding ¥6,223 billion ($56 billion) of assets, according to a new study. [Business Green]

¶ China’s largest coal company, Shenhua Energy, has signed an agreement with SolarReserve to build the largest amount of completely dispatchable solar electricity in the world: 1 GW of concentrating solar power (CSP). Shenhua will be responsible for the power block side. [CleanTechnica]

The power block of a CSP plant is essentially the same as any other thermal plant, whether geothermal, nuclear, coal, or combined cycle natural gas.

The power block of a CSP plant is much the same as any other thermal plant, whether geothermal, nuclear, coal, or natural gas.

¶ Tasmania has returned to 100% renewable electricity, at least temporarily, as significant rainfalls replenished dam levels and the state was able to operate without gas-fired or diesel generation for the first time since the Basslink cable was cut, preventing power imports from Victoria. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Northland Power Inc said it has installed 50 turbines at the 600-MW Gemini offshore wind farm and reported results for the first quarter of 2016. Of these, 27 are already producing power, bringing pre-completion revenues. Completion is expected in the middle of next year. [SeeNews Renewables]

Installation of the first Gemini wind turbine. Author: Northland Power Inc. License: All Rights Reserved.

Installation of the first Gemini wind turbine.
Credit: Northland Power Inc. License: All Rights Reserved.

¶ Outdoor air pollution has grown 8% globally in the past five years, with billions of people around the world now exposed to dangerous air, according to new data from more than 3,000 cities compiled by the World Health Organisation. The problem extends worldwide. [The Guardian]

US:

¶ Thousands of oil and gas industry wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused “widespread” contamination from radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk, researchers from Duke University said in a peer-reviewed study. [DeSmogBlog]

North Dakota, Williston - Bakken - Oil and Gas - Missouri River. Photo Credit: EcoFlight.

North Dakota, Williston – Bakken – Oil and Gas – Missouri River. Photo Credit: EcoFlight.

¶ The coal industry has been counting on exports to fill the gap in its declining sales, but it looks like the US Army Corps of Engineers has put the damper on that, at least for now. USACE suspended the permitting process for a proposed new coal export terminal in Washington State. [CleanTechnica]

¶ New Jersey’s largest electric utility wants to dramatically step up the number of ratepayer-supported solar projects it installs on landfills and brownfields. Public Service Electric & Gas Co asked state regulators to allow it to spend $275 million to install 100 MW of solar panels. [Philly.com]

Electricians with Riggs Distler install solar panels for PSE&G. Tracie Van Auken.

Electricians with Riggs Distler install solar panels for PSE&G.
Tracie Van Auken.

¶ Nothing is changing the corporate climate more than climate change. And what state is putting the topic on the front burner? New York, which is motivated by a progressive governor and memories of a 2012 superstorm, and his program, Reforming Energy Vision (REV). [Environmental Leader]

¶ The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station survived a fire, a flood and the close scrutiny of federal regulators. But it may be no match for the market. Omaha Public Power District executives are making recommendations to the board, one of which is to close the plant, as it is too costly to run. [KETV Omaha]

The Fort Calhoun plant flooded in 2011. Army Corps of Engineers photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

The Fort Calhoun plant flooded in 2011. Army Corps of
Engineers photo. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Foes of a third nuclear reactor at Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna Power Station, near Mineral, Virginia, have taken their case to the shareholders of parent company Dominion Resources, which is holding its annual shareholders meeting in Columbia, South Carolina. [Bacon’s Rebellion]

¶ This summer, if all goes according to plan, the second reactor at Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant, in Spring City, Tennessee, will begin supplying power to the US electrical grid. Construction on the reactor has proceeded with repeated delays since the project began. That was 43 years ago. [Quartz]


May 11 Energy News

May 11, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Almost Everything You Know About Climate Change Solutions Is Outdated, Part 1” • First, climate science and climate politics have been moving quickly to broad consensus. Second, technology for key climate solutions has become very affordable. Third, the media is largely clueless. [ThinkProgress]

Credit: Schalk Van Zuydam, AP

Credit: Schalk Van Zuydam, AP

¶ “It’s the economy: Maryland RPS debate illustrates national divide on clean energy policy” • States with renewable portfolio standard (RPS) laws are doubling down, while those without take little interest. Taking a look at changes in Maryland’s RPS could help explain why. [Utility Dive]

¶ “Is this the end of the centralised energy network?” • What will the death of centralised energy networks look like? Turns out, what’s going on in Western Australia right now paints a pretty good picture. Having a low customer density makes centralized power a big challenge. [RenewEconomy]

Sandfire Roadhouse, Western Australia. Increasingly, grid service to remote areas is being replaced with renewable power. Photo by Nachoman-au. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Sandfire Roadhouse, Western Australia. Increasingly, grid service to remote areas is being replaced with renewable power. Photo by Nachoman-au. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ Irish solar developer Solas Éireann and the UK’s Golden Square Energy have formed a joint venture to develop more than 250 MW of photovoltaic projects in Ireland. Solas Éireann said it will commit more than €100m to the development and construction of solar farms across the country. [reNews]

¶ The foundation has been installed for the offshore substation at Northland Power’s and RWE’s 332-MW Nordsee 1 offshore wind farm, in the German North Sea. The foundation, weighs more than 1400 tonnes. The 50-meter foundation was anchored with four 240-tonne piles on four pedestals. [reNews]

Nordsee 1 offshore substation foundation (RWE Innogy)

Nordsee 1 offshore substation foundation (RWE Innogy)

¶ Development company Mainstream Renewable Power has received environmental approval for a 264-MW windfarm near the town of Antofagasta, Chile. The project involves an investment of nearly $630 million and has been approved by the Service of Environmental Assessment. [Power Technology]

¶ Australia has bounced back up three spots into the top 10 rankings of EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices. The report notes that state-level tenders and corporate off-take potential is driving activity, as opposed to policies of the federal government. [Invest in Australia]

House in Noranda, Western Australia. Photo by Orderinchaos. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

House in Noranda, Western Australia. Photo by Orderinchaos. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ All the electricity consumed in Uruguay over a 24-hour period at the start of this week came from renewable sources. Over a 24-hour period on Monday, 70.53% of electricity came from hydro plants, 21.3% from wind, 7.96% from biomass, and 0.39% from solar. [Latin American Herald Tribune]

¶ Automotive manufacturer Nissan and power company Enel confirmed plans to launch the UK’s first major vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial. They will connect one hundred V2G units at locations agreed by private and fleet owners of the Nissan LEAF and
e-NV200 electric van. [Automotive World]

¶ Britain generated no electricity from coal on Tuesday for what is believed to be the first time since the 19th century, in a major milestone in the decline of the polluting power source. National Grid confirmed that none of Britain’s coal stations were running between midnight and 4 AM. [Telegraph.co.uk]

Coal plants are increasingly unprofitable to run Credit: Phil Noble / Reuters.

Coal plants are increasingly unprofitable to run Credit: Phil Noble / Reuters.

¶ Mars, Incorporated is producing enough renewable electricity to power 100% of its UK operations. The RE100 company partnered with Eneco UK on a new 20-turbine wind farm located in the Scottish Highlands, committing to buying its electricity via a power purchase agreement. [The Climate Group]

US:

¶ Vermont-based manufacturer AllEarth Renewables announced a new program for Vermont homeowners, small businesses, and non-profits to go solar for just $1,000, which can be applied to purchasing the solar system after 5 years. Customers will see immediate electric bill savings. [pv magazine]

¶ Duke Energy Renewables has commenced building a 25-MW solar power facility in New Mexico, its first such project in that particular US state. The plant will power about 5,000 homes with 103,000 PV panels. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar panels. Featured Image: Jackiso / Shutterstock.com

Solar panels. Featured Image: Jackiso / Shutterstock.com

¶ The first new nuclear plant in 20 years is about to be turned on in the US, in Tennessee. At the same time the Tennessee Valley Authority starts up the [1150-MW] Watts Bar Nuclear Plant (Unit 2), it is also looking to add 3.8 GW of solar power and 1.75 GW of wind by 2033. [SustainableBusiness.com]

¶ New Mexico’s wind-energy industry has reached a major milestone, having surpassed 1,000 MW of capacity. Analysts say the state is well-positioned to expand its renewable power capacity, as the state has excellent wind resources, and investors already have put almost $2 billion into developing it. [Public News Service]


May 10 Energy News

May 10, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Why Used Electric Car Batteries Could Be Crucial To A Clean Energy Future” • Major EV makers are examining the values of used EV batteries when they no longer meet the strict standards for powering cars. This potential second life for EV batteries is a clean energy game changer. [ThinkProgress]

Used Chevy Volt Batteries Help New GM IT Building Use Solar And Wind Power. Via GM

Used Chevy Volt batteries help a new GM IT building
use solar and wind power. Via GM

¶ “Physicist claims Hinkley Point deal means UK taxpayer could get £53 billion bill to supply cheap nuclear energy to France” • Professor Barnham, of Imperial College London, claims the Hinkley Point deal means UK taxpayer could get £53 billion bill to supply cheap power to France. [The Independent]

Science and Technology:

¶ A group of scientists led by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Colorado-Boulder has developed a new, eco-friendly method to produce ammonia, the main ingredient of fertilizers, using light. Their paper is in Science. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Other than large hydroelectric plants, all forms of renewable energy in Russia account for less than 1% of power generation capacity. This is according to Russia Direct, which reports that Russian wind, solar and geothermal energy is terrifyingly underdeveloped. [CleanTechnica]

Moscow. Image via Shutterstock.

Moscow. Image via Shutterstock.

¶ E-Force, based in Switzerland, has developed an 18-ton all-electric truck intended to compete to standard diesel-powered delivery vehicles in the region. E-Force says its range is 300 km (187.5 miles) per full charge, and it uses 0.80 to 1.10 kWh/km at highway speeds. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Developing countries’ renewable energy markets are becoming increasingly attractive for investors, and European markets less so, a report Ernst & Young said. The top 10 countries were the United States, China, India, Chile, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, France, Canada and Australia. [Business Today]

¶ The UK’s attractiveness as a destination for investment in renewable energy has reached an all-time low, due to a series of unexpected green policy U-turns and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the role of renewables in our energy mix, according to the Ernst & Young report. [edie.net]

The EY report warns that the current record levels of financial support could fall badly.

The EY report warns that the current record levels of financial support could fall badly.

¶ According to the calculations by Agora Energiewende, due to the weather conditions on Sunday, May 8, renewable energy generation in Germany reached a new high. At 11 AM local time, renewables covered a record 95 % of the country’s electricity consumption. [pv magazine]

¶ Extremely negative prices were seen on the German wholesale electricity market over the weekend. On the EPEX SPOT exchange, the German Sunday baseload price was minus €12.89/MWh (minus $14.66). For the 14:00-15:00 Berlin-time slot, it was minus €130.09/MWh (minus $147.94). [ICIS]

US:

¶ Carbon dioxide emissions from the US’s energy sector fell in 2015 and now stand at 12% below 2005 levels, a drop mainly driven by the continuing collapse of the coal industry. The 12% cut since 2005 has come during a period in which the US economy has, adjusting for inflation, grown by 15%. [The Guardian]

Steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in New Hampshire. Photograph: Jim Cole/AP

Steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in New Hampshire. Photograph: Jim Cole/AP

¶ A report says utility-scale solar surpassed wind for the first time in California. Public records from the California Independent Systems Operations show utility-scale solar energy in 2015 reached 6.7 % of California’s electricity generation, compared to wind’s 5.3%. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Rocky Mountain Power’s commercial customers will soon have a new option to use solar power and commercial customers will be able to reserve solar blocks. Subscriber Solar allows commercial and residential customers to purchase solar power even if they do not have suitable roofs. [St George News]

Rocky Mountain Solar Farm

Rocky Mountain Solar Farm

¶ Anbaric Transmission and National Grid filed with the New York Public Service Commission for a permit for an extension of their Vermont Green Line. The project would connect 400 MW of New York wind generation to Vermont through lines under Lake Champlain. [RTO Insider]

¶ Developers of a $900 million upstate New York [gas-fired] power plant are at the center of a federal probe into allegations of improper lobbying and conflicts of interest. They had sought and received important state approvals to fast-track the plant. Now, progress could soon grind to a halt. [Newsday]

¶ The California Public Utilities Commission is re-evaluating an agreement that left ratepayers on the hook for $3.3 billion of the cost of closing the San Onofre nuclear plant. The issue is that representatives of the plant’s primary owner engaged in secret talks with regulators. [Los Angeles Times]


May 9 Energy News

May 9, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ “After the Pacific Ocean swallows villages and five Solomon Islands, a study blames climate change” • In a recent paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters, scientists link destructive sea level rise to anthropogenic, meaning human-caused, climate change. [Washington Post]

Village in the Solomon Islands. Photo taken by Irene Scott for AusAID. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

Village in the Solomon Islands. Photo taken by Irene Scott for AusAID. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

Opinion:

¶ “Does nuclear help the integration of renewables?” • French nuclear power does not facilitate the integration of wind and solar in neighboring countries. Rather, it clogs the grid and reduces flexibility. By contrast, Germany typically exports power just as demand peaks. [Renewables International]

World:

¶ Wildfires raging through Alberta are set to move away from the main oil-sands facilities north of Fort McMurray after knocking out an estimated 1 million barrels of production. A cold front scheduled to pass through the area may bring light rain that would help fire fighters battle the inferno. [Bloomberg]

Wildfires burn in Alberta on May 7. Photo by Darryl Dyck / Bloomberg

Wildfire burning out of control in Alberta on May 7.
Photo by Darryl Dyck / Bloomberg

¶ Sadiq Khan’s decisive victory in the London Mayoral elections means a “clean energy revolution” will soon be underway in the capital following the Labor mayor’s election pledge to be “the greenest mayor London has ever had.” His plan would reduce both costs and emissions. [Solar Power Portal]

¶ DeepOcean 1 UK has contracted SMD to deliver a mechanical cutting boom and cable handling system for its T3200 tracked trenching vehicle. Combining simultaneous mechanical and jet trenching, it enables protection of submarine power cables in rock and other hard ground areas. [reNews]

T3200 trenching vehicle (DeepOcean)

T3200 trenching vehicle (DeepOcean)

¶ UK-based Sainsbury’s has entered a partnership with ReFood to power several of its supermarkets with sustainable green gas. Waste will be collected from two depots, and then converted into heat, gas, and fertilizer at ReFood’s latest anaerobic digestion processing facilities. [Power Technology]

¶ The coal era has ended in South Australia this morning with the closure of Alinta’s Northern power station in Port Augusta. The state treasurer said the “sad day” came because the Port Augusta plant was based on outdated technology. Renewable energy had made it unprofitable. [InDaily]

Port Augusta's northern power station shut down.

Port Augusta’s northern power station shut down.

¶ This summer, Ikea stores will have another section, the “Solar Shop,” despite UK’s amendments on solar subsidies. Ikea is determined to invest and expand sales of solar panels. Currently, there are three UK solar shops located in Glasgow, Birmingham and Lakeside. [Nature World News]

US:

¶ The top official at the US EPA said the ongoing legal fight over regulating carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants won’t delay the nation’s accelerating shift to cleaner sources of energy. She spoke at Climate Action 2016, a conference n Washington, DC. [Sioux City Journal]

The Kintigh Generating Station in Somerset, New York. Photo by Matthew D. Wilson. CC BY-SA 2.5 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

The Kintigh Generating Station in Somerset, New York. Photo by Matthew D. Wilson. CC BY-SA 2.5 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Caterpillar and First Solar, Inc announced a strategic alliance to develop integrated solar PV micro-grid applications. First Solar will design and manufacture a pre-engineered turnkey package for use in remote micro-grid applications, such as small communities and mining sites. [solarserver.com]


May 8 Energy News

May 8, 2016

World:

¶ The failure of monsoon last year led to declining water levels at dams across the river Kali in the Indian state of Karnataka. If there is no rain by June, the reservoirs are likely to dry up, with effects on power generation at both hydro-electric and nuclear power plants. [Times of India]

Kali River in Karnataka. Photo by solarisgirl from pune, india. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

Kali River in Karnataka. Photo by solarisgirl from pune, india.
CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Saudi Arabia’s veteran oil minister has been removed in a broad government overhaul. He has been replaced by former a health minister. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest crude exporter, but the country has unveiled major economic reforms aimed at ending its dependence on oil. [BBC]

¶ Zambian President Edgar Lungu has commissioned construction works for the $1.2 billion first ever solar power station plants in Lusaka. The two solar plants, which will have a capacity of 100 MW, are expected to supplying power before the end of the year, under a World Bank program. [ZNBC]

Zambian long term development in the Energy sector.

Zambian long term development in the Energy sector.

¶ Former US Energy Secretary Steven Chu commented on energy auctions in Mexico, which are unsubsidized. Mexico’s state utility got bids on solar, wind, hydro, cogeneration, combined-cycle gas, and geothermal energy. Solar and wind cost about 4¢/kWh, far below the costs of fossil fuels. [Forbes]

US:

¶ Iowa’s two largest energy providers, Mid-American and Aliant have both recently launched “pilot plans” meant to get the discussion started about building large scale solar arrays. Meanwhile a small, municipal utility in Cedar Falls is already harnessing energy from the sun. [Iowa Public Radio]

Simple Solar project in Cedar Falls. Cedar Falls Utilities photo.

Simple Solar project in Cedar Falls. Cedar Falls Utilities photo.

¶ While Republican lawmakers in Washington have fought to protect coal-fired power plants, opposing President Obama’s efforts to cut carbon emissions, data show their home states are often the ones benefiting most from the nation’s accelerating shift to renewable energy. [Kokomo Tribune]

¶ Chad Pregracke may be known as “The Rivers’ Garbageman,” having cleaned up America’s waterways for almost 20 years, but he also loves planting trees. In 2007, his nonprofit, Living Lands & Waters, set a new goal, to plant 1 million oak trees, and now, it has reached that goal. [CNN]

Chad Pregracke and his nonprofit surprised students by planting the group's millionth tree at their school.

Chad Pregracke and his nonprofit surprised students by planting the group’s millionth tree at their school.

¶ Philadelphia will experience the largest transit agency investment in zero-emission buses in the US Northeast, according to the director of the Sierra Club’s electric vehicles initiative. Philadelphia is a walkable city already, but cleaning up the buses will make that even better. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Motorists passing by six domed tanks near LaSalle, Colorado, might dismiss them as just more oil facilities. They are, however, part of the county’s rapidly growing renewable energy portfolio, the Heartland Biogas Project, the largest anaerobic digester in North America. [Greeley Tribune]

Trucks sit outside A1 Organic's facilities on Weld County Road 49. Eliott Foust | The Greeley Tribune

Trucks sit outside A1 Organic’s facilities on Weld County Road 49. Eliott Foust | The Greeley Tribune

¶ Year two of the California legislative cycle usually yields some bold policy ideas, and this year it looks like rethinking the state’s relationship with natural gas is on that track. A number of bills before the legislature arise from the major methane pollution event at Aliso Canyon. [Energy Collective]


May 7 Energy News

May 7, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “The fire in Canada looks a lot like climate change – and that should scare you” • It’s impossible for scientists to say global warming caused this specific fire, of course, but polluting the atmosphere is creating conditions that make such disasters more likely, bigger and costlier. [CNN]

Traffic at a standstill as evacuees flee Fort McMurray, May 4.

Traffic at a standstill as evacuees flee Fort McMurray, May 4.

World:

¶ The only land convoy evacuating people trapped by a huge wildfire in the Canadian state of Alberta has been suspended after 200-ft (60-meter) flames flanked the road, officials say. There is also concern about oil facilities, particularly near Nexen’s Long Lake oil extraction site. [BBC]

¶ Installed wind power capacity in China will more than treble from about 149 GW in 2015 to over 495 GW by 2030, a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 9%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. China had a third of total world wind power capacity in 2015. [Today’s Energy Solutions]

Wind power in China

Wind power in China

¶ Large heat pumps are expected to play a key role in meeting carbon reduction targets, according to developers of the UK’s largest air source heat pump for residential use. The new heating technology is expected to become the pathway to zero carbon, cheap heating. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ Last year two German federal states generated more renewable electricity than they consumed, according to the German clean energy publication Renewables International. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern reached net 130% renewable electricity. Schleswig-Holstein reached net 100%. [Inhabitat]

German wind farm. Image via Wikimedia.

German wind farm. Image via Wikimedia.

¶ Energy start-up Open Utility yesterday unveiled the results of its six‐month trial of Piclo, the UK’s first online peer‐to‐peer renewable energy marketplace. It showed advantages for local markets and decentralized energy that could lead to significant savings, said Good Energy. [SeeNews Renewables]

US:

¶ Two Florida mayors are unique positions for local leaders: they both believe that climate change is occurring, and that the consequences will hit Florida residents hard. That puts them at odds with the state government, which fervently denies that climate change is occurring. [ThinkProgress]

Florida cities are in danger of rising seas. Shutterstock image.

Florida cities are in danger of rising seas. Shutterstock image.

¶ BioStar Renewables announced they will add 5.1 MW of solar power installations to their portfolio as a result of contracts totaling over $31 million. The installations will benefit schools in Hawaii and a cold storage facility in New Jersey, saving money and decreasing carbon emissions. [PennEnergy]

¶ Indiana’s use of coal for generating power plunged nearly 40% from 2007 through 2015 as its utilities retired older coal-fired plants and increasingly embraced natural gas and renewable energy, a new federal report shows. Indiana was among three states with big declines in coal use. [WSBT-TV]

Coal use in Indiana.

Coal use in Indiana.

¶ Maui Electric Company requested permission from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to begin acquiring about 40 MW of dispatchable, firm power generation by 2022. About 20 MW would come from renewable resources and 20 MW from fuel-flexible resources. [Maui Now]

¶ ComEd and Exelon proposed wide-ranging state legislation in Illinois to save two financially ailing nuclear plants, “jumpstart” solar power development and reform the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. The proposal would also make controversial adjustments to electric rates. [Progress Illinois]

Clinton power station, near Clinton, Illinois. Photo by Dual Freq. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Clinton power station, near Clinton, Illinois. Photo by
Dual Freq. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ SolarCity will now offer services to utility and grid operators, including installation, financing, and consulting services for utility-scale solar and energy storage development, advanced controls for demand response, distributed energy resources, and aggregated grid services. [CleanTechnica]


May 6 Energy News

May 6, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Who’s Killing Renewable Energy?” • Fifteen years the Cape Wind project began, bureaucratic obstacles, high costs, and wealthy Cape Cod residents hostile to a major renewable energy project near their homes plague the endeavor. But Cape Wind is no longer alone. [TakePart]

Offshore wind farm at Copenhagen. Photo by Martin Nikolaj Christensen from Sorø, Denmark. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

Offshore wind farm at Copenhagen.
Photo by Martin Nikolaj Christensen from Sorø, Denmark.
CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

Science and Technology:

¶ Research has found that solar farms have a positive impact on biodiversity for a range of plant and animal species when used with appropriate land management. The report tested and confirmed a growing body of anecdotal evidence that solar farms can benefit local wildlife. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶ Many researchers believe that El Niño was not the only factor increasing the risk of a major fire in Alberta. A number of research papers have highlighted the fact that warming is leading to increased wildfire risk. Studies also show that northern latitudes feel those impacts more strongly. [BBC]

Cars heading toward flames they must pass to leave Fort McMurray. Photo by DarrenRD. CC BY-SA International. Wikimedia Commons. 

Cars heading toward flames they must pass to leave Fort McMurray. Photo by DarrenRD. CC BY-SA International. Wikimedia Commons.

World:

¶ The fire at Fort McMurray in Canada’s energy heartland and forced a precautionary shutdown of some oil production, driving up global oil prices. When fire has blocked the only escape route south, thousands of evacuees fled north or were cut off. The fire has covered 210,000 acres. [The Quint]

Cars fleeing Fort McMurray

Cars fleeing Fort McMurray. This was stop-and-go traffic.

¶ The Science Based Targets initiative said 155 companies have committed to set emissions reduction targets in line with attempting to keep global warming well below 2° C. The companies include Coca-Cola, Dell, Kellogg, NRG Energy, Procter & Gamble, Owens Corning, Toyota. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is powering a number of its UK stores with energy generated from anaerobic digestion through a partnership with food waste processor ReFood. About 10% of its national gas consumption is now generated from food waste under the agreement. [letsrecycle.com]

¶ The US DOE, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, and the Caribbean Community have signed a pact to promote and support renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies across the Caribbean region. [SeeNews Renewables]

Caribbean wind energy. Author: Boris Kasimov. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Caribbean wind energy. Author: Boris Kasimov.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

The Times reports that plans for Hinkley Point C have been thrown into chaos after the admission that engineers have falsified vital safety tests on parts supplied to reactors in France and possibly the UK. Power Magazine says France’s nuclear sector has been rocked to its core. [Blue & Green Tomorrow]

US:

¶ Tucson Electric Power has received approval from the state’s regulator to build two 10-MW energy storage systems, including one co-located with solar. The utility had originally sought bids for a single system, but the bids were so low that the two projects fit within its budget. [PV-Tech]

E.ON Climate & Renewables will build one of the two systems. E.ON image.

E.ON Climate & Renewables will build one of the two systems.
E.ON image.

¶ A first-in-the-nation partnership between an electric utility and Tesla, the automotive and energy storage company, has resulted in the installation of new battery units in some Vermont homes. Green Mountain Power is helping customers access the Tesla Powerwall batteries. [WPTZ]

¶ Solar panels will soon help power three communities in the Alaskan Arctic. The Department of Energy awarded federal funding to install panels in Kotzebue, Buckland and Deering. Energy costs are notoriously high in rural Alaskan areas dependent on diesel power. [Alaska Public Radio Network]

Solar panels in the Northwest Arctic village of Shugnak. (Photo courtesy of Ingemar Mathiasson/NWAB)

Solar panels in the Northwest Arctic village of Shugnak.
(Photo courtesy of Ingemar Mathiasson/NWAB)

¶ Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump is positioning himself for the November election by vowing to bring coal-mining jobs back to states that he now sees as critical to his presidential hopes. Since 2008, coal has been in sharp decline in the US. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The New York State Department of Public Service, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, EnterSolar, and Clean Energy Collective announced that construction has begun on the first Shared Renewables community solar project in New York State. [CleanTechnica]

New York Capitol. Image via Shutterstock.

New York Capitol. Image via Shutterstock.

¶ Enel Green Power North America has started construction of the Aurora utility-scale distributed PV solar project in Minnesota. It will be the Enel Group’s largest solar power plant in North America. It will consist of 16 PV plants with a total installed capacity of 150 MW. [Your Renewable News]

¶ The Tennessee Valley Authority board voted to declare the unfinished Bellefonte nuclear plant surplus. It includes two partially finished reactors, office buildings, warehouses, railroad spurs and a helicopter pad. It has cost $4 billion and has an appraised value of $36 million. [Myrtle Beach Sun News]


May 5 Energy News

May 5, 2016

World:

¶ A fire has forced evacuation of all 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The fire, which broke out on Sunday in the heart on the country’s oil sands region, has already gutted 1,600 buildings, including a new school. High temperatures and wind are driving the fire. [BBC]

Fort McMurray fire. AP photo. According to the Weather Channel, high temperatures were at 90° F, or 32° C, breaking the old record of 82° F.

Fort McMurray fire. AP photo. According to
The Weather Channel, high temperatures were at 90° F,
or 32° C, breaking the old record of 82° F.

¶ According to the fourth edition of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project’s Global Climate 500 Index, 246 of the world’s 500 biggest investors, with $14.3 trillion in funds, are ignoring climate risks completely, 97 are taking tangible action to mitigate the risk, and 147 are taking first steps. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Offshore wind can fill the low-carbon gap left by the potential non-delivery of the delayed Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, according to Scottish Power Renewables. They said the offshore wind supply chain, projects, developers and funding were in place to plug any shortfall. [reNews]

Scottish Power's West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm (Scottish Power)

Scottish Power’s West of Duddon Sands
offshore wind farm (Scottish Power)

¶ India has taken its first major step at probably one of the most ambitious rooftop solar power capacity addition targets in the world. The Solar Energy Corporation of India recently floated a tender for the implementation of 500 MW of rooftop solar power capacity across the country. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Independent renewable generators supply 7.6% of UK power demand. They have a capacity of almost 11 GW, or 40% of the country’s green power, a report from SmartestEnergy said. Over 5,400 renewable projects were developed last year. [Energy Live News – Energy Made Easy]

SmartestEnergy photo.

SmartestEnergy photo.

¶ Enel Green Power RSA has grid connected a 82.5-MW solar power plant in South Africa’s Western Cape province. It is Enel’s largest solar plant in South Africa and is supported by a 20-year power supply agreement with utility Eskom. Enel has 430 MW more under construction. [reNews]

US:

¶ Tesla just released its quarterly shareholder letter. The first item is a whopper: Tesla aims to move its 2020 target to produce 500,000 vehicles a year to 2018. This is clearly in response to the high demand for the Tesla Model 3, which topped 400,000 reservations weeks ago. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Model 3 @ Unveiling Event | Image Credit: Kyle Field, for CleanTechnica

Tesla Model 3 @ Unveiling Event
Image Credit: Kyle Field, for CleanTechnica

¶ A Superior Court judge in the state of Washington ruled in favor of 7 young plaintiffs who brought suit on climate change. He ordered the state’s Department of Ecology to promulgate an emissions reduction rule during 2016 and bring recommendations to the state legislature in 2017. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Vestas is to supply 54 of their V117 3.3MW turbines for Capital Power’s 178-MW Bloom wind farm in Kansas. Manufacturing and shipment of the units is expected this year, with commissioning scheduled for the first and second quarter of 2017. The deal includes a 5-year service agreement. [reNews]

Vestas 3MW v90 turbine wind. Photo by Davagh.

Vestas 3MW v90 turbine wind. Photo by Davagh.

¶ Dynegy Inc will shut down three coal-fired units at two Illinois power plants because they are no longer economical in the Midwestern power market, the Houston-based electric utility said. The three units together have over 1,800 MW of capacity, about 30% of southern Illinois’ total. [Reuters]

¶ Caterpillar Inc announced the launch of Cat® Microgrid technology, a suite of power systems that adds solar panels, state-of-the-art energy storage, and advanced monitoring and control systems to Caterpillar’s traditional line of power generation equipment. [POWER magazine]


May 4 Energy News

May 4, 2016

Opinion and Action:

¶ “Largest Civil Disobedience in History of the Environmental Movement Begins Today” • Starting today, a global wave of peaceful direct actions lasting for 12 days will take place across six continents targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects, under the banner of Break Free. [EcoWatch]

World:

¶ While Tesla may have the lock on electric vehicles for personal use, BYD has its sights set on the commercial side of things. BYD is bringing a full array of electric trucks to market which are aimed directly at one of the key sources of PM2.5 and PM10 pollution in our cities – diesel trucks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In the UK, farmers and landowners built 209 new projects in 2015 with a combined capacity of 56 MW, providing valuable new revenue streams, often on low-quality land. Together they account for 28% of all independent renewable projects and 5% of the market by capacity. [FarmingUK]

Farmers and Landowners built 209 new projects in 2015.

Farmers and Landowners built 209 new projects in 2015.

¶ The UK wing of Danish-based energy supplier DONG Energy has announced offerings to UK businesses of renewable electricity at no additional premium to ‘brown energy’ sources. DONG Energy is already the leading developer and operator of offshore wind in the UK. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Kent’s independent renewable energy producers generate enough power to put pressure on the UK’s Big 6 energy companies to lower their prices, according to a new study. Kent has seen £70 million invested in 108 projects, for 351 MW of capacity, enough to power 179,000 homes last year. [Kent Online]

A green cottage in the UK. Photo by martin dawes. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

A green cottage in the UK. Photo by martin dawes. CC BY-SA 2.0 generic. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ According to new information from IHS Inc of Englewood, Colorado, Europe recently reached an important solar energy milestone, installing 100 GW of grid-connected PV power. PV is one of the most competitive forms of energy generation in Europe today. [solarserver.com]

¶ Scottish wind power jumped 15% in April 2016 from April 2015, putting nearly 700,000 MWh onto the national grid. Figures highlighted by WWF Scotland showed that the country’s turbines generated enough to meet, on average, the electrical needs of 79% of Scottish households. [reNews]

The Farr wind farm in Scotland (Siemens photo)

The Farr wind farm in Scotland (Siemens photo)

¶ US solar investment and consulting firm GSSG Solar LLC has started construction of a 46.8-MW solar farm in Japan, to be completed by the end of 2017. GSSG Solar has assessed over 2.5 GW of potential projects in Japan, and has 170 MW under development. [SeeNews Renewables]

US:

¶ The Stone Edge Farm and winery in Sonoma, California has a 32 kW solar array, 14 of Aquion’s 25 kWh M-Line battery modules, and an Ideal Power 30 kW multi-port power conversion system. The solar PV array provides electricity to the primary residence, workshops, and offices. [CleanTechnica]

Stone Edge Farm photo

Stone Edge Farm photo

¶ Solar power in Minnesota is shining brightly. The state is poised to climb into the top 10 states for annual solar installations from its 25th rank in 2015, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which expects the state’s solar capacity to increase by more than 500 MW in 2016. [Osakis Review]

¶ The city of San Diego has enacted an initiative that will have it running on 100% renewable energy by 2035. According to the Climate Action Plan, not only will the city rely completely on renewable energy but it also hopes to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a staggering 50% by 2035. [Digital Trends]

A solar-powered electric vehicle charging station. Photo by Joshua Rainey / 123RF

A solar-powered electric vehicle charging station in San Diego. Photo by Joshua Rainey / 123RF

¶ The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to start a nuclear chain reaction in its newest reactor this month as it moves toward adding the first new atomic unit to the US power grid in two decades by this summer. The Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant has a capacity of 1,411 MW. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]


May 3 Energy News

May 3, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Solar Impulse, the zero-fuel airplane, has flown the first leg across the continental US in its attempt to fly around the world. It left Mountain View, California, at dawn on Monday and landed 16 hours later in Goodyear, Arizona. It was the 10th leg of its round the world quest. [BBC]

A pre-dawn take-off for Solar Impulse from Moffett Airfield. Solar Impulse photo.

A pre-dawn take-off for Solar Impulse from Moffett Airfield.
Solar Impulse photo.

World:

¶ Manitoba Hydro is now helping customers go solar. The crown corporation announced the details of the new Power Smart Solar Energy PV Program. The plan allows goodies for businesses and home owners to go solar, while selling surplus solar energy back to Manitoba Hydro. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S has fully installed 31 turbines at the 310-MW Lake Turkana wind farm in Kenya. The Lake Turkana Wind Power project will use total of 365 pieces of V52-850 kW turbines, capable of generating over 1,400 GWh together. [SeeNews Renewables]

Lake Turkana wind system. Vestas photo.

Lake Turkana wind system. Vestas photo.

¶ An international consortium recently announced that it started building a 2-GW solar project in Egypt. The project is expected to require a total investment of $3.5 billion. The consortium includes Terra Sola Ventures, Terra Nex, RWE New Energy, and Hareon Solar Technologies. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Mexico and Costa Rica aim to increase their capacities of geothermal power to help meet the challenges they face of curbing planet-warming emissions and making their energy supplies secure. Geothermal makes up only 5% of installed power capacity in Central America. [Reuters UK]

¶ Nestlé Waters, the world’s largest bottled water company, has today announced its UK operations are now powered by 100% renewable electricity. The firm, which produces San Pellegrino and other brands of water, said electricity for its Buxton factory is now entirely from renewable sources. [Business Green]

Nestlé Waters factory Buxton

Nestlé Waters factory Buxton

¶ Two Indian states have commissioned canal-top solar power projects, according to reports. Two projects with a total installed capacity of 5 MW were commissioned by the Punjab government. Andhra Pradesh commissioned a 400-kW project supplying power to five villages. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Perhaps unsurprisingly, Denmark boasts the highest wind-produced electricity consumption in the world. And they announced last month another increase, with 42% of their total electricity use coming from wind turbines in 2015. That’s a highly significant rise of 3% from 2014. [The News Hub]

US:

¶ Oklahoma is the latest state to get into the game on community solar. Tri-County Electric Co-op, headquartered in Hooker, dedicated the first community solar project in the state on April 26. TCEC members pay a one-time subscription fee of $340 per share to buy into the project. [Electric Co-op Today]

Wind turbines in Oklahoma. Photo by the US Geological Survey. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbines in Oklahoma. Photo by the US Geological Survey. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Leadership from Georgia Power and the Navy, community leaders, and others gathered at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany to mark the start of construction at a 31-MW AC solar facility. It is Georgia Power’s fifth large-scale solar project on military bases. [Today’s Energy Solutions]

¶ Solar power in New Hampshire cleared a major hurdle Monday after Governor Maggie Hassan signed a bill into law that doubles the state cap for net metering from 50 MW to 100 MW. Net metering is an incentive that lets people sell their excess solar energy back into the grid. [Concord Monitor]

¶ Lawmakers in Massachusetts are drafting a bill that would jump-start the offshore wind industry. The energy bill is expected to require utilities to purchase power from offshore wind farms, according to Representative Thomas Golden, a Democrat, whose party controls the legislature. [Bloomberg]

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg

¶ Solar energy is still a small part of Wisconsin’s overall energy mix, but it’s the fastest-growing component. The Solar Energy Industries Association reports Wisconsin ranks 30th overall among the 50 states in installed solar capacity, but investment in solar rose about 70% last year. [Kenosha News]

¶ Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Senator Richard Shelby, and others are urging the Tennessee Valley Authority to sell its unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant. More than four decades of work hasn’t produced a watt of electricity. At least one potential buyer has been identified. [FederalNewsRadio.com]


May 2 Energy News

May 2, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Tesla Model 3 Is Changing Auto History” • In its first week alone, the Tesla had amassed, “about $14 billion in implied future sales, making this the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever.” And it’s growing. Last week, Tesla had almost 400,000 orders for the Model 3. [CleanTechnica]

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

¶ “Stuck in Time – Ruined Chernobyl nuclear plant to remain a threat for 3,000 years” • It is 30 years since Chernobyl came to mean more than just a little village in rural Ukraine. Now, 25 years after the country that built it ceased to exist, the full damage of that day is still argued. [The Keene Sentinel]

World:

¶ The price per barrel of global benchmark Brent Crude ended April just above $47. Since dipping briefly below $30 in January, it has risen by nearly two-thirds. That sounds a lot. And it is. But it’s worth remembering that the price is still down by 30% on this time last year, and 60% on June 2014. [BBC News]

Offshore oil. Nexen image.

Offshore oil. Nexen image.

¶ Palestinians will take a step toward greater power independence by announcing terms of a solar-energy auction intended to boost installed capacity by as much as 100 MW. The Palestinian Energy Authority said it plans to auction permits to build 10 solar plants generating 10 MW each. [gulfnews.com]

¶ The leading off-grid home solar energy system provider in Uganda, Fenix International, has now signed 60,000 leases for its ReadyPay Power offering (since January 2014), according to a new press release. An estimated 300,000 Ugandans now have reliable electricity for the first time. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Danish marine energy developer Floating Power Plant teamed up with engineering outfit Ocean Power & Energy Services with a development agreement. FPP has been grid testing its combined wind and wave power solution off Denmark for a number of years and has three possibilities for sites. [reNews]

FPP wind and wave concept (FPP image)

FPP wind and wave concept (FPP image)

¶ Canadian company CMX Renewable Energy Inc has sought a license to build a 150-MW solar plant in the central Vietnamese province of Ninh Thuan at an estimated cost of $150 million, news website Dau Tu reported. Around 1% of the plant’s output would be provided free to locals. [Thanh Nien Daily]

¶ Spain’s power sector, which has been shaken financially in recent years owing to plunging power demand, posted its first electricity tariff surplus in 14 years at the end of 2015. The National Markets and Competition Commission said there was a 7% decrease from a year earlier. [POWER magazine]

Solar array in Spain. Photo by Certo Xornal. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons. 

Solar array in Spain. Photo by Certo Xornal. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Dubai’s tender for the right to build the 800-MW phase III of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar complex has attracted a bid of just $29.90 (€26) per MWh. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority is now evaluating a total of five bids. The winner is to be announced in June. [SeeNews Renewables]

US:

¶ Growth in wind-power production slowed in 2015 to slightly over 5%, according to a DOE report. This was because of lower wind speeds in key regions, particularly in western states. Some states such as Colorado that put more turbines onto the grid held steady outputs. [Public News Service]

Wind farm in Colorado. (Makunin/Pixabay)

Wind farm in Colorado. (Makunin/Pixabay)

¶ After almost 12 years of political gridlock and stiff opposition from competitors, San Francisco’s green energy program, CleanPowerSF, began operating on Sunday. CleanPowerSF is now able to deliver electricity to more than 7,800 residences and businesses. [San Francisco Chronicle]


May 1 Energy News

May 1, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Running around the clock for two weeks, ACWA Power’s 50-MW Bokpoort project is an example of Concentrated Solar Power, the solar that can be called on day or night. Because when it has integrated thermal energy storage in molten salts, it is dispatchable solar. [CleanTechnica]

Image Credit: ACWA Power

Image Credit: ACWA Power

World:

¶ India will achieve the target of 10,500 MW new solar power capacity in the current fiscal, the New and Renewable Energy Minister said. He said, “The way things are progressing in solar energy sector, we will definitely achieve our target. Solar energy is economically viable.” [IndUS Business Journal]

¶ New plans from the ECOWAS Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency will see a “clean energy corridor” with 2 GW of combined capacity in West Africa. The corridor will feature numerous 10 to 15 MW solar PV systems, together with wind and hydro plants. [CleanTechnica]

Image by SEWA (some rights reserved)

West Africa. Image by SEWA (some rights reserved)

¶ Venezuelans lost half an hour of sleep on Sunday when their clocks moved forward to save power, as the country grapples with a deep economic crisis. The time change was ordered by President Nicolas Maduro as part of a package of measures to cope with a severe electricity shortage. [BBC]

¶ Global wind power installations are estimated to more than double in the next five years according to a new study, which also spotlights the record global wind growth in 2015, led by China and Germany. Prices continue to decrease and renewable energy is a priority for many countries. [The Climate Group]

Offshore wind

Offshore wind

¶ Belgium’s High Health Council decided to expand the radius of iodine pill distribution around the country’s nuclear sites from 20 km (12 miles) to 100 km (62 miles), focusing on people who are most susceptible to radiation illness, such as children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. [wtvr.com]

US:

¶ The Michigan utility company Consumers Energy recently finished shutting down 7 regional coal-fired power plants, and is beginning operations at a new community solar energy project in the area. The new 3-MW solar energy project is on a 17-acre site at Grand Valley State University. [CleanTechnica]

Image by Consumers Energy (some rights reserved)

Image by Consumers Energy (some rights reserved)

¶ Greentech Media notes that an average gross cost of a solar energy system in Texas is the lowest in the country, down to $3.21 per watt, while the national average cost is $3.69 per watt. This is based on data in EnergySage’s Second Solar Marketplace Intel Report. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Republican and Democratic presidential contests have been unusually competitive, with strong challengers and less dominant front-runners than years past. The presidential hopefuls all have made statements on coal. Some have put forward detailed policies. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

¶ A Post and Courier analysis shows that South Carolina utility Santee Cooper has effectively deprived its more than 170,000 direct customers of the energy savings and environmental benefits that the state’s new renewable energy law made available to residents. [Charleston Post Courier]


April 30 Energy News

April 30, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ Unencumbered by red tape, venture-backed fusion may be faster and cheaper than government-sponsored projects, and some very influential people agree. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel are all backing firms in fusion development. [BBC]

The plasma inside a tokamak reactor must be confined...but that's the hard part (Credit: SPL)

The plasma inside a tokamak reactor must be
confined … but that’s the hard part (Credit: SPL)

World:

¶ A new UK Public Attitudes Tracking Survey found that 81% of people polled support renewable energy. Support for individual technologies remained high. Total support for solar sat at 84%; Wave and Tidal at 77%; Offshore wind 76%; 69% for onshore wind; and 63% for biomass. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Peru’s Ministry of Energy said on Wednesday the country’s wind and solar energy output in March 2016 increased 79% year-on-year to 96 GWh. The huge difference can be attributed to the 97-MW CE Tres Hermanas wind park that began commercial operation that March. [SeeNews Renewables]

Renewable power. Author: Gerry Machen. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

Renewable power. Author: Gerry Machen.
License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

¶ A global network of over 270 institutional investors, representing assets of over €20 trillion, warned global utilities of the threat of climate change. The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change released a report this week as a guide to help move boards of utility companies. [CleanTechnica]

¶ India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy recently reported that the country added 6,937 MW of grid-connected renewable energy capacity during FY 2015–16. The target for the year was 4,460 MW. Additionally, 176 MW of distributed renewable energy capacity was added. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ A 36-inch natural gas pipeline 30 miles east of Pittsburgh exploded. One man got burns as he ran for his life. Towering trees were reduced to blackened poles and siding melted off buildings. A quarter-mile evacuation zone was established. The cause is unknown. [Staunton News Leader]

A burned out house after a natural gas explosion in Salem Township, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

A burned out house after a natural gas explosion in Salem Township, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

¶ At present, 47% of conservative Republicans now believe climate change is happening. That’s according to a national survey released this week by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication. [CNN]

¶ ExxonMobil reported a 63% slide in first quarter profits following low crude oil prices and weak refining margins. It reported a profit of $1.8 billion, a sharp decline from $4.94 billion for the same period last year and its lowest quarterly profit since 1999. Rival Chevron suffered losses. [BBC]

Reuters photo

Reuters photo

¶ The US wind industry added 520 MW in the first quarter of 2016, its most productive first quarter since 2012, with another 2 GW in construction. This brings the country’s total capacity in construction to 10,100 MW, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Vermont Supreme Court on Friday sided with developers of a major solar power project in Rutland Town against the wishes of the town and its neighbors. The five-member court split three ways before ruling 3-2 in support of allowing construction of the project. [BurlingtonFreePress.com]

¶ If Nebraska switches from coal to wind energy, it would save the state almost two billion gallons of water a year, according to the Center for Rural Affairs. Nebraska currently ranks fourth in the nation for wind energy potential and 13th for solar power potential, but relies heavily on coal. [HPPR]

Wind power plants. Credit Wikimedia Commons.

Wind power plants. Credit Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Missouri-based Associated Electric Cooperative Inc has issued a request for proposals for 50 MW to 300 MW of renewable energy from wind power. AECI is a wholesale power supplier to six regional generation and transmission cooperatives in Missouri, Iowa and Oklahoma. [North American Windpower]

¶ With Exelon’s Clinton nuclear power plant again in jeopardy of closing, Illinois state legislators and local officials are renewing their effort to pass legislation to save the plant that is DeWitt County’s largest employer. The plant has lost $453 million over the last six years. [Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette]

¶ A national campaign by the nuclear industry to stabilize profits in a volatile energy market scored a victory Friday night with the unanimous passage of bipartisan legislation changing the rules for procuring electricity in Connecticut, a state heavily reliant on nuclear power. [The CT Mirror]


April 29 Energy News

April 29, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “The Untold Grassroots History of Iowa’s Clean Energy Transformation” • In 2006, 75% of Iowa’s electricity already came from coal and more coal was planned. Now, Iowa-based utility MidAmerican says it will be 85% wind power by 2020, without raising electricity rates. [Huffington Post]

Winter Windmills in Iowa. Photo by Tony Webster. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Winter Windmills in Iowa. Photo by Tony Webster.
CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ “Do Voters In States Suing Over CPP Actually Oppose The
Plan?” • According to Bloomberg Philanthropies, polling found widespread support for the Clean Power Plan and attorneys general that filed the legal challenge are out of step with their constituents. [North American Windpower]

World:

¶ Next Kraftwerke, a German virtual power plant operator, aggregates small producers and sells their output in lucrative “balancing” markets. The firm stands to place more than 10 TWh of volumes on power exchanges this year, up from 9 TWh in 2015 and 5.3 TWh in 2014. [Reuters]

A small power producer in Germany. Photo by Molgreen. CC BY-SA 4.0 international. Wikimedia Commons.

A small power producer in Germany. Photo by Molgreen.
CC BY-SA 4.0 international. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ London-based Powervault bills itself as manufacturing the UK’s “first fully-integrated solar energy storage system for the home.” The start-up, which was launched back in 2012, announced on Wednesday the introduction of its new range of smart home energy storage products. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The Australian Capital Territory government, which had a 90% renewable energy target by 2020, said it will in fact get 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by that date. ACT’s climate change minister said the switch to 100% renewables is achievable and affordable. [RenewEconomy]

Canberra Lake George wind farm

Canberra Lake George wind farm

¶ Gamesa announced on its website that it had received a new order for the supply of 65 of its G114-2.1 MW turbines to the Babilonia wind complex being developed in the Brazilian town of Morro do Chapéu, in Bahia state. Operation is expected to start in the second half of 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Thermal energy management solutions company Viking Cold Storage announced the launch of Solar Energy Storage at Hannover Messe trade fair. The system can reduce peak demand for electricity by up to 90%, saving customers money and helping to balance the grid. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

US:

¶ A home energy storage partnership deal has been inked between California-based Verengo Solar and battery provider Swell Energy. The deal is intended to establish a(nother) one-stop home energy storage and backup power solution for the residential market. [CleanTechnica]

Solar panel installation. Image via Shutterstock

Solar panel installation. Image via Shutterstock

¶ A community solar project in Halfmoon, New York will allow more than 100 local residents to participate in generating solar energy, even if they can’t have their own private PV systems. The PV installation for the shared solar project in Halfmoon, NY will generate 741,230 kWh annually. [pv magazine]

¶ Duke Energy, the utility ranking third in the US for adding new solar projects for its customers, has increased its renewable energy target by 33% in light of recent growth and successes in the sector. The North Carolina-based firm will seek to reach 8 GW of installed clean power by 2030. [pv magazine]

Duke Energy

Duke Energy

¶ Renewable energy advocates and business interests launched a new campaign focused on steering the statewide energy debate toward renewable energy opportunities in the face of weakening demand for Montana coal. Called “Charge,” the campaign’s slogan is “A Boom That Won’t Bust.” [Montana Standard]

¶ The developer of the 468-MW Cape Wind project off Nantucket has gone to the Supreme Judicial Court in a bid to keep key transmission line approvals. The developer is appealing a Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board rejection of its application for permit extensions. [SeeNews Renewables]

Nantucket Sound image by Ernest McGray, Jr. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Nantucket Sound image by Ernest McGray, Jr. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

¶ Since the Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan, states have operated under uncertainty and have taken different approaches the rule. Here is a timeline of the events to date, a summary of the different legal arguments, and a brief overview of different state approaches on the CPP. [JD Supra]

¶ Consumption of steam coal for electricity generation in the US fell 29% from its peak of 1,045 million short tons (MMst) in 2007 to an estimated 739 MMst in 2015. Consumption fell in nearly every state, rising only in Nebraska and Alaska over that period. [Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide]

Source: US Energy Information Administration, Power Plant Operations Report Form EIA-923

Source: US Energy Information Administration, Power Plant Operations Report Form EIA-923

¶ Federal regulators have approved a key permit for construction of a new nuclear reactor in New Jersey, at Artificial Island along the Delaware River in Lower Alloways Creek Township. It is not the final permit, however. Many federal, state and local approvals are still needed. [NJ.com]


April 28 Energy News

April 28, 2016

World:

¶ Australian credit finance group FlexiGroup has made a landmark issue of green Asset Backed Securities, a type of bond, raising $50 million to refinance residential rooftop solar systems in Australia. The issue brings rooftop solar into the mainstream bond market in Australia for the first time. [RenewEconomy]

Rooftop solar systems

Rooftop solar systems

¶ The end of the internal combustion engine may be in sight. The Austrian Ministry of Agriculture and Environment is working on a study that would mean an end to conventional cars sales by 2020. India, Norway, and the Netherlands have plans to end sales by 2025. [Renewables International]

¶ Global solar installations are expected to reach 66.7 GW in 2016, thanks to strong growth in China, the US, Japan, and India, according to Mercom. According to the Solar Market Update, China, the United States, Japan, and India will make up the year’s top four solar markets. [CleanTechnica]

¶ ITM Power will provide a 1.5-MW electrolyzer for the BIG HIT (Building Innovative Green Hydrogen systems in an Isolated Territory) on Orkney Islands, Scotland. A €5-million grant for the project came from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. [SeeNews Renewables]

Source: ITM Power (http://www.itm-power.com). License: All Rights Reserved.

Source: ITM Power License: All Rights Reserved.

¶ Laos aims to use Monsoon Wind Power, ASEAN’s largest wind farm, as an exemplary prototype. At 600-MW capacity, it will be the largest wind farm in ASEAN. The site covers two districts in southern Laos, Dak Cheung in Sekong province and Sanxay in Attapeu province. [The Nation]

¶ The International Solar Alliance has reiterated its desire to mobilize $1 trillion in investments to improve solar assets. Launched by India and France at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, the International Solar Alliance is made up of governments from 25 countries. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Siemens has received an order for the supply, installation and commissioning of 60 direct-drive offshore wind turbines, each with a capacity of 6 MW. The Arkona offshore wind farm is set to be in service by 2019 with a capacity sufficient to supply up to 400,000 German households. [Renewable Energy Focus]

Offshore wind farm. Photo by El Pollock. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Offshore wind farm. Photo by El Pollock. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ A change in the electric power matrix will allow Cuba to increase its own energy production from 4% to 24 % of the total by 2030, said an expert from the Cuban Energy and Mining Ministry on Wednesday. Cuba should have capacity to generate 7,245 GW in the year 2030. [Prensa Latina]

¶ Siemens has received an order for 714 MW worth of wind turbines for the East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm. The order is for 102 of its 7 MW turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 154 meters, for the East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm being developed off the British east coast. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶ The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its monthly Energy Infrastructure Update yesterday, April 27. In the first quarter of this year, 98.6% of all new electric capacity additions in the US have been renewable. This does not include small solar power additions. [Green Energy Times]

Wind turbine in Hull, Massachusetts. Photo by Fish Cop, placed in the public domain by the author. Wikimedia Commons.

Wind turbine in Hull, Massachusetts. Photo by Fish Cop, placed in the public domain by the author. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Mississippi Power, Silicon Ranch Corporation, local officials from Hattiesburg and Forrest County, and the Area Development Partnership, held a groundbreaking ceremony for the state’s largest solar farm. The 50-MW facility will supply power for about 6,500 homes. [Consumer Electronics Net]

¶ With solar power to equal the output of the Seabrook nuclear plant, along with sufficient efficiency programs and demand response, New England should have more than enough electricity resources to meet demand this summer, even during a heat wave, according to ISO New England. [Concord Monitor]

Rooftop solar panels are an increasingly large part of New England's power grid. Associated Press

Rooftop solar panels are an increasingly large part of New England’s power grid. Associated Press

¶ Maine’s Governor Paul LePage vetoed a landmark solar energy bill Wednesday, after failed attempts by Democratic leadership to reach a compromise during extensive negotiations. Solar advocates now plan to press lawmakers to override the veto when they reconvene Friday. [Press Herald]

¶ The Vermont House gave unanimous approval to S230, a bill that aims to give towns a say over where renewable energy projects are sited. While some Vermonters hoped the Legislature would let towns make siting decisions, the bill involves local, regional and state planners. [Vermont Biz]

Two windmills stand above a farm in Sheldon. VBM photo.

Two windmills stand above a farm in Sheldon. VBM photo.

¶ Utilities are laying out cash to influence politicians. Ten spent more than $250 million total on political expenditures over a five-year period beginning in 2011, according to a report from the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and the Sustainable Investments Institute. [Greentech Media]


April 27 Energy News

April 27, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Coal for water: crisis incoming”• The world’s rapidly dwindling freshwater resources could be further depleted if plans for hundreds of new coal power plants worldwide go ahead, threatening severe drought and competition, according to a new Greenpeace International report. [The Phuket News]

The Great Water Grab: How the coal industry is deepening the global water crisis.

The Great Water Grab: How the coal industry
is deepening the global water crisis.

¶ “Mikhail Gorbachev: 30 years after Chernobyl, time to phase out nuclear power” • At 85, committed environmentalist Mikhail Gorbachev still campaigns to bring the failed nuclear experiment to an end, while encouraging a clean, efficient and renewable global energy economy. [The Ecologist]

¶ “Digitalization: Where are the German digital utilities?” • In Germany, a lot has been written about two energy megatrends of our time, liberalization of energy markets and decentralization of the energy landscape. What we think has been neglected is a third megatrend: digitalization. [EurActiv]

Biogas unit in Next Kraftwerke's Power Plant. (Next Kraftwerke)

Biogas unit in Next Kraftwerke’s Power Plant. (Next Kraftwerke)

World:

¶ IKEA UK unveiled Solar Shops, its in-store offering to sell residential solar installations, partnering with Solarcentury. IKEA also released the results of its own survey which showed 33% of all UK homeowners would like to invest in solar panels, largely to cut their electricity bills. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Venezuela’s government has imposed a two-day working week for public sector workers as a temporary measure to help it overcome a serious energy crisis. Venezuela is in the middle of a major drought, which has dramatically reduced water levels at its main hydroelectric dam. [BBC]

Electricity Minister Luis Motta looks at the massive Guri Dam, virtually dry because of the drought. Reuters photo.

Electricity Minister Luis Motta looks at the massive Guri Dam, virtually dry because of the drought. Reuters photo.

¶ Leclanché has secured a $28.9 million order for a 53 MWh battery system to be installed in Ontario. The company was founded in 1909, and began making energy storage modules for renewables in 2011. In 1987, it produced lead-acid batteries. Today, it focuses on lithium batteries. [CleanTechnica]

¶ For the upcoming Australian election, Labor is proposing two emissions trading schemes, one for big industrial polluters and one other consumers, in a climate policy that trumps the Coalition’s ambition but minimizes the hit on household power bills. Details are yet to be determined. [The Guardian]

The 9KW capacity solar system on Montague island.  Photo by Binarysequence. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

The 9KW capacity solar system on Montague island.  Photo by Binarysequence. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ According to China’s National Energy Administration, the first quarter of 2016 saw the country’s solar industry add 7.14 GW in capacity, bringing its total solar capacity to 50.3 GW. China’s solar capacity includes 43.29 GW of ground-mounted solar PVs, and 7.03 GW of distributed solar PVs. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Central banks might accomplish what anti-nuclear activists have not, forcing operators to decommission almost 150 nuclear plants now sitting in limbo across the globe. In the past, many operators waited to allow growth in the cleanup funds. But the funds have been shrinking. [Taipei Times]

¶ Employment opportunities in Australia’s energy industry have collapsed in recent years. But while oil and coal jobs continue to decline, data from Indeed, the world’s largest jobs site, suggests solar is staging a massive comeback. Solar jobs are up 34% in the last quarter. [Business Insider Australia]

The transition from carbon-based job openings to solar is a global trend.

The transition from carbon-based job openings
to solar is a global trend.

¶ Hokuriku Electric Power Co may be forced to decommission a reactor at its Shika nuclear power plant because a geological fault line beneath the building was assessed as active. A panel of five experts on active faults issued its report to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on April 27. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶ When a sudden change in state policy seemed to block the solar ambitions of Minster, Ohio, the village wasn’t put off. Instead, it decided to look into battery storage. A 7-MW battery will allow the village to defer transmission and distribution costs, improve power quality, and shave peak demand. [CleanTechnica]

Minster, Ohio. USDA via Flickr (CC BY 2.0 license)

Minster, Ohio. USDA via Flickr (CC BY 2.0 license)

¶ The Senate passed a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that restores funding for wind energy research and development to $95.4 million, the same level as in FY16. The initial draft contained a $15.4 million cut. [KTVZ]

¶ An effort to bring renewable energy to Western Alaska has been recognized by the federal government. The Ocean Renewable Power Company was named the 2016 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters for its ability to bring hydropower to the Bristol Bay village of Igiugig. [KTOO]

The power system on station in Kvichak River. (Photo courtesy of ORPC)

The power system on station in Kvichak River.
(Photo courtesy of ORPC)

¶ Some of the sunniest states in the country maintain policies that block rooftop-solar development, a report from the Center for Biological Diversity says. Ten states have over 35% of the potential in the contiguous United States, but less than 3% of the installed capacity. [Center for Biological Diversity]


April 26 Energy News

April 26, 2016

Science and Technology:

¶ In wave power systems, the challenge has been to design a machine that can withstand the brutal power of the ocean, and to find a gap in the market in the face of plummeting costs of other renewables. Carnegie may have found the answer with its CETO wave energy projects. [Power Technology]

Carnegie's CETO wave energy

Carnegie’s CETO wave energy

¶ Hydrogen fuel is a tremendous alternative to fossil fuels when it comes to powering both consumer and commercial applications. You may have read about them: cars, forklifts, refrigerated trucks, aircrafts, and now even personal electronics such as laptops and cell phones. [Huffington Post]

World:

¶ Ukraine is holding commemorations to mark the 30th anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. The UN-backed Chernobyl Forum estimated up to 9,000 people could eventually die from radiation exposure, although Greenpeace claims the figure could be as high as 93,000. [BBC]

Candles were lit at a ceremony in Slavutych, a town built to re-house workers who lived near the nuclear plant.

Candles were lit at a ceremony in Slavutych, a town built
to re-house workers who lived near the nuclear plant.

¶ The Saudi cabinet approved sweeping economic reforms to move the country away from its dependence on oil profits. Just over 70% of revenues came from oil last year, but falling prices hurt. Part of the plan is to sell shares in state-owned oil giant Aramco to create a sovereign wealth fund. [BBC]

¶ Mitsubishi Motors Corp, which acknowledged last week that it had intentionally lied about fuel economy data for some of its models, said an internal investigation found such tampering dated back to 1991. President Tetsuro Aikawa told reporters the probe was still ongoing. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶ Germany already leads Europe’s nascent power-to-gas industry and insiders are expecting policies that will give it further support. Energy storage insiders expect German policymakers to reward power-to-gas (P2G) adoption as a logical next step to the country’s leadership in the field. [Solarplaza]

P2G System. Audi image

P2G System. Audi image

¶ Mumbai bus transportation authority BEST has announced plans to convert all CNG and diesel-powered buses into electric buses. Due to increasing population pressure and lack of space to expand city infrastructure, promoting public transport is the only option for many Indian cities. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia plans to generate 9.5 GW of electricity from renewable energy by 2030, it said on Monday as it approved its Vision 2030 reform plan. The plan, a package of economic and social policies is designed to free the kingdom from dependence on oil exports. [Al-Arabiya]

¶ A South African solar power plant set a new African record for continuous supply of electricity. During its first month of commercial operation, the 50-MW Bokpoort Concentrated Solar Power plant produced electricity for a continuous period of 161 hours, over six days. [Gulf Digital News]

The Bokpoort Concentrated Solar Power plant.

The Bokpoort Concentrated Solar Power plant.

¶ The French President has promised to begin the shutdown of the aging Fessenheim nuclear power plant, because of environmental and safety concerns. Fessenheim, near the German and Swiss borders, houses two 920-MW reactors and has been running since 1978. [RT]

¶ EDF has again pushed back the date for making a decision on the 3,200-MW Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project. The decision at this point will not be made earlier than September, according to French media reports. [Nuclear Street – Nuclear Power Plant News, Jobs, and Careers]

US:

¶ RES Distributed, which develops and operates wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage projects, announced an agreement with Pedernales Electric Cooperative to develop, construct, and manage a 15-MW distributed portfolio of PV projects in Texas Hill Country. [Your Renewable News]

The Applied Materials 24.8-kW solar array in Austin, Texas. Photo by Larry D Moore. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Applied Materials 24.8-kW solar array in Austin, Texas. Photo by Larry D Moore. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ Massachusetts officials have approved over $1 million in funding to support upgrades to hydroelectric facilities in Orange, Ware, and West Springfield in a bid to increase the state’s clean energy generation by around 1.2 million kWh per year. [International Water Power and Dam Construction]

¶ Construction is set to begin on the 180-MW Bloom Wind Farm in Ford County, Kansas, about 20 miles south of Dodge City. It will consist of 42 turbines with blade sweeps of 492 feet. Overall the farm will sit on 15,000 acres of privately-owned land. [Dodge City Daily Globe]

¶ Ecoplexus Inc, a developer of solar PV systems, announced it has commissioned six solar PV projects, totaling 54 MW in North Carolina. The six projects, reaching $79 million in project value, represent the completion of Ecoplexus’ second and third portfolios in the state. [pv magazine]


April 25 Energy News

April 25, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “Nuclear power’s economic meltdown 30 years after Chernobyl” The catastrophe at Chernobyl seemed to confirm the worst expectations of the environmental movement. Thirty years later, the nuclear industry is facing a meltdown of a different kind: an economic meltdown. [swissinfo.ch]

Science and Technology:

¶ An extensive new scientific analysis published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy & Environment says that proved conventional oil reserves as detailed in industry sources are likely “overstated” by half. The author is a former chief economist at Royal Dutch/Shell Group. [Middle East Eye]

World:

¶ A survey found communities across New South Wales support wind farms. Of the 2000 people surveyed in a study commissioned by the State Government, 81% said they supported wind farms in the state and 91% supported the use of renewables to generate electricity. [Clarence Valley Daily Examiner]

The Acciona wind farm near Gunning, New South Wales.

The Acciona wind farm near Gunning, New South Wales.

¶ Italian investors have signed a pact to install 1,000 MW of solar power capacity in Iran’s Qazvin province at a total cost of $1.5 billion (€1.3 billion). The memorandum of understanding outlines a plan to build 100 solar parks of 10 MW each over a period of 10 years. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ The Minerals Council of Australia launched a pro-uranium social media campaign on Wednesday. By that afternoon the twitter hashtag #untappedpotential was trending but ‒ as an AAP piece picked up by SBS and others noted ‒ contributors were overwhelmingly critical. [SBS]

A view of the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant 180 km from Minsk, Belarus, 2016. (AAP-EPA / Tatyana Zenkovich

A view of the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant 180 km from Minsk, Belarus, 2016. (AAP-EPA / Tatyana Zenkovich

¶ Indian utility Tata Power has decided to increase the share of its renewable energy output to 30-40% by 2025, up from its earlier target of 20%, a top company official has said. Currently, the private sector utility has an operational capacity of 9,156 MW, of which 14.7% is renewable. [Business Standard]

¶ The Turks and Caicos Islands has one of the highest reported greenhouse gas emissions in the Caribbean due to its reliance on fossil fuels. Almost all of its abundant renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind power, remain untapped, leaving it dependent on oil. [Turks and Caicos Weekly News]

¶ India’s Union power ministry estimates India’s electricity demand in the 2017-22 period to be 20% less than what was originally estimated, thanks to new energy efficiency targets and power-saving devices. Estimates demand in 2022 have been reduced from 298 GW to 239 GW. [Livemint]

Indian transmission lines. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

Indian transmission lines. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

¶ Shares in French energy giant EDF plunged more than 5% Monday after the state said it would lead a €4-billion capital increase as the company tries to tackle a huge debt pile. The power company’s debt woes weigh on its €23-billion ($26 billion) nuclear project at Hinkley Point. [Bangkok Post]

US:

¶ New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that the amount of solar power installed across the city has tripled since the beginning of 2014. Now, he has launched Solarize NYC, a new citywide program designed to further increase access to solar through community group purchasing campaigns over the next nine years. [Solar Industry]

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

¶ Wells Fargo has announced an integrated strategy to address global social, economic and environmental challenges. The company made new commitments in home and small business lending, community investment, operational efficiency, and corporate philanthropy through 2020. [Justmeans]


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 124 other followers