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May 26 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • GTM Research projects 24¢/W solar panels and utility scale fixed-tilt systems costing 70¢/W by 2022. This would open up new possibilities for ultra-cheap power. The cost of electricity from such systems could fall to 1.5¢/kWh or lower. Trump’s solar panel tariffs may delay that goal, but they are set to phase out by 2022. [pv magazine International]
Solar array (Soltec image)

Solar array (Soltec image)

  • Two utilities, Vistra Energy Corp and Dominion Energy Inc, which serve about 5.5 million electricity customers in more than a dozen US states, both say they are done building combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plants. Instead, they are building large solar plants, which offer them plentiful and inexpensive electricity. [Reuters]
  • General Electric’s shares plunged 7% on May 23, their worst one-day decline since an 8.4% slide in April 2009. The economic health of GE and other the large power equipment makers may hinge on how utilities handle the expected wave of power plant retirements. Mitsubishi said it expects orders for steam and gas turbines to run dry by 2020. [Utility Dive]
  • A partnership between Honda Motor and Chinese battery conglomerate Contemporary Amperex Technology to develop a next-generation electric vehicle for the motor company with at least 300 km (186 miles) of range. Based on the Honda Fit, the car would have a price of just over $18,000, and it is expected to be available in 2020. [CleanTechnica]
  • The New Orleans City Council signed off on an investigation into the use of paid actors to support an Entergy plan for a new power plant in New Orleans East. The council vote to release a request for proposals for a third-party consultant to look into the matter was unanimous. The council also plans to look into earlier similar incidents. [The Advocate]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

May 25 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The future of Exelon’s unprofitable Three Mile Island nuclear power plant looks even bleaker. The company said it failed at an annual auction for the future electricity sales. Exelon’s Dresden and Byron plants, both in Illinois, also failed in the 2021-2022 auction to supply the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regional power grid. [StateImpact Pennsylvania]
Three Mile Island nuclear plant (US DOE image)

Three Mile Island nuclear plant (US DOE image)

  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that will move the state’s electricity mix to 50% renewable by 2030 and codifies the largest state commitment to offshore wind power. State law now commits the state of New Jersey to develop 3,500 MW of offshore wind, enough to power over one million average homes. [Windpower Engineering]
  • ESS Inc, US maker of the only flow battery with a chemistry based on iron and saltwater electrolytes, is making its first move into the Brazilian energy storage market. A 50-kW/400-kWh test unit will be deployed and integrated together with 100 kW of PV, allowing for several hours of energy storage of onsite generated electricity. [Energy Storage News]
  • South Australia will push ahead with a plan to install Tesla battery systems in 50,000 homes. The new state government is committed to the pro-battery agenda of its predecessor. The deal to create what is being called the world’s largest virtual power plant appears to have survived political changes from Labor to Liberal dominance. [ABC Online]
  • New Hampshire regulators voted unanimously not to give Eversource a new hearing for its Northern Pass power line proposal. The case is likely to go to the state’s Supreme Court. Eversource argued the state Site Evaluation Committee failed to consider details of the power line proposal before denying its permit. [New Hampshire Public Radio]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

May 24 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The state of Rhode Island has selected Deepwater Wind, the Providence company that built the nation’s first offshore wind farm, to develop a 400-MW proposal in federal waters far off the coast that would be more than 10 times the size of the Block Island demonstration project. Gov Gina Raimondo announced the surprise decision. [The Providence Journal]
Block Island wind farm

Block Island wind farm

  • Massachusetts made a big step forward in its push to rely more on renewable energy by agreeing to purchase 800 MW of offshore wind power from Vineyard Wind. The New Bedford-based company was one of three competing for the contract. The proposed farm is poised to become the largest offshore wind farm in the country. [WCAI]
  • A Vermont food company, whose products are on store shelves throughout New England, is now making its coffee using an emerging power source that’s gentler on the environment. The coffee beans look the same, dark brown as always, but the energy that now fuels operations at the Vermont Coffee Company in Middlebury is green. [NECN]
  • A new Bloomberg New Energy Finance report focused on electric buses forecasts a surge in electric bus sales to 84% of global new bus sales by 2030. The report forecasts that electric cars will follow, but at a slower pace, reaching 28% of new car sales in 2030. But the forecasts highlight the risk of nearly single-sourced cobalt. [CleanTechnica]
  • The City of Norman, Oklahoma, committed to transition to 100% clean and renewable energy, according to the Sierra Club, which said Norman is the first city in Oklahoma to make the commitment. Norman’s City Council unanimously adopted the resolution, committing the city to use 100% clean energy for electricity by 2035. [Solar Industry]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

May 23 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The American Wind Energy Association says that the number of contracts signed for wind power projects hit a record of 3,500 MW in the first quarter of 2018, a possible predictor of a strong year for wind power. Among the news items it cited was an announcement by PacifiCorp of a plan for a $2 billion wind farm in Wyoming. [Energy Manager Today]
Wind farm

Wind farm

  • The Netherlands has announced that it will ban the use of coal for electricity generation from 2030 onwards, and that the two oldest plants must close by the end of 2024. Germany utility company RWE has deemed the plan “ill judged.” But according to Carbon Tracker, over half of all European coal-burning power plants are losing money. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Oregon Public Utility Commission has declined to acknowledge a short list of four Wyoming wind power projects from a request for proposals by PacifiCorp, saying the process was not sufficiently competitive. PacifiCorp said it will move ahead with the $3.5 billion wind and transmission expansion anyway. [Portland Business Journal]
  • In its Corporate Responsibility Report, Xcel Energy announced it cut carbon emissions 35%, putting itself on track to reach its ambitious goal of reducing carbon emissions 60% by 2030 from 2005 levels. This means that Xcel Energy is a step closer to achieving one of the most aggressive carbon-reduction goals in the industry. [POWER magazine]
  • Following on the heels of a deal for 500 electric refuse trucks in Shenzhen a few days ago, BYD announced another deal for an impressive 200 electric refuse trucks in Indaiatuba, Brazil. The electric refuse weigh in at 21 metric tons when fully loaded. The first twenty of the trucks will be delivered in September, and the rest over 5 years. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

New Funding Opportunity Includes Emphasis on Building Energy Codes

energy.gov

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) has announced the availability of up to $11.5 million for a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) titled, “Building America Industry Partnerships and Research Priorities for High-Performance Housing Innovation – 2018.”

As part of this announcement, BTO supports research priorities in the residential building sector related to building energy codes. Further research in this area will help address current gaps, providing data and technical analysis around the market prevalence of key technologies and efficiency measures. This helps to inform future building technology research and development activities and building energy codes decision-making processes.

Topic 3 – Gap Analysis of Building Industry Standard Practices 

This topic focuses on research related to building industry standard practices. Construction practices vary significantly across the U.S. and there is often a shortage of information depicting how industry standards are applied in practice, including the influence of advancing technologies and construction practices. DOE supports further data and technical analysis of the market prevalence of key technologies and energy efficiency measures to inform decision-making processes related to building energy codes and standards, as well as inform future building technology research and development.  

More information, submittal requirements, and instructions for applying to this FOA (DE-FOA-0001824) can be found on the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange website. To be eligible for consideration, a letter of intent must be submitted no later than 5/25/2018 5:00 PM ET. Questions about this FOA may be sent to BTOResidentialBuildingsFOA@ee.doe.gov.
 

SUBMISSION DEADLINES

  • Submission deadline for Letters of Intent:  5/25/2018 5:00 PM ET
  • Submission deadline for Full Applications: 6/11/2018 5:00 PM ET

May 22 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Officials tried to censor a report on national parks. Here’s what was in it.” • The Trump administration attempted to release a report from the National Park service about dangers to National Parks from rising sea levels with all references to climate change removed. It identified human-caused climate change as the main culprit behind the rising sea levels. [Grist]
Acadia National Park (Nate Parker Maine Photography | Getty Images)

Acadia National Park (Nate Parker Maine Photography | Getty Images)

  • A University of Colorado research scientist said she was “extremely happy” the National Park Service released a study on sea level rise even though it “probably destroyed” her career doing agency research. Maria Caffrey refused to accept NPS corrections that are said to have removed words linking global warming to human activity. [The Western Journal]
  • Power producers are rushing to build natural gas plants and pipelines to replace retiring coal, but in less than 10 years much of that infrastructure will be more expensive to operate than the cost to build new renewables, analysis released by the Rocky Mountain Institute says. That would leave investors saddled with billions in stranded assets. [Forbes]
  • Some Australian Coalition politicians want AGL punished for refusing either to sell the Liddell coal-burning power plant or to keep it open. They propose changes to fine it heavily or have it face class action. AGL would replace Liddell with a gas-fired plant, upgrades at another coal plant, and renewable energy generation. [The Sydney Morning Herald]
  • The main union representing workers at the doomed and decrepit Liddell power station has welcomed AGL Energy’s plan to transition the asset to a clean energy hub, even as conservative politicians insist on a forced sale of the asset to another buyer. The union praised AGL for striking a balance that secures future jobs. [RenewEconomy]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Energy Has a Diversity Problem. We’re Calling on the Solar Industry to Fix It

Solar is no longer a fledgling industry. It’s more important than ever to improve diversity in hiring, say NAACP’s Rosemary Lytle and Vote Solar’s Melanie Santiago-Mosier.

from greentechmedia.com

According to a February report from The Solar Foundation, despite recent federal headwinds, overall solar employment is more than double what it was in 2010. But when paired with The Solar Foundation’s Diversity Report from last fall, a bleaker picture is revealed. For women, African Americans, Latinos and other communities of color, the data shows that the solar industry can and must to better when it comes to providing equitable access to good employment opportunities.

  • Women and people of color are less likely to earn executive-level wages compared to white men. Only 28 percent of men of color and 20 percent of white women earn $75 or more an hour, compared to 36 percent of white men.
  • Women of color are least likely to be “very satisfied” with their current wage and position, with only 19 percent of women of color choosing this response (compared to 47 percent of men of color respondents, 60 percent of white male respondents, and 45 percent of white female respondents).
  • Further, a mere 8 percent of African American respondents feel that they have successfully moved up the career ladder, while 50 percent feel stuck in their current positions. This differs greatly from 52 percent of white respondents and 58 percent of Asian respondents that feel they have successfully moved up the career ladder.
  •  African Americans make up just 7.4 percent of the solar workforce — compared to 13 percent of the total U.S. workforce — a negligible increase from 6 percent in 2014.

So how do we move forward from here?   Click here to read the full article.

Charlie Baker’s Record on Climate Action and Consumer Protection

from Blue Mass Group

Charlie Baker didn’t run for governor on a platform of consumer protection or climate action. But now that he thinks climate change is real and man-made, he talks a lot about his administration’s work on clean energy and climate change, even as his messaging to his base, and his reelection campaign, evoke themes of “hold the line on taxes” and small government.

There’s nothing wrong with the Governor’s beliefs on climate change evolving and he’s not unique in disliking taxation (as much as we desperately need more revenue). And yes, it’s also really important to have bipartisan action on climate change. As I see it, the problem is pretty simple: beneath a rhetoric of climate action and balanced “combo platter” of energy solutions, the Governor has approved policies that are bad for ratepayers, bad for the environment and bad for democracy.

A number of the Governor’s appointees are so bad they might as well be lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry, and overall, the Governor’s energy strategy is bad for consumers, prioritizes investor-owned utilities whose executives contribute to his campaign, and is dishonest, hiding “little known taxes” on energy bills and fees.

What has Charlie Baker’s administration done that is so awful? His administration has approved automatic rate increases, a gratuitously high return on equity for Eversource energy (more on this below), unprecedented fees on solar, cuts to compensation for renters and low-income renewable energy customers, a tax on electric bills to fund fracked gas pipeline expansion (struck down by the MA SJC) and the Governor has failed to maintain the few campaign pledges related to the environment around funding of environmental programs and meaningfully addressing gas leaks.

Click here to read more.

May 21 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Qualcomm Inc has been developing motor vehicle static charging technology with major carmakers for the past seven years. The company announced that its system is expected to be commercially available on EVs within two years, based on the fact that the cost of static wireless charging is now comparable with conductive charging. [Solar Magazine]
Solar Roadway project (Source: Designboom)

Solar Roadway project (Source: Designboom)

  • After months of pressure from the Australian government either to keep the old coal-fired plant open longer than planned or to sell it to somebody who will, the AGL board has decided to proceed with its original plan to close it. AGL said that an offer it got was in its best interests of neither the company nor its shareholders. [The Singleton Argus]
  • Sales of BMW electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are up more than 49% year over year in 2018. BMW’s EV sales are up nicely so far this year, 73% in the US and 25% in the UK. But EV sales have surged far more in China, where sales are up 646%, thanks largely to a new, locally produced plug-in hybrid electric version of the 5 Series sedan. [CleanTechnica]
  • “This Clean Energy Champion Is Out To Break Vietnam’s Coal Habit” • The Goldman Environmental Prize for grassroots advocacy was awarded to its first Vietnamese recipient, 42-year-old clean energy champion, Nguy Thi Khanh, who hopes to end Vietnam’s reliance on coal and persuade the country to take a greener approach. [Forbes]
  • Utilities are welcoming a historic rooftop solar building code in California, but urging caution with its implementation to protect non-solar customers. Utilities and solar developers are calling at the same time for a dialogue among stakeholders to effectively integrate additional rooftop solar into the grid. The new code is to be effective in 2020. [Utility Dive]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

May 20 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Global warming is on track to cause a major wipeout of insects, compounding already severe losses, according to a new analysis. Insects are vital to most ecosystems and a widespread collapse would cause extremely far-reaching disruption to life on Earth, and scientists warn that much more carbon needs to be cut than nations have promised. [theindependentbd.com]
Monarch butterflies (Joel Sartore | NG | Getty Images)

Monarch butterflies (Joel Sartore | NG | Getty Images)

  • The alternative energy revolution, based on such renewable energy sources as wind, solar, and geothermal being fed into the overall electrical grid, is reviving an argument Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla had well over a century ago. The grid supplies AC power, but renewable energy sources such as solar and batteries are DC. [RTInsights]
  • Jonathan Naughton, director of the University of Wyoming’s Wind Energy Research Center, expects that in the next five to seven years up to 5,000 MW of wind power could be built in the state. That is three times the capacity of Wyoming’s current fleet of wind projects. The local utilities want wind power because it is inexpensive. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]
  • When a New Mexico electric cooperative anxious to lower its rates and pursue greater use of renewable energy learned that doing so would cost it a net $37 million exit fee from its contract with its wholesale power provider, it did what once might have been unthinkable. Now co-op other members are weighing their options. [The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel]
  • Denver International Airport first installed solar power for sustainability reasons in 2008. Now, it has 11.6 MW of solar capacity, with most of the electricity being sold back to the grid. A 2015 survey indicated that the nation’s airports had 70 solar projects. Now more are coming, as the airports consider what to do with open land. [Longview News-Journal]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.