Solar and wind show resilience in face of hurricanes

first_imgSolar and wind show resilience in face of hurricanes FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CBS:Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Florence swamped North and South Carolina, thousands of residents who get power from coal-fired utilities remain without electricity. Yet solar installations, which provide less than 5 percent of North Carolina’s energy, were up and running the day after the storm, according to electricity news outlet GTM. And while half of Duke Energy’s customers were without power at some point, according to CleanTechnica, the utility’s solar farms sustained no damage.Traditional energy providers have fared less well. A dam breach at the L.V. Sutton Power Station, a retired coal-fired power plant near Wilmington, North Carolina, has sent coal ash flowing into a nearby river. Another plant near Goldsboro has three flooded ash basins, according to the Associated Press, while in South Carolina, floodwaters are reportedly threatening pits that contain ash, an industrial waste from burning coal. In Puerto Rico, although Maria took out the power grid, locations that had their own solar installations, including a farm and a community center, were able to stay open.“Solar is resilient — there are a ton of cases where, as long as the roof stays attached, the solar array stays attached as well. That’s the real takeaway,” he said. Given its elevation, a rooftop solar installation has a better chance of survival than power lines or transformers closer to the ground.It’s precisely after a storm that customer interest in solar spikes, several energy companies that operate in North and South Carolina said.“Storm readiness and disaster preparedness, particularly in the Southeast, are major factors for people in going solar,” said Tyson Grinstead, Southeast director of policy for Sunrun, a company that leases rooftop solar panels. “As we see more and more storms, we’re seeing more and more customers come to us and see what their options are to provide for themselves.”North Carolina’s only wind farm, the Amazon facility near Elizabeth, powered through the storm, even generating electricity through part of it.“The wind farm experienced no damage and no noticeable water or drainage issues,” said Paul Copleman, a spokesperson for Avangrid Renewables, which owns and runs the farm. The result would have been different if Florence had hit the farm directly, he noted — the facility is in the northeastern part of the state, and Florence turned south along the coast.A U.S. wind farm experienced a hurricane directly last year, when Hurricane Harvey shut down several wind facilities on the Gulf Coast of Texas. But they powered back up within days, The Wall Street Journal reported, while several refineries shut down and coal-fired power plants flooded.More: Hurricane Florence crippled electricity and coal — solar and wind were back the next daylast_img read more

Investors push new CEO of GE to back renewables, storage

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Examiner:A group of environmentally focused investors and hedge fund managers is prodding General Electric’s new CEO Lawrence Culp to stave off further losses to the company’s earnings by shifting the manufacturing giant’s focus toward wind and solar energy.“As GE’s new CEO, you must make many difficult decisions,” reads a letter sent Friday to Culp from the 14 investors and hedge fund managers. “One of your most critical should also be one of the simplest: Will GE continue fighting to protect decelerating fossil fuel businesses or lead the world into a more profitable and sustainable future?”Culp was hired by GE’s board after the company was hit by major losses in earnings that led to its prior CEO, John Flannery, being fired. GE revealed this week that it suffered a $23 billion loss from its power plant manufacturing segment, which the letter says stems from a poor investment decision that favored fossil fuels.The letter blames GE’s losses on Flannery’s “misguided preoccupation” with turbines for natural gas and coal-fired power plants that “are rapidly becoming uncompetitive.” Other market watchers say the company was simply out competed by other turbine businesses such as the the German company Siemens.The investors want to turn around GE’s losses by focusing the company on its successful wind turbine business that earned $9 billion in revenue last year. They also say there is a $150 billion market opportunity for GE in solar.“GE also has deep technical expertise in energy storage and batteries, which could place the company at the center of the electric vehicle transition,” the investors continued. “This transition will require hundreds of billions of dollars in investment and generate decades of revenues for manufacturers.”The letter to Culp was signed by more than a dozen investors and hedge fund managers that invest in companies with an environmental and clean energy focus. Some signatories on the letter included Stuart Kinnersly, managing partner with Affirmative Investment Management; Cole Frates, founder of the Renewable Resources Group; Elizabeth McGeveren, the McKnight Foundation’s director of investment; and Frohman Anderson, managing director of Everwatch Financial, among others.More: Green investors pressure GE’s new CEO to refocus company on renewables Investors push new CEO of GE to back renewables, storagelast_img read more

Australian government backs renewables-to-hydrogen demonstration

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The Australian government said on Monday it would provide half the funding for the country’s biggest trial to produce hydrogen using solar and wind energy, which could then be used as a back-up for gas supplies.The A$15 million ($11 million) project is being run by gas pipeline company Jemena, which plans to build a 500 kilowatt electrolyser in western Sydney that will use solar and wind power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.Most of the hydrogen will then be injected into the local gas network, aiming to show that renewable hydrogen could be used for energy storage in Australia’s gas networks, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency said.“As Australia transitions to renewable energy, hydrogen could play an important role as energy storage and also has the effect of decarbonizing the gas network with ‘green’ gas,” the agency’s chief executive, Darren Miller, said in a statement.Some of the hydrogen will also be used in a generator to produce power for the grid and for a hydrogen refueling station for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.Jemena said storing renewable energy as hydrogen in gas networks could prove to be more efficient than batteries, as hydrogen can be stored over weeks and months, while excess renewable energy can only be stored in batteries for minutes or hours. Jemena is owned by State Grid Corp of China and Singapore Power.More: Australia backs hydrogen project to store renewable energy Australian government backs renewables-to-hydrogen demonstrationlast_img read more

Revised South Korea energy plan boosts renewables, cuts coal

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:South Korea plans to boost the share of its energy output generated from renewable sources to as much as 35 percent by 2040, a draft revision to government policy showed on Friday, over four times the current amount.Asia’s fourth-largest economy has been pushing to shed its heavy reliance on coal and nuclear power, with the latest target coming on top of a 2017 plan to increase the amount of renewables in its energy mix to 20 percent by 2030. Renewable power currently makes up around 8 percent of South Korea’s energy production. “We have decided to increase the share of renewable power to between 30 percent and 35 percent by 2040 to move toward cleaner and safer energy based on an advisory group’s recommendation,” Park Jae-young, director of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, told a public hearing in Seoul.The role of coal power is expected to be cut further, while gas power generation will be expanded, Park added.The ministry will also keep its plan to stop extending the lifespans of aged nuclear power plants.More: South Korea steps up shift to cleaner energy, sets long-term renewable power targets Revised South Korea energy plan boosts renewables, cuts coallast_img read more

Judge approves Contura purchase of Blackjewel’s Powder River Basin coal mines

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star Tribune:Hundreds of coal miners moved one step closer to returning to work at two idling Powder River Basin mines Tuesday, after a federal judge approved the sale of mines owned by bankrupt coal giant Blackjewel to previous owner Contura Energy.Contura said it planned to “reinstate immediately” 500 jobs at Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines if the sale is finalized. But the sale hinges on the final approval of the federal government, after it objected to outstanding royalties and leasing terms of the Wyoming mines.The sale to Contura comes more than five weeks after Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy, lost a key creditor and closed 32 mines across the country — all on July 1. About 1,700 workers found themselves out of work indefinitely. In addition to approving the sale of the two Wyoming mines and one West Virginia surface mine to Contura, Volk also authorized the sale of several other mines and equipment speckled throughout the Appalachian region to seven additional companies during the two-day sales hearing.Although Blackjewel attorneys said in a statement they intended to finalize the sales as soon as this week, reopening the idling mines in the Powder River Basin may not be that easy, University of Wyoming economist Rob Godby said Monday. “It’s unclear where their customer base stands and how many miners will report back to work, so (there could be) immediate operational challenges,” he said.Even after the judge’s decision Tuesday, the future of Wyoming’s two idling mines remains opaque, said Shannon Anderson, an attorney with the Powder River Basin Resource Council, a group advocating for Wyoming landowners. “Unfortunately, we are in the same position we were this morning,” she said. Not only do multiple agreements with Contura need to be finalized with both local and federal governments, but the logistics of reopening the mines could also be complicated, she said.Still, economist Godby remains skeptical of the long-term health of the Powder River Basin’s coal market. In his eyes, there are too many mines producing too much coal without sufficient demand. “In the immediate term, it will likely ease the economic stress to see those mines reopen and to reduce the uncertainty,” he said. “…Even if (Contura) plans to close (the mines), that will allow people to plan.”More: Judge approves sale of Blackjewel coal mines to Contura Judge approves Contura purchase of Blackjewel’s Powder River Basin coal mineslast_img read more

Hydrogen seen as potential clean option for steelmaking, replacing met coal

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Steel could shed its reputation as a climate threat by using hydrogen instead of fossil fuels for as much as half of global output by 2050, according to BloombergNEF.The steel industry could adopt hydrogen for between 10% and 50% of output by mid-century given the right carbon pricing, BloombergNEF analysts wrote in a report. The sector accounts for as much as 9% of global carbon emissions, according to the World Steel Association.“Hydrogen technologies offer a viable pathway to slash the emissions from making steel,” Kobad Bhavnagri, head of special projects at BloombergNEF, said by email. “No big R&D breakthroughs are necessary. If policy was in place, the world could start producing green steel within a decade.”Hydrogen is one option for steelmakers facing louder calls from climate lobbyists and regulators to tackle their carbon problem. It’s an alternative already being tested by industry giants including top supplier ArcelorMittal, as well as Germany’s Thyssenkrupp AG.Steel is currently made from mined iron using a process largely unchanged for more than 150 years. Iron ore is first smelted with carbon-rich coke in huge blast furnaces that emit carbon gases and churn out liquid metal. Gases can be used instead of coke as reduction agents in an alternative process called direct reduced iron, or DRI. This does away with the blast furnace and is already employed in some locations using natural gas.“Hydrogen can do everything coal does in the steel-making process, and the technology to make fossil-free steel is already currently operating with natural gas in many parts of the world,” Bhavnagri said. DRI accounts for nearly 6% of steel output worldwide, according to a report from Citigroup Inc.More: How hydrogen could solve steel’s climate test and hobble coal Hydrogen seen as potential clean option for steelmaking, replacing met coallast_img read more

Brazilian mining company to take $1.6 billion charge, shift focus from thermal to met coal

first_imgBrazilian mining company to take $1.6 billion charge, shift focus from thermal to met coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Vale SA expects a total of US$3.2 billion in noncash impairment charges in its fourth quarter results this year, related to its New Caledonia nickel operation and its coal business.The Brazilian diversified miner said Nov. 26 that it expects reduced production from its New Caledonia mine for its remaining life, due to reliability issues related to production and processing operations, resulting in an impairment charge of approximately US$1.6 billion.In addition, technical issues have affected the expected yield of Vale’s coal business, leading to an additional impairment charge of approximately US$1.6 billion.Vale said it will implement a new mining plan for its coal business, aiming to prioritize higher quality ore in a bid to maximize the metallurgical coal share of the product mix and with a lower stripping ratio.Its Moatize coal mine in Mozambique will implement a new flow sheet following a three-month maintenance period in 2020, targeting increased plant productivity to a run rate of 15 million tonnes per year by the second half of next year.More ($): Vale outlines US$3.2B impairment in Q4’19 due to nickel, coal mineslast_img read more

Indian state of Odisha looking to build 500MW of floating solar generation

first_imgIndian state of Odisha looking to build 500MW of floating solar generation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:The government of Odisha plans to develop around 500 MW of floating solar power plants on various reservoirs in the state in collaboration with National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, shared power minister R.K. Singh in Parliament recently.Notably, Odisha has the potential of generating 17,755 MW of electricity from floating solar over 877 of water surface area in its reservoirs, according to a report by sustainability think tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).The state, which has installed 521.69 MW of renewable energy capacity (including 397.84 MW from solar) as on February 29, also plans to develop around 358 MW of ground-mounted capacity under different projects—the minister added.Further, the Odisha government plans to set up 19 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar projects on government buildings in 17 cities of the state through GEDCOL.TERI’s report has calculated India’s water reservoirs have 18,000 sq. km of area with the potential to host 280 GW of floating solar power generation capacity. The report calculated the floating solar potential on the basis of 30% of the water surface area of the country’s medium and large reservoirs.[Uma Gupta]More: Odisha plans to develop 500 MW floating solarlast_img read more

Oil major Total buys controlling stake in 1,140MW Scottish offshore wind farm

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Total has bought a 51% stake from utility SSE Plc in the development of a massive wind farm off the coast of Scotland.The 70-million-pound investment ($88 million) in the Seagreen 1 wind farm will be Total’s first significant foray into offshore wind as it seeks to expand its green energy business. SSE could also be in line for future payments of 60 million pounds based on certain performance conditions, Total said.As European countries increasingly turn to wind farms at sea to deliver low-carbon power, the project is a first step for the oil major to become a significant player in the industry.As part of an announcement that it reached financial close on the 1,140 megawatt project, SSE said it’ll also buy 30% of the wind farm’s power capacity. Last year, the company secured a contract with the government to sell about 40% of the power at a fixed price of 41.61 pounds per megawatt hour.“It could be the perfect project for exposure to evolving offshore wind projects,” said Tom Harries, a wind analyst at BloombergNEF. “If you are an oil and gas company wanting to go big in offshore then you want to know how future projects might look, not the old stuff.”Total now has stakes in 5 gigawatts of renewable-power capacity. It targets a portfolio of 25 gigawatts by 2025.[William Mathis, Francois de Beaupuy]More: Total begins clean energy shift with Scottish wind farm investment Oil major Total buys controlling stake in 1,140MW Scottish offshore wind farmlast_img read more

Sol Systems, Microsoft partner on 500MW of community-based solar projects

first_imgSol Systems, Microsoft partner on 500MW of community-based solar projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Sol Systems and Microsoft announced [last week] they will work together on a portfolio of 500 megawatts of U.S. solar projects as well as investments in communities on the front lines of climate change.Washington, D.C.-based Sol Systems will finance, develop and operate the new solar projects, which will add to its existing 1 gigawatts of solar in operation or construction. The portfolio represents the largest single renewables investment yet from Microsoft, which plans to reach “carbon-negative” status by 2030 and by 2050 remove more carbon than it has historically emitted.While the size of the portfolio alone is notable, the partnership is also unique for its emphasis on community involvement. Unlike many corporate renewables purchases, which have become a significant driving force for new solar and wind additions, the Microsoft and Sol Systems collaboration emphasizes community impact.Projects will be sited in “under-resourced communities” disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change. The companies did not detail how those communities would be selected, though Sol Systems noted a particular emphasis on communities that have been significantly economically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.Project size will range from between 2 megawatts and 10 megawatts in urban environments to installations larger than 50 megawatts. The two companies did not provide specifics on where the solar projects would be located but said the portfolio will span several states, with some built in the territory of the PJM Interconnection.On the same day as unveiling the partnership with Sol Systems, Microsoft announced it was joining up with eight other companies including Mercedes-Benz and Starbucks to help develop research and guidance for corporations transitioning to net-zero emissions by mid-century. The Environmental Defense Fund, a green group that has promoted market-based approaches to combatting climate change, is another founding member and the only non-profit organization among the current group.[Emma Foehringer Merchant]More: Microsoft and Sol Systems to build 500 megawatts of solar, boost community investmentlast_img read more