Renewables produced record 33% of U.K. electricity in third quarter FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Almost a third of the UK’s electricity came from renewable sources between July and September, as wind turbines and solar panels helped achieve a quarterly record for green energy. Major new offshore windfarms connecting to the grid pushed renewables to 33.1% of electricity generation across the quarter, up from 30% the year before.The speed at which green energy projects are being installed has resulted in records tumbling this year. Wind power broke records during the “beast from the east”, which was eclipsed during Storm Diana last month, and again this week when wind generation hit 15GW on Tuesday.The trend is expected to continue next year as more windfarms around the coast near completion. Initial analysis of some recently built offshore projects also shows they are generating more power than expected.Meanwhile, gas and coal slumped to a new low of just over 41.1%, according to official statistics published on Thursday.Low carbon sources of power, which include the country’s eight nuclear power stations, account for 56% of the UK’s electricity supply. The 50% mark was hit only two years ago.More: New offshore windfarms push UK renewables to record
Norway tightens coal investment rules, expands renewable options for sovereign wealth fund FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Norway plans to tighten restrictions on coal investments for its $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund while opening it up for renewable-energy infrastructure assets.The government proposes to expand its coal ban by adding absolute caps on production of thermal coal, or its use in power generation, which would target big companies such as Glencore Plc, Anglo American Plc, BHP Group Ltd., RWE AG and Uniper SE. The current restrictions, introduced in 2015, have been criticized by politicians from opposition parties and environmental groups because their emphasis on relative thresholds mean miners and utilities with a big exposure to coal were left out.The government proposed to keep the current rules excluding companies that base more than 30 percent of their revenues or activities on coal, while adding absolute limits of 20 million tons of coal for miners and 10,000 megawatts for power capacity.To be sure, the current rules allow the fund to stay invested in a company in breach of the threshold if it has specific plans that would make it compliant at a later point, suggesting that could also be the case for the new restrictions. Norway’s coal ban has already led the fund to exclude 69 companies.The Conservative-led government earlier resisted calls from several political parties and environmental activists to allow the fund to invest in renewable infrastructure, but said on Friday that expectations of significant future investments in these assets made the market interesting.The government proposed a cap of 2 percent of the fund for renewable-energy infrastructure, and signaled that it would start out in developed markets only. It proposed doubling the upper limit on the so-called environment-related mandates to 120 billion kroner ($14 billion), it said in the statement.More: Norway wealth fund to tighten coal ban, add green infrastructure
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享OilPrice.com:Coal usage continues to fall, and the coal industry wants to do something about that. So does the Trump administration. Their proposed solution to the problem of waning coal usage is carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)—a technology that has been around for a long time.The basic idea behind CCS is to remove the carbon dioxide from the exhaust stream after burning the coal. Then the “captured” CO2 can be redirected. But in the US, the Southern Company and others attempted to develop an additional process. Their ultimate goal was to use cheap and plentiful Mississippi lignite and convert it chemically into clean-burning synthetic gas. The CO2 produced from combustion would also be captured. One actual use is to pump CO2 into older, less productive oil field reservoirs to enhance oil recovery. One suggestion is to replace the oil with CO2 storage after the field has been depleted.Abroad, the giant coal miners (as opposed to the smaller American ones that have been skirting bankruptcy) launched Coal21 in Australia (where coal mining is a huge business) to do research and lobbying. The International Energy Agency argues that half the world’s coal-fired power plants are under 15 years in age, so sequestration will be required in order to reduce the world’s carbon emissions (one-third of which are from burning coal).Leaving aside the question of whether past (not fully depreciated) power plant investment should influence future decisions (the sunk cost issue), the real policy question is: what are we doing—limiting greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest possible cost or saving the coal industry?The problem simply is that electricity produced by coal-fired plants using the latest CCS technology is several times the cost of other existing carbon-free technologies. With respect to a commodity product like electricity, these numbers are politically and financially untenable. To overly simplify, coal is already losing on price to wind. The CCS advocates propose to double the price of coal (from about 3 to at least 6 cents per kWh).At the end of the day, sequestration technologies fail to answer a simple question. Why add sequestration technology and the attendant costs when coal is already becoming increasingly uncompetitive as a boiler fuel relative to wind (which only costs 2 cents/kWh to produce)?More: Coal’s last hope: Carbon capture tech It all comes down to cost, analysts argue: Carbon capture simply too expensive
Australian grid regulator releases blueprint for integrating 75% green electricity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The Australian Energy Market Operator has laid out an action plan to accommodate levels of up to 75 percent “instant” penetration of wind and solar in Australia’s main grid by 2025, saying the country had the technical know-how to cope with such a high penetration of wind and solar, but needed to urgently update the market and regulatory settings.Releasing the long-await Renewable Integration Study, a key adjunct to its 20-year blueprint for the grid transition known as the Integrated System Plan, AEMO chief executive Audrey Zibelman reinforced the widespread view that integrating very high levels of renewables is not so much a technical challenge. It’s more about updating rules and regulations to make them fit for purpose for a new system, and to add new markets to ensure the availability of essential services such as inertia and voltage. Without these changes, AEMO warns it may have to limit the contribution of wind and solar resources to 50 or 60 per cent of electricity supply at any point in time.“Australia already has the technical capability to safely operate a power system where three quarters of our energy at times comes from wind and solar energy generation,” Zibelman says in a statement accompanying the report. “However, to do so requires changes in our markets and regulatory requirements. Otherwise, AEMO will be required to limit the contribution of these wind and solar resources to 50 or 60 per cent of electricity supply at any point in time, even though they are the lowest cost way of providing electricity,” she warned.Wind and solar have recently accounted for close to 50 per cent of supply in the National Electricity Market in some trading periods (more than 50 per cent including hydro, and up to 140 per cent wind and solar in South Australia), although there have been some 5-minute intervals where wind and solar has already exceeded 50 per cent.AEMO, which is responsible for managing grid and keeping the lights on, debunks this and says there is no reason Australia cannot have a very high level of renewables: “Beyond 2025, AEMO has not identified any insurmountable reasons why the NEM cannot operate securely at even higher levels of wind and solar penetration, especially with ongoing technological advancement worldwide,” it notes.Indeed, its ISP maps out a path – mostly through infrastructure – to accommodate a 90 per cent share of renewables in Australia’s main grid by 2040.[Giles Parkinson]More: AEMO lays out “action plan” to manage 75 pct wind and solar by 2025
Iberdrola buys 900MW wind pipeline, continuing planned renewable investment efforts FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Iberdrola closed on two deals in the space of a week for wind projects in France and the U.K., including nearly 300 megawatts of operating capacity.The Spanish utility has promised to accelerate its investment plans in 2020, bringing forward procurement commitments and hiring 5,000 additional staff as part of its own coronavirus stimulus plan. That plan appears well underway.At the end of last week, Iberdrola closed on an acquisition of French developer Aalto Power for €100 million ($109 million). In the process, it gained 118 megawatts of operational onshore wind and a 636-megawatt pipeline in France.On Wednesday Iberdrola subsidiary Scottish Power announced the acquisition of 165 megawatts courtesy of two onshore projects in Scotland for €195 million. The deal includes a 100-megawatt greenfield site and a repowering project of Hagshaw Hill, the first commercial-scale wind farm in Scotland, which opened in 1996. Those two projects will join a third under Iberdrola’s control to create a 220-megawatt energy cluster south of Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow. Planning documents for the repowering of Hagshaw Hill include an increase in capacity from 42 to 65 megawatts and the addition of a 20-megawatt battery system. It will be the company’s third repowering project in the U.K.In its home market, Iberdrola is building Europe’s largest solar plants with a view to its Spanish PV portfolio reaching 3 gigawatts by 2022. The Núñez de Balboa project, 500 megawatts in total, was completed in January this year. Iberdrola’s Spanish wind and solar pipeline now stands at more than 4 gigawatts, with hard-to-come-by grid access secured for more beyond that.The company is also ramping up its offshore wind ambitions. It has a 12-gigawatt pipeline internationally, 60 percent of which is in the U.S. via its controlling stake in Avangrid.[John Parnell]More: Iberdrola buys 900MW wind portfolio as coronavirus investment drive ramps up
IEA: Pandemic likely to push global energy investment down by $400 billion in 2020 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Global energy investment is expected to plunge by around 20% or $400 billion in 2020, its biggest fall on record, because of the new coronavirus outbreak, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday.The Paris-based IEA said this could have serious repercussions for energy security and the transition to clean energy as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.At the start of the year, global energy investment was on track for a 2% increase in 2020, its biggest growth in six years, the IEA said. A total of $1.8 trillion was invested in the sector in 2019.“The historic plunge in global energy investment is deeply troubling for many reasons,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “It means lost jobs and economic opportunities today, as well as lost energy supply that we might well need tomorrow once the economy recovers,” he said, adding that it could hurt the move towards cleaner energies.Global energy companies have cut investments and shelved projects to shore up their finances due to the crisis. The IEA said higher debts after the crisis will pose lasting risks to investments.Investment in oil and gas is expected to fall by almost one-third. The IEA said if investment in oil stays at 2020 levels, it would reduce the level of global supply in 2025 by almost 9 million barrels a day, a clear risk of tighter markets if demand moves back to pre-crisis levels.[Bate Felix]More: Global energy investment expected to tumble 20% in 2020 due to COVID crisis: IEA
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Hurriyet Daily News:The Karapinar Solar Energy Plant, being built on a 20-million-square-meter land in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, has started generating power nearly three years ahead of its completion, according to a company official.“We will complete the construction of this facility in 32 months. Solar panels with a capacity of 1,300 megawatts will be established. The works will be completed by May or June 2023. We will generate 2.6 million kilowatt-hours [kWh] of power annually when it’s completed,” said Kalyon Holding Energy Group executive Murtaza Ata yesterday. “We’re at the largest solar power plant built by an investor on a single parcel of land in the world. This is a sunlight valley,” Ata told Demirören News Agency.So far, 10,200 of the planned 3.5 million solar panels have been installed in the field, according to Ata, who also said that 4 MW of power is being transferred to the national grid after Energy and Natural Resources Ministry officials gave the final approvals last weekend.The amount of power generated will increase gradually as the construction gathers pace with the installation of 104,000 solar panels in a month, he added.The $1 billion Karapınar solar energy facility was constructed by Kalyon Holding in collaboration with China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC).More: Turkey’s giant solar field commences power generation First power from 1.3GW Karapinar solar farm begins flowing into Turkish electric grid
Faye Bush does not consider herself an activist. Although she’s been branded with Erin Brockovich-type celebrity, she insists her work is all about love and care for a local community in environmental peril.In the 1950s Bush helped organize the Newtown Florist Club (NFC), a group of African American housewives who delivered funeral flowers to the bereaved in her hometown of Gainesville, Ga. Over the years, Bush noticed an increase in the number of people dying from similar illnesses, including lupus and cancer. The deaths were clustered in low-income neighborhoods near industrial factories on the south side of Gainesville.Outdoor Hero: Faye BushBush has since turned the NFC into one of the leading environmental justice organizations in the country. Although the soft-spoken great grandmother is an unassuming voice for the marginalized, she has successfully battled corporations and politicians to bring national attention to small towns in America that have been greedily turned toxic. Newtown still sits below the smoggy discharge of more than a dozen industrial facilities—including a dog food processing mill and factories that produce chicken feed and hairspray—and disproportionately high rates of illness still exist. But at 67, Bush has no intention of slowing down the good fight. She called BRO the morning after Barack Obama was elected president of the United States.Are you optimistic about the upcoming political change? We have a better relationship with politicians now than we did when we started. I’ll put it like that. I’m hoping we’ll see a brighter and a better day. People in this community are still dying of cancer, and a lot of people have asthma. We’ve got to keep fighting.You take people on toxic tours of Gainesville. What do the tours include? We visit places where people in our community have died from lupus and cancer, and we talk about the community. We show people how close the houses are to industrial plants on the Southside, and then we take them to the wealthier North side and show them the difference. It’s a completely different environment in the same town. We also give tours to student groups to show them what’s happening here, and we teach them how to test air samples.What’s the biggest accomplishment of the Newtown Florist Club? Four years ago we were able to stop a four-lane highway from coming through the community. We didn’t need any more pollution coming through. We’re already surrounded by it. We were also able to publish a book about the situation here that is being read in a lot of colleges. The Newtown Story: One Community’s Fight for Environmental Justice tells the story of how we learned about the environment and its health effects.What has made you most optimistic about your work of the last six decades? The things we’ve done have opened people’s eyes to environmental problems. Other people have become aware of what we are exposed to and now realize that they are exposed to the same things. Our work has raised a certain consciousness. Others are noticing the same things in their own communities and starting to do something about it.How do you feel about being an activist? An activist must always act from a place of love. When we started this organization, we would go in and bathe sick people. We did it out of love and the closeness that we have in this community. We just needed to help people, and that’s what it’s still about.
Big rain equals big water.I am a slave to the elements.As I write this, a powerful storm is rolling into the Southeast, soaking everything in its path. This translates to an early Christmas for every kayaker in the Blue Ridge, and I am no exception. The feeling of those first raindrops hitting the roof is something very special. They resonate into my gut and bring to the forefront my apprehensions of what the next day may hold. Toxaway? Raven Fork? One of the monster plateau waterfalls?During storms like these, you pick your poison, rally a couple of your best buds, and scare the living shit out of yourself! Good decisions should always prevail, but when mother nature provides the water, you’ve got to take advantage.This dependence on nature is something that separates us from a large majority of the world. My friends joke about me being the only person that they know who has an ear-to-ear grin on rainy days. It’s totally true… my heart rate skyrockets as water pours from the sky and builds power as it funnels into perpetually larger and larger channels.I know that I am not alone in these sentiments. That same visible joy overtakes skiers and snowboarders as the skies turn grey and the first fat flakes of powder fall silently on the cars. Surfers watch webcams to gauge the direction, size and frequency of incoming swells from a distant hurricane, and sailors know exactly how different wind directions and speeds will interact with their local waters to create the perfect breeze. We all share this beautiful dependence on nature, and it connects us in some deeper way to our planet.This video segment from the ski movie In Deep represents these emotions perfectly, and it’s always been one of my favorites.As for the impending flood, I wouldn’t trade this feeling that I have right now for anything. While I hesitate to divulge my plans, there is a long-time goal of mine in discussion for tomorrow. I may achieve it, I may not, but my energy level is redlined.We have all been given a gift this week. Time to go enjoy it.
Asheville, North Carolina will be one of just three American cities, and the only city on the East Coast, to host a prestigious European cycling event next Spring.The three-day event, known as Haute Route, will begin and end in downtown Asheville each day and feature 300 riders from the United States and Europe. It is expected to have more than $1 million of economic impact in the region and solidify western North Carolina as a world-class cycling destination.Asheville skyline. Photo by Dusty AllisonSan Francisco, California and Cedar City, Utah were also chosen to host next year’s series, which is a shorter format version of the typical 7-day Haute Route series.“I think it will be great for the area. The cycling here is unbelievable, and I’m excited we’ll get to showcase that for Asheville,” former Haute Route champion and Brevard, North Carolina resident Matthew Busche told the Asheville Citizen Times.“The Haute Route is all about pushing your limits, so they’ll definitely make it hard. You really can’t ride easy around here anywhere.”Learn more about the 3-day Asheville Haute Route here.