2015-08-06 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, July 30:

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

Friday, July 31:

  • The losses are continuing to mount as more coal companies report their second quarter earnings. Cloud Peak Energy announced a $53 million loss for the quarter Wednesday, and Arch Coal reported a $168 million dollar loss Thursday, following a $1 billion loss Peabody Energy reported Monday. The losses result largely from competition from natural gas and renewables. [Wyoming Public Media]
  • There is an assumption that when a supply-demand imbalance incident happens, there will be an automatic response within 5-6 seconds from conventional (gas, coal, hydro) generators to stabilize the power supply. This has been an important talking point in an argument against having too much renewable power. But the assumption turns out to be simply wrong. [CleanTechnica]
  • Europe’s offshore wind industry has shattered previous installation records in the first half of 2015, installing 2,342.9 MW of electricity generation capacity, triple the same time last year. Installations for the first half of 2015 had reached 2,342.9 MW, tripling the grid-connected capacity of the same period in 2014 and bringing Europe’s operating capacity up to 10,393.6 MW. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, August 1:

  • A Maine company that’s developing tidal power and river power systems says it’s successfully connected one of its units to the power grid in an Alaskan village. Ocean Renewable Power Company says its 25-kW RivGen Power System has been successfully deployed in the remote river village of Igiugig. This is to reduce the village’s reliance diesel-powered generators. [PennEnergy]

ORPC's RivGen Power System in Igiugig before being submerged for operation

  • Dr James L Powell, director of the National Physical Sciences Consortium, examined titles and abstracts of more than 24,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles on climate change published during the past couple of years. He identified 69,406 authors named in the articles. Only four of them rejected the fact that human emissions cause climate change. [CleanTechnica]
  • A report from the University of Georgia says states can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by combining of renewable energy sources and energy-saving strategies. Complying with the Clean Power Plan would also produce substantial collateral benefits such as lower electricity bills, greater GDP growth, and significant reductions in SO2, NOx, and mercury emissions. [CleanTechnica]
  • In an unprecedented show of business support for tackling climate change, 365 companies and investor groups sent letters today to more than two dozen governors across the United States voicing their support for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan for existing power plants and encouraging the state’s “timely finalization” of state implementation plans to meet the new standards. [Sustainable Brands]

Sunday, August 2:

  • Purpose Energy is a company on a mission: “Changing the world, one beer at a time.” Eric Fitch, co-founder and CEO of Purpose Energy, has made a breakthrough in waste remediation, renewable energy, and beer brewing. The company’s patented “tribrid bioreactor,”installed at Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington, Vermont, has changed the game. [Wicked Local Woburn]
  • One opportunity for the governor of California to meet his goal for renewable energy is to partner with other Western states to coordinate of electricity systems across the West. According to a study by the California ISO, a functional Western grid using the state’s renewable requirement could lower pollution levels by nearly 2.6 million metric tons annually. [Sacramento Bee]
  • Plant Vogtle’s proposed nuclear expansion with new units 3 and 4 will cost an estimated $65 billion, former Georgia Public Service Commissioner Bobbie Baker says, based on his analysis of information he received when cross-examining the PSC staff witness at the June 23, 2015 PSC hearing. The hearing was for the 12th Vogtle Construction Monitoring Review. [Atlanta Progressive News]

Monday, August 3:

  • The Obama administration unveiled its Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at a large reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The President will next begin selling it to the public at a White House event. The Clean Power Plan is the final version of EPA regulations, which President Barak Obama called “the biggest most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.” [CNN]
  • The wind and solar industries cheered while coal companies vowed to kill President Barack Obama’s new limits on climate-change pollution as details of the historic regulations emerged on Sunday. The rules include tougher limits on carbon emissions and more incentives for renewable energy than expected. That may also mean fewer benefits for natural gas. [theday.com]
  • In an opinion piece, the most recent head of the National Australia Bank made revelations about the backlash from government to business that dared speak out in support of sensible climate change and renewable energy policies. Cameron Clyne lamented the government’s economically reckless policies, “willful ignorance,” and retribution to those who did speak out. [RenewEconomy]

Tuesday, August 4:

  • “EPA’s carbon rules are catching up with the market” The President rolled out Monday the much-anticipated centerpiece to his climate change plan. It envisions an overhaul in power plants, what they burn, and the broader electricity system. It’s ambitious. But to people in and around the power sector, this revolution is already well underway. Not because of the EPA, but the market. [WBFO]
  • The Obama administration has unveiled its clean power plan. The first-of-their-kind limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants will require slightly tougher cuts than the original proposal. The EPA is calling for a 32% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants below 2005 levels by 2030. That is up from the 30% target as part of last year’s proposal. [OilPrice.com]
  • The Obama administration unveiled the final version of its Clean Power Plan on Monday, establishing for the first time federal limits on carbon emissions for the nation’s power plants, but apparently through the embrace of renewables, solar and wind power, rather than natural gas. Coal, of course, took the greatest beating. But supporters of natural gas power also were not happy. [Natural Gas Intelligence]

Wednesday, August 5:

  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently released data showing that the capacity factor for wind power can reach 65%, which is close to that of fossil fuel based generation. NREL’s new report suggests wind could become a dominant and possibly the primary source of electricity in the US because it implies reduced need for storage and peaking power. [CleanTechnica]
  • One of the largest tech companies in the US soon will power its five Texas data centers with 100% renewable energy. Hewlett-Packard recently announced a 12-year contract to buy 112 MW of wind power from a SunEdison wind farm in Texas. The purchase means HP will reach its 2020 operational greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal five years ahead of schedule. [GreenBiz]
  • Alpha Natural Resources, once a powerhouse of American coal industry, filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 to get relief from a $3 billion debt, particularly with utilities switching to natural gas and coal prices moving south. It had borrowed heavily to acquire assets it hoped would increase in value as China’s coal use continued to grow, a strategy that failed. [The Market Business]
  • Ameren Missouri has dropped plans to build a second nuclear unit at its Callaway Energy Center, citing shaky economics in the context of cheaper renewables, low demand, and other factors for its decision. During an earnings call, the CEO said the company is moving to a “cleaner, more diverse generation portfolio,” such as a new 13-MW solar facility west of St. Louis. [POWER magazine]



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