first_imgSolar Energy Possibilities Begin to Take Root in Puerto Rico FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享InsideClimate News:On average, power plants on the island are about 44 years old, and most are run by the main utility company, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), which filed for bankruptcy this year and is $9 billion in debt.Because Puerto Rico has to start from scratch, it has an opportunity to solve many of its long-term energy problems and shift to a cleaner energy source that is dropping in price, said Cathy Kunkel, of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.“Microgrids are pretty key to build in sustainable way that’s more resilient going forward,” she said.The cost of renewables is comparable to the prices customers already paid for electricity, and a new, decentralized grid would be more conducive to integrating distributed energy, Kunkel said. That could help raise the island’s renewable energy portfolio, which is currently only at 2 percent, and make it more resilient to future storms.The interest from private companies is already there. Solar companies like Sonnen and Sunrun are partnering with local nonprofits to provide battery and solar supplies. Tesla has been among the most ambitious with its efforts: in late September, Bloomberg reported the company was shipping hundreds of Powerwalls―its home batteries that can store energy from rooftop solar―to the island. Musk has been in talks with Gov. Ricardo Rossello to scale up the effort by sending Powerpacks―giant battery packages equal to 16 Powerwall batteries―to bring hospitals and city centers back online.That battery technology “could be used effectively to restore electricity to rural and isolated communities first, where they could provide electricity well ahead of when grid rebuilding efforts are likely to reach those communities,” said Clark Miller, associate director of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University, which partners with the University of Puerto Rico’s National Institute of Energy and Sustainability.The new microgrids could work in tandem with the fossil fuel-powered centralized electricity grid, particularly in future storms like Maria, energy experts say.“These can provide individual pockets of power that would be hugely supportive to emergency relief and communications, to light and power tools for rebuilding, for the cleaning and distribution of water next time,” said Roy Torbert, principal on the Islands Energy Program at the Rocky Mountain Institute.More: Puerto Rico’s Solar Future Takes Shape at Children’s Hospital, with Tesla Batterieslast_img read more

first_imgAnother Questionable Grid-Rebuild Contract in Puerto Rico FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Intercept:National Outrage has led to the cancellation of a suspicious $300 million contract doled out to a tiny Montana company that was oddly tasked with rebuilding large parts of Puerto Rico’s electric grid. A separate $200 million contract has faced little scrutiny, but may ultimately be even more scandalous for what it says about the effort to rebuild the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.The deal was inked with a company called Cobra Acquisitions LLC, which didn’t even exist until this year. It’s a subsidiary of an Oklahoma-based fossil fuel company, suggesting that neither the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority nor the federal government has much interest in seizing the opportunity presented by the storm to rebuild Puerto Rico in a sustainable way that relies on renewable energy rather than imported oil.Unlike the Whitefish contract, the Cobra deal with PREPA involved heavy input from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which — according to a recent conference call convened by Mammoth Energy Services — was “in the room” and there “every step of the way” as it was being meted out so as to be in line with the agency’s reimbursement requirements. (Neither FEMA nor PREPA representatives have responded to The Intercept’s multiple requests for comment.)“We expect this to be a credit to our corporate margin,” an unidentified Mammoth executive (likely Chief Financial Officer Mark Layton) said on the conference call. “Quite honestly, we wouldn’t have entered this contract if we didn’t think we’d get paid.”“The Cobra contract is less flashy and less obviously crazy,” Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told The Intercept. “But together with [the Whitefish contract] shows the nexus of PREPA with oil and gas interests — the kind of companies that are go-to companies for PREPA.”Mammoth, Cobra’s parent firm, is primarily an oilfield services company, with several smaller subsidiaries selling a range of support offerings to fracking and other fossil fuel extraction operations. HBC Investments, one of Whitefish’s major financiers, owns several fossil fuel holdings. PREPA itself, like most island energy systems, is also inordinately dependent on imported oil, generating 47.4 percent of its power from that source alone.PREPA is currently $9 billion in debt and gives more than $1 billion a year to off-island oil and gas companies. Yet even as the utility’s leadership has acknowledged that its fiscal sustainability relies on a transition away from oil, its plan has been to transition not to distributed renewables — which are more resilient to storms — but to centralized natural gas. In 2010, Puerto Rico’s legislature set out a plan to get a full 12 percent of energy from renewables by 2015. As of 2015, just 3.3 percent of its power was derived from clean energy. Nearly a third of the island’s generating capacity, meanwhile, came from natural gas, and PREPA’s plan for 2035 includes the construction of a $400 million liquid natural gas import terminal. Currently, all signs point to PREPA rebuilding its energy system back to the pre-storm status quo — or worse.Alongside FEMA, Mammoth negotiated a $15 million payment from PREPA upfront and will be paid biweekly. The initial contract is for 120 days of work, though Mammoth stated repeatedly on the conference call that they expect that to be extended. “We hope,” Straehla said, “this leads to additional work in rebuilding the infrastructure after the emergency situation.”According to a presentation about its PREPA contract, Cobra-employed workers will in the short-term be tasked with providing a “comprehensive damage assessment of existing electrical grid”, “engineering services to aid in the design of a new electric utility grid to PREPA specifications,” “construction services to rebuild the electric grid,” as well as housing, food, and water for all of its employees and contractors so as not to create “an additional strain on the local population.”The stated expertise and experience may be a bit misleading. By phone, Wilson clarified to The Intercept that it was four top managers of Cobra that together hold an average of 25 years of experience in the utility sector, though he was unable to provide more information as to those executives’ names, which companies or utilities they had worked for, or the specific nature of their utility experience. While he and executives on the call said Cobra had been involved in grid restoration work following hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the company currently has no ongoing storm-related contracts outside of Puerto Rico. Wilson and executives on the call also each emphasized that Cobra has a history of working with private, investor-owned utilities (Cobra’s “main customers,” according to Straehla), but provided no details as to which IOUs Cobra has worked with.Beyond the specifics of either the Whitefish or Cobra Acquisitions contract is a larger one about why PREPA entered into any agreements at all with private contractors post-Maria. The standard procedure for near-term disaster response is for utilities to enter into mutual aid agreements with their counterparts in other states, facilitated by the American Public Power Association. Puerto Rico is entitled to these type of agreements, and — with the Whitefish contract severed — will now begin receiving such aid from utilities in Florida and New York.In all likelihood, Cobra Acquisitions’ management probably has more experience getting utilities back online than their counterparts at Whitefish Energy. The issues surrounding its contract, though, reflect broader problems plaguing PREPA: a startling lack of transparency, costly mismanagement, and an abiding fondness for the fossil fuel industry — all compounded by crippling debt and a catastrophic storm. The fiscal oversight board and others on the island see the solution to these problems as privatization. Late last week, that federally appointed body — now in charge of the island’s finances and government — cited PREPA’s pursuance of the Whitefish contract as rationale for wanting to install a Flint-style emergency manager to oversee the utility, a move many expect will pave the way for selling it off to the highest bidders.More: There’s a Shady Puerto Rico Contract You Didn’t Hear Aboutlast_img read more

first_imgGermany’s electricity production was 65% renewable energy last week FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Germany has a target of reaching 65 per cent renewable energy for its electricity network by 2040, but it is already capable of reaching such levels for shorter periods of time, as illustrated last week.For “week 10” of 2019, the week finishing on March 10 (Sunday), Germany sourced 64.8 per cent of its electricity generation from renewables. The bulk came from wind (48.4 per cent), with solar contributing 5.1 per cent, biomass 7.6 per cent and hydro 3.5 per cent.Throw in nuclear, and the share of zero emissions electricity sources reached 77.7 per cent for the whole week, in the biggest economy in Europe and one of the biggest in the world.Germany leads the world in the transition to renewables, although it faces stiff competition from the likes of Denmark, California, Hawaii, and the state of South Australia. What makes Germany exceptional, however, is the sheer size of its grid, its dependence on an industrial economy, and its comparatively lousy wind and solar resources, which are vastly inferior to South Australia, for instance.Germany has a 35 per cent renewable energy target for 2020 but has already exceeded that. In 2018, it generated 40 per cent from renewables and so far this year it has sourced 43 per cent of its gross electricity production from renewables.More: Germany sources 65% of electricity production from renewables in last weeklast_img read more

first_imgChanges in South Korea undercut rationale for new Australian coal mine FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Newcastle Herald:For nearly a decade a South Korean Government-owned company has bought up land in the beautiful Bylong valley between Denman and Mudgee to establish a coal mine.KEPCO, which is 51 per cent owned by the government, identified Bylong as the place to mine high quality coal to export to South Korea and keep its coal-fired power stations delivering electricity to the domestic market.When it first scoped the project the world’s governments were not responding to increasingly alarming reports about the impacts of climate change, and the Hunter was riding a coal mining boom. A lot has changed since then. The Paris Agreement has committed the Australian Government to keeping global carbon emissions below 2 degrees Celsius. The mining boom has ended. Financial institutions and major corporations are turning their backs on coal for good and the cost of renewable energy is pricing coal out of electricity generation.Of more significance to the Bylong project is the election of a progressive South Korean Government in 2017 which pledged to address the twin issues of serious air pollution and carbon emissions by shifting away from coal-fired power generation and towards renewables. In the past few weeks the government has made the strongest signals yet about ramping up the reforms by adding new taxes on imported thermal coal and releasing a draft energy policy that significantly increases the shift to renewables.While KEPCO has argued the government moves do not impact the Bylong mine, it is hard to be optimistic about any new coal venture with a 25-year time frame.A new Australian Government report has warned of rough times ahead for coal, which rode out 2018 on an unexpected rally as China increased imports. While some analysts, including the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, warned that would be short-lived, coal backers welcomed a new dawn.More: Coal shifts in South Korea and China could mean big changes for the regionlast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Asian Power:A tender launched by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to set up 1.2GW of interstate transmission (ISTS) connected solar photovoltaic (PV) projects across the country was oversubscribed by 900MW, a report by Mercom India revealed.According to a SECI official, bids totalling 2.1GW were submitted, against the tendered capacity of 1.2GW. Azure Power, SB Energy, Ayana Renewables, ReNew Power and UPC Solar reportedly bid for 300MW each, whilst Mahindra bid for 250MW and Avaada bid to set up 350MW of grid-connected solar PV projects, a market source was quoted.The tender was launched in February 2019 under tranche-IV with a tariff ceiling capped at approximately $0.038 (INR2.65)/kWh.The country is at risk of falling short of its 175GW renewable energy target due to its sluggish solar installations. Data from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) showed that whilst India has installed a total of 28GW of solar capacity, representing a fourfold increase in less than three years, it has only achieved 10% of its 40GW rooftop solar target.SECI had also issued two other tenders for the development of solar PV power projects totalling 1.4GW in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. In March, it also said it would soon launch another tender for 1GW of solar PV capacity that will be developed in the states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, and Assam with a ceiling tariff fixed at $0.042/kWh.More: SECI’s 1.2GW solar tender oversubscribed India gets strong response for latest solar tenderlast_img read more

first_imgMoody’s downgrades U.S. coal sector, expects ‘substantial’ decline in demand FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:Moody’s Investors Service on Wednesday downgraded the North American coal sector to a “negative” outlook, citing an expected 3% decline in earnings in the second half of 2019 and a slide in profitability over the next year to 18 months.The ratings firm pointed to a “substantive decrease in export prices” for thermal coal, particularly in Europe, combined with a likely struggle for producers to find buyers in 2020. The downgrade is a shift from July, when Moody’s said the outlook remained “stable” despite declines in coal-fired generation. The firm predicted at the time coal-fired power could decline to just 11% of the United States’ electricity by 2030.Coal generated more than a quarter of the United States’ electricity last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but the fuel is in rapid decline. “A confluence of economic, environmental and social factors also increase our concerns about the industry’s longer-term demand prospects, as pressure on the industry is mounting,” Moody’s said in its note. That will make “numerous coal mines uneconomic in a reduced demand environment, especially smaller, higher cost mines that are highly vulnerable to retirement of specific coal-fired power plants.”Moody’s said its long-term outlook for U.S. thermal coal “calls for a substantial volume reduction over the next decade driven by utilities switching to natural gas and renewable energy.”Just a decade ago, coal made up about half of the United States’ electric generation. In April, EIA announced renewable energy resources, including hydroelectricity, were on pace to generate more electricity than coal-fired plants for the month. That was a first, according to the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis. While there were seasonal factors at play, the group said it represented “signs of a tipping point” in the country’s generation mix.More: Coal sector outlook drops from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’: Moody’slast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Polish energy group Enea SA said on Tuesday it will install up to 30 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity for a local coal mine in which it is a majority shareholder.The solar power plants will generate electricity for the Bogdanka coal mine in the Lublin region of southeastern Poland, with their output to be sold under a power purchase agreement (PPA). Once up and running, the installations will be able to produce around 30,000 MWh of electricity annually. They will cover a total area of 55ha (136 acres).Enea is the majority shareholder in Lubelski Wegiel Bogdanka. Its CEO Miroslaw Kowalik said in a news conference a week ago that the utility will look to keep the size of its installed power capacity but will rather bet on more renewables. According to a Reuters report, the state-run company owns 6.3 GW of power generation assets, of which 443 MW use renewable energy.More: Enea to power Polish coal mine with 30 MW of solar PV Polish energy company Enea to run Bogdanka coal mine with solar powerlast_img read more

first_imgWood Mackenzie: Global solar installations to hit 115GW in 2020 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:In its latest quarterly market outlook, WoodMac forecasts that total solar installs will increase by 5% year-on-year to reach 115GWdc, driven primarily by a surge in activity within the Chinese market in the second half of the year.WoodMac forecasts that 39GWdc of solar is expected to be installed in China throughout 2020, an increase of 30% year-on-year, with more than two-thirds of that (27GWdc) installed in the second half of the year.Such a figure is broadly in line with other projections of the Chinese market for 2020 – IHS analysts revised their 2020 projections downwards from 45GW to 40-41GW, while the China Photovoltaic Industry Association’s neutral estimate forecasts 40GW to be installed – and comes despite short-term supply chain disruption and module pricing turbulence affecting some developers.Germany, too, looks set to record its best year for solar installs in eight years, with installations set to reach 4.5GW for the year, aided by the removal of a 52GW cap on feed-in tariff accreditations for new solar installs.The same cannot, however, be said in India, which continues to witness disruption caused by the pandemic. Wood Mac expects India to see a 42% slide in solar installs – coming in at just 4.9GW – despite the Indian government’s best intentions to help stimulate further deployment. Without additional policy enforcement, WoodMac has said India’s target of having a 100GW solar generation capacity by 2022 is unlikely to be met.And solar installations look certain to continue grow in the years ahead, setting new records in nearly every consecutive year out to 2025. The one exception will be in 2024, when the end of the investment tax credit in the US will dampen market appetite. By 2025, as much as 145GW of solar is expected to be installed every year.[Liam Stoker]More: Solar installs to reach 115GWdc in 2020 as robust recovery continues: WoodMaclast_img read more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Nikkei Asia:Toshiba will stop taking orders for coal-fired power plants in line with growing global trends toward reducing carbon emissions, Nikkei learned on Tuesday, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledges to reduce Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.Shifting its priority in the energy business to renewables, Toshiba will increase investment in them fivefold to 160 billion yen ($1.52 billion) by fiscal 2022.Toshiba holds 11% of the global thermal-power generation market, excluding China. This includes building power plants, producing steam turbines and providing maintenance. While the company will stop accepting new orders for coal-burning plants, it will build 10 stations under existing orders in Japan, Vietnam and other countries.Toshiba chalked up nearly 3.4 trillion yen in consolidated sales in fiscal 2019 ended March. Sales related to construction of thermal and hydraulic power plants totaled 223 billion yen, or about 40% of the global energy sector. Although the company will continue producing turbines mainly for replacements, it will drastically reduce sales in its thermal-power generation business.Toshiba will boost investment in research and development of offshore wind power and next-generation photovoltaic cells. It also hopes to expand its renewable energy business to 650 billion yen by 2030, from 190 billion in 2019.Earlier this month, Toshiba decided to enter the “virtual power plant” business, buying electricity from renewable-energy power plants across Japan for resale to local power companies.More: Toshiba stops taking orders for coal-fired power plants Toshiba says it will not take new orders for coal-fired power plantslast_img read more

first_imgThe Tallulah River near Clayton, Georgia is a classic in the Southeast paddling scene. This river is an excellent one for many reasons… proximity to Atlanta and Greenville, easy access via a massive metal staircase, five weekends a year of predictable flows released by the dam, beautiful class IV-V whitewater, and now a great festival during the spring releases.I was fortunate to get down to the Tallulah last weekend for two days of paddling and one night of… err festivaling.  It was awesome.  I saw so many faces that I haven’t been able to catch up with through the winter, and the weather and water could not have been better.For those of you who are not familiar with the Tallulah, its marquee feature is a rapid by the name of Oceana.  It is a beast of a rapid, dropping 50 feet down a giant slide, with the majority of the water piling against a rock shelf to create a phenomenon affectionately referred to as “The Thing.”  This shelf explodes whitewater 15 feet into the air, and reminds any prospective paddler that this is not a rapid to be trifled with.  Hitting The Thing would almost certainly result in leg and ankle injury, and there have historically been two lines: one down the center, and one down the far left.Last fall, Pat Keller pioneered a new line from left to right, crossing right in front of The Thing, and skipping into the built-up pool above it like a jet ski.  Check out Pat’s line here: ProLines from Isaac Levinson on Vimeo.This line was on my mind for a few weeks before the Tallulah release, but as many kayakers know, just because Pat can do something does not mean that you can.  Upon reaching that rapid, I scoped out the line for the better part of an hour before finally deciding that I was ready to go for it.  Fortunately for me, there happened to be a 50+ person peanut gallery to witness the carnage should I come up short and crash into The Thing!I came out of the eddy with my hair on fire and drove hard right over the first exploding wave.  From that point onward, I was running by feel, not able to see anything at all.  I felt my boat gain speed at an alarming rate, and took a stroke when I thought I would be hitting the dangerous lateral that could throw you off line.  Fortunately the timing worked, and before I knew it, my Dagger Nomad was skipping safely through the eddy to the right of The Thing, and flying off the last part of the drop in the center of the river.As I landed, I smiled and looked around in celebration, but was immediately slapped back into the safe but powerful hole at the bottom, and beaten for a good 20 seconds!The river will never cease to humble you, even in your most confident moments.  That line made my day, and I bombed down the rest of the river, across the lake, and jogged back up to my car at the putin still riding that buzz.I love kayaking.last_img read more