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Archive for June, 2017

Louisiana regulators approve 994 MW, combined-cycle power plant

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The natural gas-fired plant will cost about $872 million to build, including transmission and other project-related costs and contingency, the company said

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/generation-rss/~3/LdeZ2XRYr1U/louisiana-regulators-approve-994-mw-combined-cycle-power-plant.html

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - June 30, 2017 at 6:10 am

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Mississippi Power suspending coal gasification efforts at Kemper power plant

Numerous reports Wednesday evening indicated that the utility is immediately suspending those operations

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/generation-rss/~3/lC3_WP9Muwg/mississippi-power-suspending-coal-gasification-efforts-at-kemper-plant.html

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These NASA Images Show Siberia Burning Up

Siberian wildfire season is off and running with multiple blazes searing the boreal forest and tundra. It’s the latest example of the vast shifts happening to the forests that cover Siberia and the rest of the northern tier of the world as climate change alters the landscape.

Those forests are burning at a rate unheard of in at least 10,000 years due largely to rising temperatures. They contain vast reserves of carbon stored in trees and soil and when they burn, they send that carbon into the atmosphere. That creates a dangerous cycle of more severe wildfires and ever rising temperatures.

A satellite image captured on June 23, 2017 shows the extent of wildfires burning across Siberia.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

The current constellation of conflagrations had burned through roughly 133,000 acres to the west of Lake Baikal in southern Siberia as of last week. Strong winds have sent smoke spiraling hundreds of miles northeast, impacting air quality across the region.

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NASA’s satellites captured the scene on Friday from a few different vantage points. The Aqua satellite captured the extent of the thick plumes of smoke and fires dotting the region while the Suomi NPP satellite was able to analyze the air quality. Both show the stunning breadth of impacts wildfires can have. The Suomi NPP measurements in particular show that the aerosol index — a measure of air quality — hit 19, a mark that denotes very dense smoke.

According to NASA Earth Observatory, scientists are also investigating signs that the fires were burning so intensely, they altered the local weather. There’s evidence pyrocumulus clouds formed, a phenomenon that occurs when wildfires burn so hot that they cause localized convection that eventually forms clouds.

The region where fires are burning has been a hot spot on the global temperature map. Since November, temperatures have been up to 7°F above average with some months far exceeding that mark. Climate change has been driving up temperatures around the world, but the northern tier of the planet has seen temperatures rise twice as fast.

Temperatures in Siberia were up 7.2°F above normal from November 2016-April 2017.
Credit: NASA

The extra heat has caused a string of severe wildfire seasons not just in Siberia, but in other stretches of the boreal forest that also covers Canada and Alaska. Last year, a massive blaze overran Fort McMurray, Alberta and became the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history. The year prior, Alaska had an explosive early start to its wildfire season. This is the third year in a row massive fires have lit up Siberia.

These individual events are part of a new reality that the boreal forest is burning at a rate unprecedented in modern history. Large fires in Alaska are twice as common as they were 75 years ago, according to Climate Central’s own research. That same report found that Alaskan wildfire season is 40 percent longer as well. Similar changes have been observed in Canada as well.

Climate change is expected to continue driving conditions that make destructive fires more common in boreal forests. That will reshape some of the most unique ecosystems on earth and the climate system itself. Boreal forests store about 30 percent of the world’s carbon. When they burn, they put that carbon in the atmosphere, increasing the impacts of climate change and creating a vicious cycle that will likely lead to more fires.

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source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ClimateCentral-News/~3/WSGquJncXtY/nasa-siberia-wildfires-21576

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - June 29, 2017 at 6:50 am

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States Betting on Giant Batteries to Cut Carbon

Some states and electric power companies are rolling out a new weapon against fossil fuels — giant batteries.

A growing number of states are requiring large batteries to be used to store electricity to help expand wind and solar power. The trend is catching on quickly as at least three states have created energy storage targets or incentives so far this year.

A Portland General Electric energy storage system.
Credit: PGE/flickr

Lawmakers in New York passed a bill last week requiring the state to create an energy storage target. Nevada passed a bill incentivizing energy storage in May, and Maryland passed an energy storage tax credit in April. Those measures follow California, Oregon, and Massachusetts, which have mandates for electricity storage in batteries.

Electric power plants have historically been America’s largest source of carbon pollution contributing to climate change. Today, electric power plants that run on both coal and natural gas emit large volumes of carbon dioxide — the primary cause of global warming.

But as more wind farms and solar power plants are built to help reduce climate pollution, electric power companies encounter one of the fundamental challenges with renewables: The flow of electricity from wind and solar farms isn’t steady — it fluctuates as the wind blows and the sun sets. Sometimes excess energy they produce goes to waste.

“We only produce solar electricity when the sun shines. We consume energy 24/7. We need to have means of supplying the electricity to consumers 24 hours a day. That’s one of the basic roles of energy storage,” said Janet Joseph, vice president of innovation and strategy for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Batteries help solve that problem.

If batteries are used to capture renewable power as it is generated, electric companies can use that stored electricity when it is needed the most, usually during the day when air conditioners are blasting and businesses have all their lights on. Today, electric power used for those high demand times comes from power plants running on natural gas.

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The batteries that electric power companies use are huge. The Tesla PowerPack, for example, is composed of 16 pods that together weigh more than 3 tons and are 7 feet tall. The pods are daisy-chained together and provide hundreds of kilowatts of power.

New York officials say batteries are critical to the state’s goal of generating half of its electricity from renewables by 2030. As more states create energy storage incentives and targets, more power plants using fossil fuels are likely to be eventually replaced or supplemented with batteries, helping to cut the amount of time the power plants are used.

Jeremy Firestone, director of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration at the University of Delaware, said mandates and incentives for energy storage in some of the most populous states will help reduce climate pollution and drive innovation. They will also help to lower energy storage costs as batteries are adopted more widely, just as costs for wind and solar installations have fallen as more have been built, he said.

“While climate is a ‘state’ goal, by leading the way and reducing the cost of storage, these states will facilitate the implementation of storage in other states and countries, leading to further climate benefits,” Firestone said.

Big companies are getting in the utility-scale solar game, including electric automaker Tesla. The company is producing large batteries that allow individual homes to store solar energy they’ve produced. Tesla is also building major utility-scale battery storage projects for electric companies in Hawaii, Connecticut and California.

Tesla partnered with Southern California Edison, a Los Angeles-area electric power company, to complete an energy storage facility in January large enough to supply electricity to 15,000 homes for four hours during times of highest electric power demand.

 An Avista energy storage battery in Washington State.
Credit: Jay Inslee/flickr

The project was built in response to the massive 2015 Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility leak, which jeopardized the supply of natural gas to electric power plants. The state required utilities to find other ways of generating power during gas supply disruptions.

“The idea was to have non-natural gas (electricity) generation in Southern California,” giving the company greater flexibility to generate electricity and prevent power disruption, said Vibhu Kaushik, manager for generation strategy at Southern California Edison.

The company also uses batteries to supplement energy from some natural gas power plants at times of peak electricity demand. The batteries have allowed the plants to reduce the time they operate by about half, cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent, Kaushik said.

In Arizona, which has no energy storage mandate, Arizona Public Service is conducting a test of energy storage used in both homes and at electric substations that will help the utility cope with the irregular flow of electricity from rooftop and utility-scale solar plants.

Arizona Public Service spokeswoman Annie Degraw said batteries help supplement the flow of power from a rooftop solar panel when a cloud blocks the sun, resulting in the panel producing less electricity for a few minutes.

The company is paying homeowners participating in the program a $30 monthly credit for 20 years to help test batteries connected to the power grid, Degraw said.

Many in the industry see a future when renewables and battery storage provide most of the electricity on America’s electric power grid. John Zahurancik, president of Virginia-based AES Energy Storage, which has built energy storage projects in several states, said that the company envisions a time in the near future when energy storage could account for at least 10 or 20 percent of America’s electric generating capacity.

Costs for the lithium-ion batteries used in energy storage projects have fallen by half in the past five years, already making them competitive with the cost of natural gas power plants today, he said.

“We have systems available today that are proving to be cost effective,” Zahurancik said. “We’re already starting to see batteries replace fossil fuel power plants.”

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source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ClimateCentral-News/~3/XTq9GSXvbJQ/states-batteries-cut-carbon-21573

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:45 am

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Toolkit Aims to Boost Energy Efficiency Finance

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Financial institutions should be interested in deploying capital into energy efficiency as it brings the advantages of business opportunities, risk reduction, corporate social responsibility and reduced regulatory pressure. These are some of arguments made in the EEFIG Underwriting Toolkit, recently launched by the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) and the UN Environment Finance Initiative.

source: https://cleanenergysolutions.org/news/toolkit-aims-boost-energy-efficiency-finance

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:35 am

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Trump admin cuts Obama-era water pollution protections

The 2015 regulation sought to settle a debate over which waterways are covered under the Clean Water Act

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/generation-rss/~3/DfpURb0Wes0/trump-admin-cuts-obama-era-water-pollution-protections.html

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:25 am

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Customer support for electric utilities is based on trust

This annual study highlights a statistical relationship between brand trust and rate support, and shows customers expect utilities to expand support for new offerings and community outreach as a result of rate increases

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/generation-rss/~3/sQrhNYP_Aac/customer-support-for-electric-utilities-is-based-on-trust.html

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Navajo council approves lease extension for Arizona coal power plant

The lease for the 1970s-era plant is set to expire in two years

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/generation-rss/~3/freWF5vDQRk/navajo-council-approves-lease-extension-for-arizona-coal-power-plant.html

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:10 am

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Environmentalists challenge TVA small modular nuclear reactor plan

NRC is reviewing the application to determine if the site works for two or more reactors  

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/generation-rss/~3/zCv7dwjMrRs/environmentalists-challenge-tva-small-modular-nuclear-reactor-plan.html

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:05 am

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Trump says US on brink of become net exporter of energy

With U.S. exports of oil and natural gas surging, President Donald Trump says the U.S. is on the brink of becoming a net exporter of oil, natural gas and other resources

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/generation-rss/~3/WxVz_TV2G8w/trump-says-us-on-brink-of-become-net-exporter-of-energy.html

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