Month: December 2020

Renewables Investments More Than Double Those in Coal and Gas

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Matt McGrath for the BBC:New solar, wind and hydropower sources were added in 2015 at the fastest rate the world has yet seen, a study says. Investments in renewables during the year were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants, the Renewables Global Status Report found.For the first time, emerging economies spent more than the rich on renewable power and fuels.Over 8 million people are now working in renewable energy worldwide. For a number of years, the global spend on renewables has been increasing and 2015 saw that arrive at a new peak according to the report.About 147 gigawatts (GW) of capacity was added in 2015, roughly equivalent to Africa’s generating capacity from all sources. China, the US, Japan, UK and India were the countries adding on the largest share of green power, despite the fact that fossil fuel prices have fallen significantly. The costs of renewables have also fallen, say the authors.“The fact that we had 147GW of capacity, mainly of wind and solar is a clear indication that these technologies are cost competitive (with fossil fuels),” said Christine Lins, who is executive secretary of REN21, an international body made up of energy experts, government representatives and NGOs, who produced the report.“They are the preference for many countries and more and more utilities and investors and that is a very positive signal.”Investment in renewables reached $286bn worldwide in 2015.With China accounting for more than one-third of the global total, the developing countries outspent the richer nations on renewables for the first time. When measured against a country’s GDP, the biggest investors were small countries like Mauritania, Honduras, Uruguay and Jamaica.“It clearly shows that the costs have come down so much that the emerging economies are now really focusing on renewables,” said Lins.”They are the ones with the biggest increases in energy demand, and the fact that we had this turning point really shows the business case – and that is really a remarkable development.”Full article: Renewable energy surges to record levels around the world Renewables Investments More Than Double Those in Coal and Gaslast_img read more

Policy Momentum in Illinois Toward Renewable- Energy Uptake

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Midwest Energy News:A recent report highlighting the expansion of the clean-energy workforce in Illinois reflects a broader trend toward a Midwestern power system that is more networked, more decentralized, and more dependent on solar, wind and other renewable energy sources.Nearly 120,000 Illinoisans were working in clean energy in 2016, representing a 4.8 percent increase over the prior year, according to a study released last week.The analysis – which is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data and a survey of thousands – was conducted by Clean Energy Trust (CET), a Chicago-based cleantech accelerator, and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a national group of business leaders that advocates for economic and environmental policies.Recent legislation and private investments suggest that the clean energy workforce in Illinois will continue to grow.Many hope last December’s passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act will spark a boom in renewables, efficiency and smart grid activity in the state. The act requires that at least 4,300 megawatts of new solar and wind power be built in Illinois by 2030. It also provides $750 million for programs that provide training for new energy jobs and for utility-bill subsidies for low-income customers, seniors and disabled veterans.“Illinois is definitely a regional leader,” says Parson. “We expect with the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act that there will be even more growth in the industry. That policy fixes the broken [renewable energy standard] and also is encouraging utilities to do more energy efficiency.”Earlier this year, utility ComEd doled out $30 million to area business associations to “develop training programs related to solar and energy efficiency as a part of the FEJA’s goal to prepare a workforce ready for the future energy industry.” The utility opened a brand-new training facility last year in southwest Chicago, made possible by the state’s 2011 smart grid law.Illinois is also gearing up for the launch of NextGrid, an 18-month consumer-focused study of critical issues facing the state’s electric utility industry in the coming decade and beyond. The Illinois Commerce Commission, a regulatory body, is managing the process, and, in August, it was announced that the Power and Energy System Area of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will be the lead facilitator. A launch event is scheduled for September 28.Smart grid or “advanced grid” jobs make up only a sliver of the Illinois clean economy, the survey found – a mere 1,430 jobs or 1.2 percent of the state’s clean-energy jobs. That figure is up 2.1 percent over the previous year. Over 70 percent of Illinois advanced grid jobs are in energy storage, while the rest are categorized as “smart grid” jobs.The vast majority – 78.4 percent – of Illinois clean-energy jobs are in the energy efficiency sector. “Traditional HVAC” jobs leads this category and Illinois clean-energy jobs overall, with 36,058 jobs. E2 described the category in an email to Midwest Energy News:“Jobs in traditional HVAC include technicians that install energy star appliances and count any portion of their work toward advanced efficiency technologies. We find this category helpful because it gives us a sense of how the industry is changing and how more HVAC workers are doing work in energy efficiency.”More: Advocates expect continued growth in Illinois clean energy jobs Policy Momentum in Illinois Toward Renewable- Energy Uptakelast_img read more

‘Just the Beginning’ as Australia Flips Switch on World’s Largest Electric-Grid Battery

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Tesla Inc switched on the world’s biggest lithium ion battery on Friday in time to feed Australia’s shaky power grid for the first day of summer, meeting a promise by Elon Musk to build it in 100 days or give it free.“South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy,” state Premier Jay Weatherill said at the official launch at the Hornsdale wind farm, owned by private French firm Neoen.Tesla won a bid in July to build the 129-megawatt hour battery for South Australia, which expanded in wind power far quicker than the rest of the country, but has suffered a string of blackouts over the past 18 months.In a politically charged debate, opponents of the state’s renewables push have argued that the battery is a “Hollywood solution” in a country that still relies on fossil fuels, mainly coal, for two-thirds of its electricity.Supporters, however, say it will help stabilize the grid in a state that now gets more than 40 percent of its electricity from wind energy, but needs help when the wind dies down.“Storage can respond within a fraction of a second. It can address those stability issues very quickly without needing to resort to using large power plants,” said Praveen Kathpal, vice president of AES Energy, a losing bidder to build the battery.Highlighting industry hopes for the take-up of battery storage, Tesla CEO Elon Musk visited the site some 225 kms (141 miles) north of the state capital Adelaide in July, hailing the battery as “just the beginning.”Weatherill came under fire last year after the entire state went black following a major storm, and raced to shore up the state’s grid with a A$510 million ($385 million) plan, including ordering the big battery and installing diesel-fueled turbines.AES’s Kathpal, who is also chairman of the U.S. Energy Storage Association, said South Australia’s commitment to turn to energy storage was an important step for the rest of the industry.More: Tesla switches on giant battery to shore up Australia’s grid ‘Just the Beginning’ as Australia Flips Switch on World’s Largest Electric-Grid Batterylast_img read more

Companies see potential in using brownfield sites for new solar generation

first_imgCompanies see potential in using brownfield sites for new solar generation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:For two decades, coal has been pulled from a Bent Mountain mine in eastern Kentucky. But in a startling move in the heart of coal country, a rival — solar — is preparing to move on to the land.From Appalachia in the U.S. to Queensland in Australia and Chernobyl in Ukraine, solar and wind farms are being developed or built in places not normally associated with clean energy, and in some regions long resistant to it.Slapping solar panels atop so-called brownfield sites, land that housed mines, emissions-belching power plants or were tarnished by nuclear disaster, can be cheaper than decontaminating the ground and turning it into parkland. At the same time, there’s the prospect of turning environmental foes into friends.“We’re essentially turning these drains on a community into an asset,” said Chad Farrell, chief executive officer of Encore Renewable Energy, a Vermont-based developer that’s contemplating installing solar arrays at coal-ash ponds across Appalachia. “You’re not going to get a large revenue-generating asset on a former landfill.”Solar is already established within the nuclear zone of Chernobyl, at a massive former coal-fired power plant in Canada, and at landfills and other brownfield sites throughout New England, where renewables are popular but land is at a premium. Meanwhile, BHP Group, the world’s biggest mining company, is working on permits and engineering plans to turn legacy sites in Arizona and New Mexico into solar and storage facilities.Regions long dependent on traditional energy sources for jobs and tax revenue are increasingly turning to solar and wind power, cementing their push into the mainstream at a time when the coal industry is ailing. U.S. power produced from burning coal shrank by 6.3 percent in 2018, as almost 13 gigawatts of coal plants were closed, according to BloombergNEF. That’s second only to 2015 when 15 gigawatts of coal-fired plants were shuttered.More: ‘Land no one else wants’ gets solar as coal, nukes fade awaylast_img read more

New Jersey utility to take $415 million hit to exit coal generating business

first_imgNew Jersey utility to take $415 million hit to exit coal generating business FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., the owner of New Jersey’s biggest utility, agreed to sell its stakes in two Pennsylvania power plants at a loss, marking the last steps in its plan to exit from coal.The deal to sell its stakes – about 23% each – in the Keystone and Conemaugh plants is expected to close in the second half of 2019, the Newark, New Jersey-based company said in a statement on Monday. PSEG will take a pretax charge of $375 million to $415 million in the current quarter because the anticipated sale price, which wasn’t disclosed, is less than book value of the assets, according to a filing.The deals reflect the declining value of coal power. Electricity prices in the region are falling, and costs to control coal-plant emissions are expected to climb, according to Kit Konolige, a utility analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. That makes the long-term viability of these facilities hard to justify compared with cheap natural gas facilities. Coal is expected to generate less than 25% of U.S. electricity this year for the first time.Marijke Shugrue, a PSEG spokeswoman, declined to identify the buyers of the Pennsylvania plants and didn’t comment on the charge related to the sale. After the deal closes, PSEG won’t purchase electricity from them.PSEG retired two coal plants in New Jersey in 2017 and expects to shutter a 383-megawatt Connecticut facility in 2021. Its stake in the Pennsylvania facilities represents 776 megawatts.“This marks the last bit of coal that we have in our power portfolio,” Shugrue said by phone Monday.More: N.J.’s top utility willing to take $415 million hit to exit coallast_img read more

Pittsburgh mayor against expanding petrochemicals and fracking industries in Western PA

first_imgPittsburgh mayor against expanding petrochemicals and fracking industries in Western PA FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PublicSource:Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto spoke out for the first time publicly against bringing additional petrochemical companies to Western Pennsylvania at the Climate Action Summit in Downtown Pittsburgh Wednesday.Peduto doubled down on his support for investing in green energy jobs and environmental cleanup, rather than fracking and plastics. When Peduto talks to business leaders across the country and region, he said, they tell him one thing: “Clean your air and clean your water.”“They are not asking for free parking or tax breaks,” Peduto said. “They are asking for the basics.”Peduto said it was time to push back against a common attitude in the region that tackling climate change was bad for business. “There is this belief that anybody who wants to work to address climate change is bad for business,” he said. “And that culture is very real in Western Pennsylvania. That belief that those who are trying to save the planet are anti-business, resonates far beyond the fossil fuel industry. I can’t find a corporate partner to stand with me. None. Zero.”More: Peduto speaks out publicly for the first time against a petrochemical expansion in Western Pennsylvanialast_img read more

Montana’s largest utility to boost stake in Colstrip coal plant

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Billings Gazette:NorthWestern Energy plans to increase its share in Colstrip Unit 4 by buying out another power plant owner who recently revealed the coal-fired unit needs $20 million in repairs.Montana’s largest monopoly utility said Tuesday that it will buy out Puget Sound Energy for $1. The price is identical to what NorthWestern pitched to the 2019 Montana Legislature 10 months ago. Lawmakers rejected the deal, with several expressing worry the utility’s customers would face hidden debts associated with repairs and future environmental cleanup costs. In the Legislature, NorthWestern never identified which of Colstrip’s five other owners was offering shares.NorthWestern currently has a 30% share in Unit 4, for which its customers owe $300 million. Puget’s share would boost NorthWestern’s stake to 55%. In a separate deal, NorthWestern would buy Puget’s capacity on Colstrip’s transmission lines for $2.5 million to $3.7 million.The utility has the ability to buy Puget’s assets without government approval, but if its customers are to shoulder costs associated with maintenance, operation, taxes and environmental cleanup, the Public Service Commission will have to sign off. NorthWestern indicated it will seek PSC approval early next year.For Puget Sound Energy, the sale would leave Colstrip power plant’s most dominant owner with just 25% of Colstrip Unit 3. The Washington-based utility owns half of Colstrip Units 1 and 2, with Pennsylvania-based Talen Energy owning the other half. The two companies announced in June that those units were no longer economical and would be shut down. Units 1 and 2 will stop operating in a few weeks.Puget has to stop using coal power under Washington law by the end of 2025. Other Colstrip owners are also making exit plans. Spokane-based Avista Corp. told The Billings Gazette last week that plans are being made to exit in 2025, although currently it plans to exit by 2027. PacifiCorp plans to exit in 2027. Portland General Electric plans to exit no later than 2035, although it plans to pay off its Colstrip debt by 2030 and taper off of coal power over time.[Tom Lutey]More: NorthWestern Energy plans to buy bigger stake in Colstrip power plant for $1 Montana’s largest utility to boost stake in Colstrip coal plantlast_img read more

Dutch insurer Aegon tightens restrictions on coal power plants, thermal coal mining

first_imgDutch insurer Aegon tightens restrictions on coal power plants, thermal coal mining FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Dutch insurer Aegon on Monday said it will gradually reduce holdings in companies generating revenue from coal-fired power plants, or coal mining, to support the transition toward a low-carbon economy.Aegon said it already excludes companies that derive more than 30% of sales from the exploration, mining, and refining of thermal coal.It will scale back those investments over the next decade.“As of 2020, a declining revenue threshold has been introduced, which will be lowered in steps to 5% or below in 2029,” it said in a statement.The Dutch insurer, with more than 300 billion in managed assets at the end of 2018, said it will cease investing in companies who own more than 10 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity generation capacity and have plans to extend their capacity.Aegon will cease to invest in companies producing more than 20 million tonnes of thermal coal annually, and are expanding coal-related business, it said.[Anthony Deutsch]More: Dutch insurer Aegon to reduce coal investmentslast_img read more

Moody’s downgrades Contura Energy, says outlook remains negative

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Moody’s downgraded Contura Energy Inc.’s corporate family rating to B3 from B2 and revised its outlook on the company to negative from stable, saying it expects Contura will experience significant margin compression in 2020 as a result of decreased metallurgical coal prices and higher cash burn.The rating agency also lowered the NYSE-listed coal miner’s senior secured term loan rating to Caa1 from B3, and its speculative grade liquidity rating to SGL-3 from SGL-2, in a Feb. 27 note.Moody’s estimated Contura Energy’s “management-defined” EBITDA would fall to a range of about $125 million to $175 million in 2020, compared to $335 million in 2018 and $264 million for the first nine months of 2019.Contura Energy’s thermal coal platform will likely generate modest losses in 2020 as the company also faces potential headwinds due to variations in metallurgical coal prices, while the negative outlook also reflects expectations for cash consumption in 2020, Moody’s said.“An increasing portion of the global investment community is reducing or eliminating exposure to the coal industry with greater emphasis on moving away from thermal coal,” Moody’s said.Moody’s said it expects 2020 to be very challenging for the coal industry due to lower domestic demand for thermal coal and substantive reductions in export prices, amid increasing difficulty in accessing capital early in the year as investors increase focus on the industry’s environmental, social and governance profile.[Robert Vergara]More ($): Moody’s revises outlook on Contura Energy to negative from stable Moody’s downgrades Contura Energy, says outlook remains negativelast_img read more

New Hampshire utility cancels planned Granite Bridge gas pipeline

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享NHPR:Liberty Utilities says it will not build the proposed Granite Bridge natural gas pipeline in Southern New Hampshire, after finding a cheaper way to serve new customers by using existing infrastructure.The company told the state of the change in plans in a Public Utilities Commission filing Friday afternoon. The $340-million pipeline plan dated to late 2017 and drew fierce opposition from climate change activists, who oppose any expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the region.Serving new customers was Liberty’s original goal in building Granite Bridge, which would have run about 27 miles along Route 101 between Stratham and Manchester — branching off the Concord Lateral, an existing, mainline gas artery owned by Texas-based Kinder Morgan.Liberty initially said it would be too expensive to upgrade that larger pipeline to suit their needs. But last fall, PUC staff recommended they revisit that option before Granite Bridge could be approved. Liberty’s filing Friday comes in response to the PUC’s concerns. It says in recent months, Liberty learned that another user of the Concord Lateral — Calpine, which used the pipeline to serve its Londonderry power plant — would not renew its contract, expiring next fall, to use capacity on the pipeline.This frees up space for Liberty to ink a proposed 20-year contract to run its own gas to new and existing customers on the Concord Lateral. They say it will still involve some upgrades to the pipeline and will cost about $90 million total.“The new proposal could enable New Hampshire to eliminate more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions while preserving energy choice for New Hampshire consumers,” Liberty says in its press release.[Annie Ropeik]More: Liberty Utilities drops plans for major gas pipeline in N.H. New Hampshire utility cancels planned Granite Bridge gas pipelinelast_img read more

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