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   PoliticsRat's Nest - Chronicles of Collapse

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From: Eric7/5/2019 8:55:54 AM
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Climate friend or carbon bomb? Global gas market faces $1.3trn stranded asset risk

Michael Mazengarb

3 July 2019

The global gas market will need to slow the pace of its growth, to avoid both the risk of stranded assets and to prevent further increases to global emissions, a new report from US-based think tank Global Energy Monitor has found.

In the report, Global Energy Monitor has warned that up to US$1.3 trillion in new LNG export and import infrastructure currently under development is at significant risk of becoming stranded, as the world market for gas risks becoming oversupplied, particularly if the United States and Canada play a larger role.

More than 70% of new investment in LNG export terminals, totalling more than $910 billion, will be located in either the US or Canada, seeing the entry of two new players in a global market for gas that they have otherwise had minimal involvement.

Global Energy Monitor found it is likely that there will be significant over-investment in new gas infrastructure, as the continued emergence of lower cost renewable alternatives challenges the need for further gas supplies, creating additional risk to Australia’s already strained gas market.

North America is about to emerge as a major player in the global gas market Credit: Global Energy Monitor

If all LNG infrastructure projects in the development pipeline are completed, the global gas supply would potentially increase three-fold, at a time when the momentum is shifting towards lower emissions sources of energy, including lower cost renewables.

The findings echo a similar analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that the falling costs of renewables combined with storage were able to complete new gas generation on cost.

Current commitments for further gas infrastructure investments include $38 billion in new Australian projects, the bulk of which face some degree of risk of becoming stranded assets.

Australia has emerged as one of the world’s largest exporters of natural gas, challenging Qatar for top spot after a decade of substantial investment in establishing export terminals across Queensland and Western Australia.

The report called for a moratorium on the development of further LNG export terminals, with citing both the likelihood of the export market becoming oversupplied with gas and the contribution of gas has to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Global Energy Monitor forecast that growth in natural gas use in line with infrastructure investments would make it impossible to achieve the Paris Agreement commitment to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

“Given the climate mandate that natural gas be scaled back over the next decade, not to mention the risk to investors of stranded assets and financial losses from overbuilding, a sensible approach to the question of LNG terminal expansion would be a moratorium on further construction.” Global Energy Monitor said in its report.

The report from Global Energy Monitor also highlighted the fallacy behind claims by Australias energy and resources ministers, Angus Taylor and Matt Canavan, that Australia should be rewarded for exporting gas to the rest of the world.

Taylor claimed following the delayed release of an update Australia’s greenhouse gas accounts that Australia’s rising emissions should be considered in the context of Australia’s gas exports potentially being used to offset more emissions-intensive fuels overseas.

This contention is challenged by the findings of the Global Energy Monitor report, which shows gas having a similar contribution to global emissions to that of coal.

Global Energy Monitor highlighted that methane, the main component of natural gas, has been responsible for 25 per cent of the global warming observed to date.

Crucially, the report estimated that the emissions contribution of natural gas developments currently underway is equal, or greater than the expansion of coal-fired generation.

Credit: Global Energy Monitor“

The results of the lifecycle comparison, including fugitive methane emissions, show that current proposals for new LNG terminal capacity, if fully developed, would lock in global warming impacts that are roughly equivalent, when considered on a 100-year horizon, to those of current proposals for new coal-fired power plants.” the report said.

There has been an ongoing reconsideration of the environmental benefits of gas, following greater understanding of the life-cycle emissions of natural gas and particularly in relation to fugitive emissions during extraction and processing.

While natural gas produces fewer emissions during combustion compared to the equivalent amount of coal, when fugitive emissions are taken into account, this benefit may be reduced, if not completely eliminated.

“Because power plant combustion of natural gas produces about 40% less carbon dioxide than combustion of coal, proponents of natural gas have characterized it as a “bridge” from coal to renewables.” Global Energy Monitor said.

“However, a full life cycle comparison of both natural gas and coal requires also including the effect of leakages in natural gas production and transportation, since methane (CH4), the main component of natural gas, is a far more powerful global warming gas than carbon dioxide.”

Australia faced a grilling from other countries at a recent round of UN climate talks held in Bonn, with rising emissions from LNG production singled out as an issue requiring an explanation from Australian negotiators.

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From: Eric7/6/2019 6:40:05 AM
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New US Solar Energy Research Deals Another Body Blow To Coal

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  • E tu, Brute! The US coal industry suffered through another round of bankruptcy and bad news this week, and it looks like the Trump administration is determined to give it one last, hard push over the cliff. The US Department of Energy has just announced another round of funding aimed at driving the cost of solar energy down, down, down.

    SolarTAC test facility in Aurora, CO (credit: Dennis Scroeder/ NREL)

    That’s quite a switcheroo from the rosy future for coal painted by President* Trump just a short while ago. His successful** 2016 campaign for the Oval Office pivoted around the promise of boom times for US coal miners. Instead, the new round of funding all but guarantees years of growth ahead for the US solar industry — at the expense of coal as well as natural gas and nuclear energy, too.

    Wait, Why Is The Energy Department Still Promoting Solar Energy?

    The new round of solar energy funding is just the latest in a rather aggressive series of renewable energy initiatives promoted by the Energy Department all throughout the Trump administration.

    That may seem somewhat odd, considering those campaign promises. Well, blame the deep state. Or blame stakeholders in the US business sector. They have been clamoring for more wind and solar power now that costs have come down.

    Pressure from US consumers is also motivating businesses to hop on the solar energy bandwagon, and top players in the financial sector are beginning to shed coal investments in favor of renewable energy.

    Whoever is to blame, the new round of solar funding hammers home the futility of a coal comeback.

    Many Paths To More & Better Solar Energy

    The new round totals $3.2 million from the Energy Department’s Technology Commercialization Fund. That might not sound like much compared to the cost of staging a private party in Washington, DC on the 4th of July, but a little goes a long way with the help of solar industry stakeholders.

    The money will go to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which will deploy it to match approximately the same amount in private sector funding for 11 projects.

    As a group, the 11 projects aim at key flex points in the cost of renewable energy, energy efficiency and bio-based chemicals.

    The projects dealing with solar energy dig deep into opportunities for reducing solar costs. The soup-to-nuts approach includes “DUSST,” a partnership between NREL and the companies First Solar, Groundwork Renewables Inc., and Atonometrics Inc. DUSST aims to help keep solar arrays running at peak efficiency by keeping the solar panels clean, without running into excessive costs.

    On the manufacturing and materials sides, some of the new funding will go to scale up a low cost thin film process developed by the company ALD NanoSolutions, and the company Swift Solar will be working on a new flexible perovskite solar cell for mobile use (perovskite is a low cost alternative to silicon).

    Moving along to the grid connection side, Triangle Microworks got tapped for a new interoperability tool for inverters. That’s another aspect of solar energy with a significant influence on costs (inverters transfer the DC output from solar cells into an AC current).

    Rounding out the picture is the issue of local permitting, inspection, and grid connection regulations. These administrative processes can add thousands of dollars to the total installed cost of a rooftop array.

    Yes, thousands. Even worse, these processes can delay a project to the point where a solar customer gives up and backs out of the deal, saddling the installer with the expense.

    The Energy Department already supports several solar programs aimed at untangling some of the red tape. The new funding will go to support a program called SolarApp, for “ Solar Automated Permit Software.”

    About 20,000 (yes, 20,000) local, state, and federal agencies in the US have jurisdiction over solar installations. SolarApp aims to wrangle them into one streamlined, online permitting portal. The idea is to make it possible for almost “instantaneous” approval of routine rooftop solar installations. That largely solves the customer back-out problem while also potentially cutting costs for local agencies. Energy storage is also included in the initiative.

    Whither coal?

    To be clear, the Department of Energy is also barreling forward with other programs in support of coal, oil, gas, and nuclear. However, the force of competition from renewable energy is beginning to make those efforts moot, at least where coal is concerned ( natural gas is a whole ‘nother can of worms).

    Take this week, for example. On Monday, the coal company Blackwater abruptly closed and slammed the door shut on 600 workers at two mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, an epicenter of US coal production.

    As of this writing, Blackwater might be able to resume operating under bankruptcy. Meanwhile, reports suggest the company is behind on payments to workers’ health and retirement plans.

    Another large coal company in the Powder River basin, Cloud Peak, recently declared bankruptcy and has been struggling to stay in operation. The company can’t seem to find a buyer, and last week two major competitors in the Powder River basin formed a joint venture that will make it even more difficult to unload.

    According to the Casper Star Tribune (please follow the link an support local journalism), the unusual — and apparently, desperate — deal is aimed at cutting costs for the two top-producing mines in the world, Peabody Coal’s North Antelope Rochelle mine and Arch Coal’s Black Thunder mine.

    The joint venture will enable the two companies to avoid the high cost of shutting down the mines (yes, it costs money to close a mine), but that still leaves redundant workers to hit the unemployment line.

    Oh, well.

    On the bright side, employment in the renewable energy sector is growing. CleanTechnica is reaching out to The Solar Foundation, which partners with the Energy Department on job-creating solar initiatives, for some insights on the opportunities and challenges involved in retraining Powder River’s workforce for a more sustainable future.

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    From: Eric7/6/2019 6:45:19 AM
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    48 Developers Show Interest In 2 Gigawatt Abu Dhabi Solar PV Project

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  • July 5th, 2019 by Saurabh

    A large number of project developers have shown interest in the upcoming 2 gigawatt tender in Abu Dhabi, likely setting the stage for yet another record-breaking tariff bid.

    Solar farm in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Not the 1.177 MW solar farm. Image Credit: Marika Shahan / CleanTechnica

    Reuters recently reported that 48 companies submitted responses to the expression of interest issued by the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) — the power and water utility that services Abu Dhabi — to set up a 2 gigawatt solar power project. The project is planned to be implemented at Al Dhafra, around 50 kilometers from Abu Dhabi.

    A spokesperson of the EWEC told Reuters that of the 48 companies responding to the EoI, only 24 have pre-qualified for participation in the actual tender process. These pre-qualified companies now have until the end of this year to submit their technical and financial bids to set up the project. As has been the case earlier, in Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai, the entire project would likely be awarded to a single bidder.

    The project shall be executed by a new company, a 40% stake of which shall be owned by successful bidder(s) while the balance shall be owned by the EWEC. This is the same implementation structure that was followed for the execution of the Noor Abu Dhabi solar PV project now operational at Sweihan, 100 kilometers from Abu Dhabi.

    The Noor Abu Dhabi project was allocated in September 2016 following a reverse auction to the consortium of Marubeni Corporation and JinkoSolar. The project was recently commissioned, making it the largest single-site solar power plant in the world with an installed capacity of 1,177 megawatts.

    The new project is expected to be commissioned by the first quarter of 2022 taking operational solar power capacity in Abu Dhabi to more than 3.2 gigawatts. Apart from the Noor Abu Dhabi project, the emirate also hosts a 100 megawatt concentrated solar power project, one of the largest in Asia.

    Competing with Abu Dhabi to fulfill an ambitious ‘ Energy Strategy 2050’ announced by UAE in 2017 is Dubai. The neighboring emirate is working on the famous Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and has allocated 1.95 gigawatts of solar PV and concentrated solar power capacity so far. Dubai aims to increase the operational capacity at the solar park to 5 gigawatts by 2030. Dubai, too, had floated an EoI for 900-megawatt solar PV project at the solar park which received responses from 64 companies.

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    From: Wharf Rat7/6/2019 11:27:00 AM
    1 Recommendation   of 21564
    More Signs That Natural Gas Can’t Compete With Renewables on Cost
    By Justin Mikulka • Friday, July 5, 2019 - 09:25

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    From: Wharf Rat7/7/2019 12:17:10 AM
       of 21564
    Solar cell efficiency could get a dramatic boost, MIT team finds

    Many commercially available cells achieve efficiencies in the order of 20-25 per cent, with higher efficiencies being a trade-off against the overall cost of the cell.

    But in a finding that may allow solar cells to surge beyond efficiencies that were previously thought possible, researchers at MIT have discovered a way of extracting even more energy out of the light that hits a solar cell, believing they can take silicon solar cell efficiencies to as high as 35 per cent.

    Traditionally, photons have only been able to transfer their energy to a single “excited” electron as they pass through conventional silicon solar cells.

    However, some parts of the light spectrum, notably blue and green light, has enough energy to excite multiple electrons.

    Generally this excess energy is converted into waste heat, and researchers have been searching for way to tap into this extra energy, seeing the potential to boost solar cell efficiencies.

    In new research published in the journal Nature this week, researchers at MIT and Princeton Universities have demonstrated a method of doing exactly that, using photons (the light particles) to “excite” multiple electrons.

    The researchers effectively coated silicon cells with a layer of molecules called tetracene that could absorb the energy from sunlight and splitting it in two.

    The process required the production of a layer of a material called hafnium oxynitride, that was only a few atoms thick, which allow for the extra energy stored in the molecules to be transferred into the silicon wafer to produce electricity.

    “It turns out this tiny, tiny strip of material at the interface between these two systems ended up defining everything. It’s why other researchers couldn’t get this process to work, and why we finally did.” Van Voorhis said.

    By “exciting” multiple electrons, solar cells could produce more electric current using the same amount of light, boosting the effiency of silicon solar cells by as much as 20 per cent.

    The concept had been theorised as far back as the 1970s, with MIT professor of chemistry Troy Van Voorhis having participated in the original proposal at the time, and now contributing to the research that was successful in demonstrating the effect in a functional solar cell.

    The research was lead by Australian researcher and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT Marc Baldo. Before heading to the US to undertake research related to solar cell designs, Baldo completed a bachelor of engineering form the University of Sydney.

    Putting the theory into practise “only took 40 years,” Van Voorhis joked.

    The proof of concept could lead to dramatic increases in the efficiencies of silicon solar cells, pushing beyond the 29% theoretical efficiency limit of current cells, to as high as 35%.

    Also reported by PV Magazine:

    Sorbitol admixture to passivation layer increases HJT conversion efficiency

    The race to the theoretical maximum conversion efficiency continues and with new lab results in, it appears a big leap forward may have been achieved over at MIT and Princeton.

    Researchers from two of the world’s most prestigious colleges may have made a breakthrough.

    Researchers from the Massachutes Institute of Technology and Princeton have examined the impact of a sorbitol admixture to hole-conduction polymer PEDOT:PSS [poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonate)] on polymer/crystalline silicon heterojunction (HJT) solar cells.

    In so doing, the team deposited a PEDOT:PSS layer as a hole-collecting contact to the rear of a cell while the front was treated ‘conventionally,’ through phosphorous diffusion.

    According to the researchers, the admixture of the infrared-transparent sorbitol improved the short-circuit density of the cell due to a reduction in infrared parasitic absorption. The researchers also observed the passivation quality of PEDOT:PSS was improved, together with the open-circuit voltage.

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    From: Eric7/7/2019 7:41:37 PM
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    This Is Exactly Why Clean Coal Is A Joke

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  • July 7th, 2019 by Tina Casey

    The US utility Ameren Missouri should be walking on sunshine right now. The company has just announced its second rate cut this year, thanks in part to its new “Smart Energy” plan which is loaded with clean tech goodies. Instead, Ameren Missouri is facing the wrath of environmental groups and local residents over its plan for dealing with tons of ash left over from its coal power plants. Clean coal my foot!

    US EPA website [screenshot]: Coal Ash (Coal Combustion Residuals, Or CCR)

    Clean Coal Is Clean, Except For You-Know-What

    Anyone remember the Tennessee coal ash spill of 2008? What about the North Carolina coal ash spill of 2014? Okay, so how about that other coal ash spill in North Carolina that happened just last fall?

    How does coal ash spill, anyways?

    That’s an easy one. Clean coal or not, coal ash is the toxic material left over when coal burns. It can be re-used in various ways but it is loaded with mercury, arsenic and other materials. The safest thing to do is store it indefinitely in unlined, open air ponds or lagoons, often by a river or stream.

    I kid! It’s not particularly safe to transport coal ash and store it in open air ponds, especially not near a waterway. Aside from the examples of Tennessee and North Carolina, the “clean coal” experience of residents near a coal ash disposal site Pennsylvania raises all kinds of environmental justice issues.

    Part of the problem is that no federal agency required power plants to account for their ash ponds until 2015, when the EPA shouldered the task. The first disclosures finally rolled out last fall. Some little issues with transparency, organization, accessibility, methodology, and standardization have made it a bit difficult to assess the results on a national basis, but environmental groups have been picking through the data and the picture ain’t pretty.

    So, What About All That Coal Ash?

    The Obama administration’s EPA also proposed new regulations for coal ash disposal in 2014 under a revved-up timeline. The new rules got stuck in legal limbo after coal power plant stakeholders weighed in and won a series of deadline extensions.

    In one recent development this past January, a coal group threatened to cut the juice to all of their power plants if the Obama-era timeline is upheld.

    No, for real. They literally threatened to take their clean coal and go home. Here’s a snippet from their court filing, posted by our friends over at E&E News (citations deleted for readability):

    Without time to develop alternative disposal capacity for the wastestreams generated during power plant operations, operators will face the untenable choice of either ceasing power production — with the attendant risks to power reliability for regions across the country — or continuing to place wastestreams in units that EPA says are required to immediately close.

    Time? Guys, it’s been like five years. Anyway, not to worry. In March the Trump* administration’s EPA proposed new, more relaxed rules for coal ash disposal.

    So far the new rules have held up in court and that’s where “clean coal” stands now.

    Ameren Missouri & The Clean Coal Whack-A-Mole

    As for Ameren, our friends over at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have the scoop on the utility’s handling of its legacy coal ash disposal sites. Follow the link to see how reporter Bryce Gray describes the impact of regulatory uncertainty on the situation. The end result is that Ameren appears to be committed to a closure plan that does not fully address the contamination issue:

    …despite that uncertainty about which direction coal ash rules could take, groups that track the issue say the St. Louis-based utility, Ameren, sounds certain about plans to close its legacy ash ponds while leaving contaminants in the ground

    Basically, it’s cheaper to cap old ash pits than excavating all the ash and putting it into more secure containment, though that leaves the pesky issue of groundwater contamination to sort itself out.

    There is a lot of sorting to do. According to Gray’s reporting, Ameren has 4 coal power plants and 14 ash ponds around the St. Louis region. Some of them are lined at the bottom, but others are not.

    And Now For The Good News

    While Ameren Missouri seeks a cure for yesterday’s clean coal hangover, the utility has also been touting its march toward the sparkling green tomorrow.

    Last week the utility announced that it is requesting its second rate decrease since last summer. Ameren credits its 2018 Smart Energy Plan with enabling the modest decrease, along with a new statewide energy policy approved by Missouri legislators in 2018.

    The proposed ratemaking also includes incentives for customers to use more energy off-peak, including overnight EV charging.

    Looking forward, Ameren has a 5-year plan to invest $5.3 billion investment in hundreds of projects aimed at creating a “smarter, more secure and storm-resilient system to reduce the length and likelihood of outages.”

    That includes more wind and solar integration, thanks in part to the Mark Twain wind transmission line and an additional $1 billion wind energy investment. The utility also plans to focus on energy storage and smart meters, as well as an efficiency upgrade program that Ameren describes as its largest ever.

    Next up for the company: addressing the impacts of its natural gas business.

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    From: Eric7/8/2019 12:19:45 PM
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    British Royal Institutions Announce Fossil Fuel Divestment

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  • July 8th, 2019 by Joshua S Hill

    Two of Britain’s leading professional associations — the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine — announced last week to mark the first-ever London Climate Action Week that they will completely divest from fossil fuel investments.

    Image Credit: Medact

    The London Climate Action Week is being held between the 1st and 8th of July in response to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s declaration of a climate emergency. With continued grassroots action keeping climate and fossil fuel dangers in the forefront of everyone’s minds, two of Britain’s leading professional associations committed to divesting from fossil fuel investments.

    The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, better known as the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), announced that it had taken steps to work with its fund managers, CCLA Investment Management, to divest its already limited exposure to fossil fuels completely from all remaining investments in oil and gas firms.

    First formed in 1754 by William Shipley, an English artist, social reformer, and inventor, the RSA has boasted notable past fellows such as Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, and David Attenborough. Dedicating to “[enriching] society through ideas and action,” and is backed by 29,000 Fellows.

    Boasting a less illustrious or lengthy history, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) dates back to 1967, and has committed to sell all fossil fuel investments formerly held in its £1.3 million ($1.5 million) portfolio “in response to the worsening climate emergency.”

    “The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is proud to mark London Divestment Day by joining the institutions taking action against climate change by divesting of its holdings in fossil fuel companies,” said Gordon Miles, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. “We call on all asset owners to consider carefully selling their fossil fuel shares and including sustainable companies or indexes into their long-term investment strategies.”

    The RCEM also highlighted other divestment initiatives taken by London-based local authorities, universities, and medical colleges, that together hold £36 billion ($45.1 billion) in investments held in endowments and pension funds. Specifically, these associations have divested £13.2 million (9%, $16.53 million) from the £153.6 million ($192.40 million) Medical Royal College portfolios, £4.2 billion (12%, $5.26) of £34.5 billion ($43.22 billion) local authority pension funds, £460 million (42%, $576.2 million) of £1.1 billion ($1.38 billion) in university endowments, and £12.2 billion ($15.28 billion) in religious institution funds.

    Further, the RCEM highlighted its place in the larger movement of global healthcare institutions to divest from fossil fuels, which it claims as resulted in divestments worth £274 million ($343.22 million).

    “The climate crisis, fuelled by the fossil fuel industry, has brought us to the point of a public health emergency – so it is very fitting for us, as emergency medicine practitioners, to be taking this action,” said Dr Zoe Steley, an Emergency Medicine (EM) registrar and member of Medact, a public health charity. “I’m thrilled that RCEM have taken institutional initiative and are showing climate leadership. In A+E, our job is to triage, prioritise and be caring in a pragmatic and decisive way. Divesting from fossil fuel companies lines up with this ethos.”

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    From: Eric7/8/2019 3:55:22 PM
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    Australian 2.2 Gigawatt Offshore Wind Farm Takes Crucial Next Ste

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  • July 8th, 2019 by Joshua S Hill

    Plans for a mammoth 2.2 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind farm off the southern coast of Australia have taken a crucial step forward this month after the developers announced a partnership to conduct a market study on the availability of the required labour and vessel resources.

    Star of the South location. Map courtesy Star of the South Wind Farm Pty Ltd.

    The 2.2 GW Star of the South offshore wind farm, backed by Danish fund management company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, has been proposed for the southeastern coast of Australia, off the Gippsland coast of Victoria, the country’s southern-most mainland state. With a potential to generate electricity for the equivalent of as many as 1.2 million households, the Star of the South could play a major part in Victoria’s drive away from fossil fuels.

    Star of the South announced earlier this month that it had signed a partnership with international HR service provider Atlas Professionals to jointly conduct a market study on the availability of the required labor and vessel resources for the project. The study will analyze the labor requirements for the Star of the South project during the development, construction, and maintenance phases of the project, and will also analyze the future availability of required labor and the necessity to upgrade and/or train available workers.

    The report will also focus on the requirements for specialist vessels during the development, construction, and maintenance phases of the project.

    “We are excited to work together with Star of the South and be part of the development of Australia’s first offshore wind project,” said Edgare Kerkwijk, Strategic Director Renewables APAC at Atlas Professionals. “Since starting our renewable energy activities earlier this year, we have managed to get engagements in Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan. This is evidence that the regional offshore wind market is growing rapidly and the need for skilled manpower is growing equally fast.”

    The Star of the South project has been in development since 2012 and will likely be in development for a while longer. In December of 2018 Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners partnered with local developer Offshore Energy to help develop the project. And in March of this year, the Australian Government approved a deed of license to the developers to undertake resource exploration.

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    From: Eric7/8/2019 5:10:14 PM
       of 21564
    Wind News

    MidAmerican Provided 51.4% Renewables to Iowa Customers In 2018

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    Betsy Lillian

    July 2, 2019

    MidAmerican Energy Co. provided its Iowa customers with 51.4% of their energy from renewable sources last year, the Iowa Utilities Board verified in an order filed recently.

    The number reflects the amount of renewable generation – as a percent of total retail energy delivered – that MidAmerican provided to its customers in Iowa in 2018. The renewable energy percentage rose slightly from 2017, and MidAmerican expects it to continue to increase. Meanwhile, the company says it will not seek rate increases as it completes additional projects.

    “Providing 100 percent renewable energy annually to our customers is part of MidAmerican Energy’s vision to be the best. We’re on track to do that in the next several years while still keeping rates low,” says Adam Wright, MidAmerican Energy’s president and CEO. “Access to clean energy, combined with low rates and high reliability, helps drive Iowa’s economy.”

    MidAmerican Energy’s GreenAdvantage program, available at no charge, quantifies the amount of renewable energy that electric customers can claim. The program enables businesses, especially those that emphasize clean energy, to claim the verified percentage of energy they receive to help them meet corporate sustainability goals.

    Last year, MidAmerican Energy announced its latest wind energy project, called Wind XII, which is now underway. The company expects to complete the project late next year. According to MidAmerican, Wind XII will help move the company closer to being the first investor-owned electric utility in the nation to generate renewable energy equal to 100% of its customers’ usage on an annual basis.

    “We continue to work hard every day to add clean wind energy because our customers want it,” Wright adds. “And we’re building it at no net cost to them while providing substantial and lasting economic benefits to Iowa communities.”

    Through 2018, MidAmerican had invested approximately $9.9 billion in wind projects in Iowa.

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    From: Eric7/9/2019 8:56:05 AM
       of 21564
    Research Spotlight

    Global Wind Power Capacity to Grow by 60% Over Next 5 Years

    Wood Mackenzie provides a region-by-region glimpse into the future of the global wind market.

    Luke Lewandowski

    July 08, 2019

    Global Wind Power Capacity to Grow by 60% Over Next 5 Years

    The outlook for the global wind market is on the upswing. According to Wood Mackenzie's latest global wind power market update, global wind power capacity is expected to grow by 60 percent over the next five years.

    Our latest forecast shows a 5-gigawatt upgrade in the global offshore sector alone, yielding 129 gigawatts of new capacity and a compound annual growth rate of 26 percent for the burgeoning segment.

    In the report we provide a comprehensive analysis of the global wind market and dive into key upgrades and downgrades by region, for both offshore and onshore segments. Below are a few highlights from this quarter's edition.

    Life beyond the U.S. PTC

    Eligible offtakers are rallying to capitalize on the Production Tax Credit for wind before the full-value incentive expires in 2020 and then phases down. Developers qualifying wind facilities in 2017 are eligible for 80 percent of the full credit amount, incentivizing U.S. wind market growth.

    New state-level targets in the U.S. and the strengthening of renewable portfolio standard mechanisms across the country are expected to support post-PTC demand.

    As a result, Wood Mackenzie has upgraded its outlook for the U.S. market by 16 percent quarter-over-quarter, highlighted by a 3.8-gigawatt upgrade in 2021 alone.

    A modest upgrade of 1 percent from last quarter in Latin America is driven by near-term upgrades in Brazil and Mexico. Demand in Brazil’s free market should positively impact expectations from 2020 to 2022, while an uptick in commercial and industrial demand in Mexico will support a record year in 2019.

    European outlook dismal as subregions downgraded

    The outlook in Northern Europe has been upgraded in the forecast by 6 percent. This should offset an otherwise dismal outlook update in Europe, as the other subregions combine for a 2.2-gigawatt downgrade.

    Permitting challenges and undersubscription of onshore tenders in Germany and France have impeded growth. However, an increasing appetite for unsubsidized projects and a proliferation of demand from the C&I segment across Northern Europe both support a modest 0.6 percent upgrade for Europe over last quarter.

    Increasing competition from solar poses a challenge to Africa’s wind market

    Slow project development due to political instability, immature support mechanisms and increasing competition from solar results has led to a slight downgrade in our forecasts for wind in Africa.

    Clean energy ambitions in Africa are more prevalent than ever before, however. Renewable energy is attractive within the region, as wind and solar projects can be built much more quickly than other sources of energy. But as solar is becoming increasingly economical, Africa’s wind market faces stiff competition.

    Policy deadlines boost near-term outlook in China

    Onshore and offshore policy deadlines in China underpin a 2.9-gigawatt boost in the country from last quarter's projections.

    Onshore developers are rushing to comply with a new policy that requires projects to be commissioned by the end of 2020 in order to capitalize on feed-in tariffs (FIT) before a subsidy-free era begins. Offshore developers must commission projects before the close of 2021 if they are to utilize the current level of offshore FIT.

    The story is not entirely positive in the Asia-Pacific region, however. Current market conditions in India have bruised the region’s near-term outlook, resulting in a 4 percent downgrade since last quarter's report. The government-imposed auction ceiling prices and delays in commissioning awarded projects have slowed near-term growth expectations in India considerably — a decrease of 24 percent from 2019 to 2022.

    Additionally, reliability concerns in Thailand have led to a 37 percent downgrade over the 10-year outlook, as the government’s focus has turned to other technologies.

    Learn more about WoodMac's Q2 Global Wind Outlook here.

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