Energy Storage Installations Break Recordsin Fourth Quarter
A staggering 230 MW/h of energy storage systems were installed in the last three months of 2016, more than the previous 12 quarters combined.
That strong finish put the total amount of energy storage systems installed in 2016 at 336 MW/h, or 100 percent over 2015 according to GTM Research and a report by the Energy Storage Association.
The U.S. energy storage market is now estimated to reach 7.3 GW in 2022, representing an investment of $3.3 billion.
Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage, said the huge amount of fourth-quarter installations was due to a burst of deployments with a very short development time.
And that burst could continue, thanks to California.
GE Hitachi, Advanced Reactor Concepts to Cooperate on Small Modular Reactors
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Advanced Reactor Concepts LLC have agreed to collaborate in the development and licensing of an advanced small modular reactor based on Generation IV sodium-cooled reactor technology.
The two companies hope to advance an >aSMR design for global power generation with initial deployment in Canada, including the pursuit of a preliminary regulatory review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, based on earlier technology licensing success in the United States.
This collaborative commercialization program will also work to confirm projected construction and operating costs and identify a lead-plant owner and operator for the joint aSMR.
Arbitrators Award $125 Million for Defective Steam Generators at San Onofre
The owners of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station were awarded $125 million by an arbitration panel for the plant’s defective replacement steam generators supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Southern California Edison, the majority owner of San Onofre, filed the request for arbitration to the International Chamber of Commerce in 2013, claiming the failure of the defective equipmentlead to the permanent shutdown of the plant.
In 2012, a small radiation leak lead to the discovery of extensive damage to hundreds of tubes inside the virtually new generators.
Southern California Edison decided to close the plant for good in 2013 after concerns over whether the plant was too damaged to restart safely.
Hydroelectric Generators are the Oldest Still Operating in the U.S.
A new study by the Energy Information Administration indicates hydropower plants account for 99 percent of all currently operating capacity built before 1930.
The average hydroelectric facility has been operating for 64 years, and the 50 oldest electric generating plants are all hydroelectric and have been in service since 1908.
However, relatively few new hydroelectric facilities are being built. Of the nearly 200 GW of capacity added over the last 10 years, only 1.7 GW were conventional hydro.
Though the deterioration of spillways at Oroville Dam recently caused a flooding scare after heavy rains, that plant’s operation date of 1968 makes it younger than 63 percent of California’s currently-operating hydroelectric facilities.
Half of all hydroelectric capacity is located in Washington, California and Oregon. Those three states plus Vermont generate half their power from hydroelectric sources.
European Developers Propose Offshore Wind in New York and Massachusetts
Areas in New England just outside of those that have been earmarked for offshore wind development have attracted interest from German developer PNE Wind AG and Norway developer Statoil ASA.
The sites are south of Long Island in New York and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The two companies want the U.S. government to open these sites for offshore development.
Both requests were unsolicited and a continued sign of interest in offshore wind in the Atlantic coast. Statoil already has another project slated in the area after purchasing the development rights.
So far, the U.S. government has awarded 12 leases for wind projects.
EmberClear Proposes 1.1 GW Gas Plant in Illinois
EmberClear Corp. has unveiled plans for a gas-fired power plant to be constructed near Pawnee. If approved, construction would begin next year with production starting in the summer of 2021.
The proposal is seeking an expansion of enterprise zone tax breaks near the site, though it’s only one step in the process, said John Kinnamon, vice president of the Midwest Region for EmberClear told the State Journal-Register.
“The enterprise zone is just a start. It by no means makes the project a certainty,” he said. “There are a whole lot of things that have to happen before we get to that point.”
The company has scheduled an open house on the project, which was requested by county officials, for next Tuesday.
Solar Posts Record Growth, Set to Triple Through 2022
The Solar Energy Industries Association reported record-breaking U.S. solar growth in 2016, with nearly double the growth of the previous record.
Utilities, commercial entities and residential projects installed 14.76 GW of solar last year, driven mostly by utility-scale developments.
Additionally, the association noted the total U.S. solar market should nearly triple in size over the next five years, though installations are expected to dip 10 percent this year to 13.2 GW. That decline still puts new solar development at 75 percent more than in 2015.
The association blamed the dip on a large number of utility-scale developments scheduled for completion before the original expiration of the federal Investment Tax Credit, which has been extended.
The cost of solar photovoltaic systems fell 20 percent in 2016, the biggest yearly decline since GTM Research started tracking data.
Carbon Emissions from Generation Fall Below Transportation Emissions
A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicates carbon dioxide emissions for power generation have fallen below emissions from the transportation sector for the first time since the late 1970s.
Electric power CO2 emissions fell to 1,803 million metric tons from October 2015 through September 2016, continuing a 10-year downward trend.
Transportation CO2 emissions rose slightly to 1,893 million metric tons during the same time period.
Power emissions mostly come from coal and natural gas-fired electric generators, with coal generation running from 206 to 229 pounds per million British thermal units, depending on the type of coal used.
Natural gas emits an average of 117 pounds per million British thermal units, as it requires less fuel to generate electricity.
Wind Energy Supplied 5.5 Percent of U.S. Demand in 2016
Wind power accounted for 5.5 percent of all electricity consumed nationwide, up from 4.7 percent in 2017. Total wind generation reached 226 million MWh during 2016.
Additionally, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma and North Dakota all generated more than 20 percent of their electricity from wind, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
With a total new wind turbine investment of $13.8 billion, the U.S. now has a fleet of over 52,000 turbines operating in 40 states, the American
Wind Energy Association reported. In total, 14 states produced over 10 percent of their electricity from wind, and 20 generated over five percent.
New Mexico had the fastest wind growth, as the increase of 73 percent brought the state to a 10.9 percent share of wind generation.
Georgia Power Cancels Study for New Nuclear Plant
Georgia Power has cancelled a study for a potential new power plant near Columbus.
In a letter to the Georgia Public Service Commission, the utility indicated the study wouldn’t be needed as soon as expected, and that it intends to pursue a new nuclear generation option, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The decision does not affect development of new nuclear reactors at the Vogtle plant near Augusta, which is three years behind schedule and $3 billion over budget.
Reactors for the Votgle expansion are currently expected to be provided from Westinghouse. Toshiba, the parent company of Westinghouse, recently announced it would halt all future nuclear construction after a $6.3 billion loss in its nuclear sector, though the company promised to finish any nuclear projects currently under way, including Vogtle.
GE Provides Turbine, Financing for Pennsylvania Combined-Cycle Plant
GE announced it will provide a single-shaft engineered equipment package, including a high-efficiency 7HA.02 gas turbine, for Ares EIF’s Birdsboro Power combined-cycle power plant under construction in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania.
The deal for the plant, expected to produce 488 MW upon commercial operation in 2019, also includes financing from GE Capital. The Birdsboro Power project was developed by EmberClear Corporation, and the order includes one 7HA.02 gas turbine, one D650 steam turbine, one heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), plant controls and additional equipment. The gas turbine will be manufactured in Greenville, South Carolina, and the steam turbine in Schenectady, New York.