Santee Cooper May Sell Summer Nuclear Project
State-owned Santee Cooper could get a new owner – and that owner could revive the cancelled Summer nuclear expansion.
Both South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Santee Cooper officials told the Post and Courier they’re undergoing separate searches for buyers. McMaster said interested parties could be Duke Energy, Dominion Energy and Southern Power.
Southern Power, through its subsidiary Georgia Power, is currently assessing whether to continue construction of its own nuclear expansion at the Vogtle plant. Both Vogtle and Summer are over-budget and behind schedule, and both lost their main contractor when Westinghouse Electric filed for bankruptcy.
Santee Cooper indicated it is only looking for a buyer for its 45 percent share of the two unfinished reactors at Summer, and has found two unidentified interested parties. South Carolina Electric & Gas owns the remainder.
Talen Will Keep Coal-Fired Colstrip Open
Though the end of the coal-fired Colstrip Power Plant was once rapidly approaching, the owners of the 2,100-MW plant have changed course and will keep it open, at least for now.
Spokesmen for some of the six utilities that co-own the plant have said they have accepted Talen’s offer to keep the plant open, the Billings Gazette reported. However, the final details have yet to be worked out.
The reversal comes after a 2016 decision that it was “not economically viable” to keep operating Colstrip, and January filings that indicated co-owner Talen Energy would cease operating Colstrip Units 3 and 4 by mid-2018.
Coal Generation to Surpass Gas in 2017
The latest short-term energy outlook from the Energy Information Administration indicated coal is still on track to surpass natural gas generation for 2017, with total shares of almost 32 percent and 31 percent, respectively.
That near-tie comes after natural gas generated 34 percent of the nation’s power in 2016, with coal finishing at 30 percent.
However, the projected generation shares for coal and natural gas for 2018 are now nearly identical, averaging between 31 percent and 32 percent.
Overall U.S. generation is expected to decline by 1.2 percent in 2017 as a result of milder than normal temperatures in the third quarter.
Rhode Island Establishes New Laws Supporting Renewables
Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo signed into law a number of bills that would support the growth of renewable energy in the state.
The laws include:
- A 10-year extension of the renewable energy growth program
- A streamlined permitting application for solar
- A streamlined process for connecting renewable energy to the grid
- The ability for farmers to install renewable energy on up to 20 percent of their total acreage
- An expansion of virtual net metering for renewable project development
Goldwind Provides 60 MW to One Energy for DG
Goldwind Americas announced it will supply One Energy Enterprises with 60 MW of Goldwind turbines for distributed generation wind power projects in the U.S. as part of One Energy’s Wind for Industry model.
The first four turbines will be installed in Whirlpool Corp. facilities in Mario and Ottawa, Ohio.
“Manufacturers are taking control of their energy future,” said Jereme Kent, Chief Executive Officer of One Energy Enterprises. “They want clean energy, they want low fixed rates, and they want it now; and that is exactly what we give them.”
California Offers $44.7 Million in Grants for Microgrids
The California Energy Commission issued a $44.7 million RFP for microgrid programs.
The intent is to develop microgrid designs that can be put into continual service and drive down future development costs. The commission had previously offered $26.5 million in 2014, resulting in seven microgrid demonstration projects.
Of the $44.7 million, $22 million is allocated to military bases, ports and Native American tribes, $11.7 million will go to disadvantaged communities and $11 million for other locations, including rural areas, educational facilities and industrial complexes.
Individual grants will range from $2 million to $7 million, though winners will need to provide 20 to 25 percent of the funds for the project.
Falling Battery Prices to Accelerate Storage Installations
A new report by IHS Markit indicates prices for lithium-ion battery storage will fall below $200 per kilowatt hour by 2019.
That drop, a full 70 percent since 2012, will cause energy storage use to surge as applications become more economical.
The report indicated storage capacity will grow from 4 GW today to 52 GW by 2025.
Annual growth is expected to grow from 1.3 GW last year to 4.7 GW by 2020 and 8.8 GW by 2025. In turn, revenue will increase from $1.5 billion last year to $7 billion in 2025.
AES Begins Construction of California Gas Plant
AES Alamitos, a subsidiary of the AES Corporation, began construction the 640-MW gas-fired Alamitos Energy Center.
The plant, which will include a 100-MW battery energy storage system, will replace the existing AES Alamitos Generating Station in Long Beach, California.
“We’re excited to move forward to the construction phase of this important project and look forward to working with the community every step of the way,” said Stephen O’Kane, president of AES Alamitos Energy LLC.
Wind Power Represented 27 Percent of New Capacity in 2016
A new report from the Department of Energy indicated 8,200 MW of wind capacity was established nationwide in 2016, representing 27 percent of all new capacity added that year.
Last year, wind supplied six percent of all U.S. electricity, with 14 states now generating more than 10 percent of their electricity from wind. Iowa and South Dakota produce more than 30 percent from wind. Texas leads the nation in terms of total capacity with over 2 GW of wind.
Wind prices, established through power purchase agreements, are cost-competitive with traditional power sources in many parts of the nation.
The Energy Department said near-term growth is supported by production tax credits, state-level policies and improvements of both the cost and performance of wind power technology. Offshore wind has grown as well, with 20 projects totaling 24,135 MW are in development.
DTE Energy Proposes 1,100-MW Gas Plant in Michigan
DTE Energy proposed an 1,100-MW gas plant to be constructed in East China Township, Michigan.
The nearly $1 billion project is currently scheduled to break ground in 2019 and come online in 2022. DTE, which has filed a certificate of necessity with the Michigan Public Service Commission seeking approval, said the plant is part of the company’s goals to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent in the early 2020s and 80 percent by 2050.
DTE said the proposed plant will be the most efficient plant in the state.
Judge: TVA Must Remove Coal Ash at Gallatin Plant
A federal judge ordered the nation’s largest public utility to dig up its coal ash at a Tennessee power plant and move it to a lined waste site where it doesn’t risk further polluting the Cumberland River.
U.S. District Judge Waverly Crenshaw ruled in favor of the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association and the Tennessee Clean Water Network, saying coal ash storage at Tennessee Valley Authority’s Gallatin Plant has been letting pollutants seep into the river for decades in violation of the Clean Water Act.
As long as the coal ash remains at the plant about 40 miles from Nashville, dangers, uncertainties and conflicts will continue, Crenshaw wrote. However, he added that there’s scant evidence so far of concrete harm beyond the mere risk and presence of pollutants.
Texas Consumes 13 Percent of U.S. Energy
The latest State Energy Data System report from the Energy Information Administration indicated Texas recorded the greatest energy consumption in 2015 with 13 quadrillion Btu, or 13 percent of total U.S. energy consumption.
Texas has consumed the most energy in the nation every year since 1960, the earliest year for which EIA has data. California came in second with eight quadrillion Btu, or eight percent of total energy use. Louisiana, Florida and Illinois rounded out the top five, which together account for more than one-third of total energy use.
Additionally, total energy consumption by the top 10 exceeded the combined energy use of the other 40 states and the District of Columbia. Vermont, which has used less energy than any other state since 1961, came in at the lowest at 132 trillion Btu.