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Georgia Power Plans 1,600 MW of Additional Solar Through 2021

Georgia Power announce plans to add up to 1,600 MW of additional solar power to the state through 2021.

The company has already installed 846 MW of solar capacity, including more than two million solar panels, through the end of last year.

The largest additions in 2016 included four solar developments totaling 120 MW at various military bases, with an additional 30 MW project under construction at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, and power purchase agreements with hundreds of other small, medium and large-scale installations across the state.

"We continue to focus on introducing new products, services and programs that bring renewable energy to our state without putting upward pressure on rates and ensuring 24/7 reliability for customers," said Norrie McKenzie, vice president of renewable development for Georgia Power.

Tesla Completes Energy Storage Project for Southern California Edison

Tesla has completed a 20-MW energy storage system that will ensure reliability for Southern California Edison's grid.

The battery storage system includes two 10-MW systems, each of which contain 198 Tesla Powerpacks and 24 inverters. This system allows it to be connected to two separate circuits at the Mira Loma substation.

SCE selected Tesla for the project during a competitive bid in September.

The California Public Utilities Commission ordered SCE to ramp up its use of energy storage to help make up for the loss of natural gas storage at Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon storage facility due to a massive leak.

China to Overtake U.S. in Nuclear Production Within a Decade

Though the United States currently has the most nuclear power production, new research indicates China could become the top nuclear producer by 2026.

China is slated to nearly triple its nuclear capacity to just short of 100 GW by 2026, Bloomberg reported from a study by BMI Research.

China added 8 GW of nuclear power last year, bringing the country to a current total of 34 GW. The country now has 20 reactors under construction, with another 176 either planned or proposed, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Georgina Hayden, head of energy and renewable research at BMI, said that China could also develop the ability to export nuclear capabilities and technology abroad.

Bloomberg noted China General Nuclear Power Corp. and China National Nuclear Corp., both of which are state-run, are seeking to sell and build nuclear power plants across the globe to help China with a slowing economy.

Wartsila to Supply Two 50-MW Power Plants for UK Projects

Wartsila announced the company will supply two 50-MW Smart Power Generation plants to Centrica for use in developments within the UK.

The plants, each based on five Wartsila 34SG engines running on natural gas, will be incorporated into facilities at Brigg in northeast Lincolnshire and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. The plants are expected to enter operation in 2018.

"Centrica's decision to go with our technology is a testament to the fact that our Smart Power Generation technology plays a key role in the UK power system," said Bent Iversen, Business Development Manager at Wartsila Energy Solutions. "It shows that flexibility is needed and rewarded by the market."

Including these plants, Wartsila now has over 250 MW of power generation in the UK.

Entergy Breaks Ground on St. Charles Power Plant

Entergy held an official groundbreaking for its 980-MW St. Charles Power Station in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.

The $869 million facility is being built to replace other aging facilities, and should become operational in mid-2019, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

Additionally, the St. Charles Power Station will help meet growing power needs due to various new chemical industry and manufacturing infrastructure developments.

Construction will employ 700 workers, while the finished power plant will employ 27 permanently. Entergy will pass on construction cost to its customers, who will see an average monthly bill increase of $1.92 starting in 2020.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems will supply two digitally-enhanced M501GAC gas turbines for the station.

AEP Completes Sale of Four Power Plants

American Electric Power announced it has completed the sale of four competitive power plants to Lightstone Generation LLC, a joint venture of Blackstone and an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners.

The sale, announced Sept. 14, includes 5,200 MW of generation capacity for $2.1 billion.

The plants include:

  • Lawrenceburg Generating Station, 1,186 MW natural gas, Lawrenceburg, Indiana
  • Waterford Energy Center, 840 MW natural gas, Waterford, Ohio
  • Darby Generating Station, 507 MW natural gas, Mount Sterling, Ohio
  • Gen. James M. Gavin Plant, 2,665 MW coal, Cheshire, Ohio

Ten Nuclear Plants Came Online in 2016, 55 under construction

Ten new nuclear reactors came online in 2016, half of which were in China, according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

Of the remaining five, one each were in India, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. The new Watts-Bar 2 reactor by the Tennessee Valley Authority was activated 43 years after the start of construction, which is a world record in project longevity.

Including shutdowns of two reactors, including the Fort Calhoun reactor, and the restart of two Japanese reactors, there are now 406 operating nuclear reactors in the world, up from 396 one year ago. The United States still has the largest operating fleet at 99.

Only three new reactors broke ground in 2016, two in China and one in Pakistan. Eight began construction in 2015.

Currently 55 reactors are under construction in 13 countries, with 35 of them behind schedule. China alone has 21 reactors under development.

Siemens Installs 8-MW Wind Turbine Prototype

Siemens announced it has installed the latest version of its offshore direct-drive wind turbine at a test center in Østerild, Denmark.

The SWT-8.0-154 prototype can generate 8 MW with its 154-meter rotor, and was installed on a steel tower with a hub height of 120 meters.

After mechanical and electrical testing, final certification should come in 2018. The prototype already received safety certification from DNV GL earlier this month.

Now, Siemens enters the final development phase for the new turbine, which allows for 10 percent higher annual energy production than the 7 MW model. The higher rating will be achieved with only a few component upgrades, including a new cooling concept and new control systems.

Natural Gas Generation to Spike Through 2018

Utilities are planning to add 11.2 GW of natural gas capacity in 2017 and 25.4 GW in 2018, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Should the plants come online as planned, these additions would be the highest since 2005, and represent a capacity increase of eight percent.

The additions could help natural gas retain its title as the primary energy source for power generation in the long term, even if natural gas prices rise moderately as expected.

The upcoming construction follows a five-year trend of net reductions in coal capacity. From 2011 to 2016, coal lost 47.2 GW of capacity, representing 15 percent of the total fleet. These retirements and conversions of coal to natural gas comes due to environmental regulations and the sustained low cost of natural gas. Prices fell from an average of $5 per million BTU in 2014 to $2.78 per million BTU in October 2016.

New York's First Offshore Wind Project Approved

The Long Island Power Authority has approved a plan to build New York state's first offshore wind farm 30 miles east of Montauk.

LIPA signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Deepwater Wind LLC, the developer of the 90-MW, 15-turbine wind project, the Wall Street Journal reported. Construction on the $740 million project will start in 2020 with operations expected to begin in 2022.

Thomas Falcone, CEO of the Long Island Power Authority, said the Deepwater development won't be the last or largest offshore wind development built near New York.

The Deepwater development was announced during New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's call for the addition of 2.4 GW of offshore wind development earlier this month.

That goal, to be met by 2030, would also include an 800-MW, 79.000-acre wind project 17 miles south of the Rockaway Peninsula. Statoil Wind US LLC won the rights from the U.S. government to lease the area for wind energy in December.

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