Energy News: US installs first wind farm, Brexit could delay coal closures

Aug. 23, 2016

With an operational start slated for the fall of 2016, the Block Island Wind Farm is anticipated to power approximately 17,000 homes.

Construction of first US wind farm completed

Installation of the Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., is complete. The five-turbine wind farm built by Deepwater Wind cost an estimated $300 million.

With an operational start slated for the fall of 2016, the project is anticipated to power approximately 17,000 homes.

The wind farm marks a major milestone in U.S. renewable energy sources and is likely to be followed by other, larger installments as offshore wind power is set to become the most preferred energy source in coming years.

Brexit could delay UK coal closures

U.K. coal plants, all scheduled for closure over the next decade, could remain open longer than planned due to trade issues arising from Britain’s exit (Brexit) from the European Union.

With the U.K currently in plans to triple the number of power cables in the area in combination with the Brexit and coal plant closures, the area is set to see energy deficits. Experts suggest the increased demand coupled with fewer resources and input as a result of the Brexit, could lead to the coal energy phase-out’s delay.

Wind turbines supply all electricity for a day in Scotland

Scotland’s wind turbines provided more than 39,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity on August 7, effectively covering the entire country’s power consumption (37,202 MWh) for one day and setting a new record.

Winds were exceedingly high, with the government issuing a weather warning and closure of bridges and trains, as speeds reaching 115mph winds in the turbine area. Renewables currently contribute more than half of all electricity in Scotland, and the country has a goal to use 100 percent renewable energy for electricity by 2020. It also aims to use renewables for at least half of all electricity, heat and transport by 2030.

Clean Power Plan individuality to likely affect electricity generation mix

Image courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration

In the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recent Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016), the organization found that flexibility of implementation of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) by individual states would likely affect the energy mix for electricity.

As a result, the AEO2016 includes multiple scenarios for the results of the CPP. Coal generation declines and hydroelectric and nuclear generation remain unchanged in all scenarios forecast over the next 25 years. The scenarios also tend to project major growth of solar and wind use, with other renewables also seeing more implementation. In most cases, natural gas sees increases.

Solar & wind will be ‘cheaper than new nuclear’ when Hinkley is complete

A new unpublished U.K. government report anticipates the cost of solar and wind power generation will be less expensive than new nuclear power generation by the time the government’s Hinkley Point C new nuclear power plant is complete in 2025.

The report by the energy department predicts new nuclear costs to be approximately £85-125/MWh versus £50-75/MWh or onshore wind power or solar power in 2025. Currently, renewable energy accounts for 25 percent of electricity production in the U.K, despite recent cuts to onshore wind and solar subsidies.

British Prime Minister Theresa May last month delayed the deal for Hinkley, with experts suggesting abandoning the planned plant would save the country billions.

Floating solar panels market expected to grow by CAGR 50 percent

A new report from Global Market Insights Inc. forecasts continued growth in the floating solar panels market, with an anticipated 50 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next eight years.

The largest positive impacts on the sector’s growth are carbon footprint policies, land scarcity, solar panel price reductions and growing demand for clean energy.

Offshore wind investment in Europe increases to $15.8B

In new research from WindEurope, figures show Europe has invested a record €14 billion ($15.8 billion) in seven offshore wind projects. The financing equals investment in 3.7GW of new clean energy capacity.

Approximately 75 percent of all investment was from the U.K., whose projects were worth €10.4 billion. The region also is expected to invest nearly €10 billion more over the next five years.

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