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Germans to pay slightly lower levy for renewable energy in 2019

Germany will cut a green energy surcharge on consumers’ electricity bills by 5.7 percent next year, but savings for households will be limited as other fees are expected to rise.

Germans pay the highest electricity bills in Europe as state-induced taxes and fees account for over 50 percent of power bills.

German power network operators (TSOs) said on Monday that revenues collected to support green electricity are high and wholesale market prices have risen, allowing renewables producers to rely less on subsidies.

Next year the surcharge under the renewable energy act (EEG) – a fee that accounts for over a fifth of energy bills – will fall to 6.405 euro cents (7.4 US cents) per kilowatt hour (kWh), from 6.792 cents this year, TSOs said in a statement.

That was a steeper cut than forecast by industry group BEE last week, but may be offset by rises in other levies such as those on use of transport grids.

“Consumers should not pin too much hope on noteworthy price cuts by their electricity suppliers,” said Arik Meyer, managing director of SwitchUp, an online service for supplier switches. Continue reading “Germans to pay slightly lower levy for renewable energy in 2019”

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Dubai solar park wins green energy prize

An artist’s impression of the third phase of the Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) Solar Park, awarded Solar Project of the Year. Courtesy: Masdar

A Dh50 billion solar park at the heart of Dubai’s drive to increase its use of renewable energy has won a global seal of approval.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) solar park – currently in the third phase of its development – has been named the 2018 Solar Project of the Year at the Asian Power Awards in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Abu Dhabi’s clean energy company Masdar is developing phase three of the solar park in partnership with Shua’a Energy 2.

The eco-friendly project is set be a significant contributor to the nation’s green energy strategy by 2020. Continue reading “Dubai solar park wins green energy prize”

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Energy Taiwan Highlights A Growing Renewable Energy Economy In Taiwan

Taiwan is physically located on a single island, but in the globalized economies of most modern nations, the focus on leveraging and strengthening its internal capabilities that locals are increasingly leveraging as a strength. The efficiencies and quality of local Taiwanese manufacturers in the solar and energy storage spaces were on full display at this years Energy Taiwan.

Energy Taiwan is the natural evolution of the predominantly solar-focused show last year into a more comprehensive show that put energy storage, wind and hydrogen fuel cell companies on display next to their silicon-cell based photovoltaic friends. This year’s show also highlights an increasing focus on Taiwan from global companies and countries looking to cash in on Taiwan’s sprint forward in a push to achieve its bold 2025 goals of deploying 5.5GW of new offshore wind capacity and 20GW of new solar installations.
Developers like Germany’s wpd, Denmark’s Ørsted and even utilities like EnBW joined the show to increase their exposure in the local market and to flesh out plans in support of the new offshore wind contracts awarded in April and June of this year. Continue reading “Energy Taiwan Highlights A Growing Renewable Energy Economy In Taiwan”

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Is Renewable Energy Ready to Topple Fossil Fuel’s Domination?

Heavy dependence on oil, gas, and coal may dissipate sooner than you think as the infrastructure matures around alternative sources like wind and solar. It seems like, in the near future, renewable-energy source technologies such as solar and wind power have a chance to surpass traditional fossil fuels in terms of usage. I mention solar and wind power because these energy generators seem to be more visible than other types of renewable energy. Being born and bred in Arizona, I’m certain that solar energy sits at the top of the list.

But, let’s step back and look at the big picture. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, renewable energy sources in 2017 collectively had a minor impact on the energy consumption in the United States (Fig. 1). Continue reading “Is Renewable Energy Ready to Topple Fossil Fuel’s Domination?”

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Massive solar project proposed in Maine

Next Phase Energy Services, an energy developer based in Casco, Maine, has submitted to the Hancock County Land Use Planning Commission a zoning change request to develop a 100 MW solar farm on 700 acres of undeveloped blueberry fields.

The project, if approved, would be the largest on the east coast north of Virginia, and would have more than 10 times the capacity of the state’s next-largest solar farm, located in Pittsfield.

In an article for the Bangor Daily News (BDN), Dave Fowler, president and owner of Next Phase referred to the potential farm as a “2020 project.” Fowler is a former senior land developer for First Wind, the company that developed the 51 MW Hancock wind farm, located about a mile from the proposed location.

Continue reading “Massive solar project proposed in Maine”

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India will soon be drinking Budweiser beer brewed using solar power

Late last year, Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev, the world’s largest brewer, announced its plans (pdf) to produce all its beer using renewable energy by 2025.

By moving to renewable power at such scale, AB InBev claimed it would annually source 6 terawatt-hours of electricity—the amount produced by 400 football fields of solar panels annually—from sustainable sources across markets where it has a presence.

On June 05, the company announced that it had kicked off its mission in India. AB InBev’s Mysuru plant that brews Budweiser beer will soon be powered up to 80% by solar energy, making it the company’s third facility globally to run on renewable power. Across the world, the company plans to buy between 75% and 85% of its electricity requirement through direct power-purchasing agreements. The remaining will come from on-site production facilities such as solar panels. Continue reading “India will soon be drinking Budweiser beer brewed using solar power”

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Europe is building more wind and solar — without any subsidies

The French electric utility Engie announced last week that it’s going to develop 300 megawatts of wind energy across nine wind farms in Spain, backed by $350 million (€300 million) in investment.

Here’s the key: It’s doing all this without government support. And it’s far from the only European energy company willing to make a bet like this.

In March, the Swedish power company Vattenfall announced it won its bid to build a 700 MW offshore wind farm in the Netherlands, which would make it the first nonsubsidized wind energy project in the land of windmills.

Over in Germany, in the country’s first competitive power auction last spring, the federal grid regulator accepted four bids for a total of 1,490 MW of offshore wind capacity in the North Sea, with an average subsidy rate of €0.44 per kilowatt-hour. That’s low. And why so low? Because one of the bidders, the Danish wind energy firm Dong (now Ørsted A/S), submitted a bid with a subsidy rate of zero. Continue reading “Europe is building more wind and solar — without any subsidies”

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Renewable Energy Jobs Top 10 Million Globally

Oil, natural gas, and coal may still be the dominant fuel sources in the world’s energy mix, but renewable energy is growing and creating more and more jobs worldwide.

In 2017, employment in renewable energy globally topped 10 million jobs for the first time ever, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said in its latest Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review on Tuesday.

Last year, the renewable energy sector created more than 500,000 new jobs worldwide, and the total number of people working in the clean energy industries increased by 5.3 percent to 10.3 million, driven by strong growth in Asia, and China in particular.

The pace of growth jumped compared to the previous year, when clean energy jobs had increased by 1.1 percent to 9.8 million. Continue reading “Renewable Energy Jobs Top 10 Million Globally”

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U.S. mulls allowing more wind, solar projects on federal lands

(Reuters) – The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is considering changes to a California desert plan that had set aside areas for renewable energy development, a move it says would promote more wind and solar projects on federal lands.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, in a statement on Thursday, said it would consider amending the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan as part of a broader federal effort to unwind regulations that impede energy development.

The process is also aimed at making more land available for wireless broadband infrastructure, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Katharine MacGregor said in the statement.

“We need to reduce burdens on all domestic energy development, including solar, wind and other renewables,” she said. Continue reading “U.S. mulls allowing more wind, solar projects on federal lands”

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Nearly all new US electricity capacity was renewable in 2017

Image: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Renewable energy played an important role in the US last year… although you might not want to cheer too loudly.

Data from both the Rhodium Group and the Energy Information Administration shows that solar and wind power represented 94.7 percent of the net new electricity capacity (15.8GW out of 16.7GW) added in 2017. However, that’s mainly because fossil fuel power continued to fade away. Electrek noted that plant closures removed 11.8GW of utility-scale fossil fuel power from the equation — this was more a testament to the decline of coal than a triumph for green tech.

In a sense, renewable energy was bound to face an uphill battle. Solar and wind power had a banner year in 2016 (16.7GW in new utility capacity), with solar power in particular setting a record for new installations. Unless that breakneck pace kept up, the 2017 figures were never going to be especially flattering. There was an important milestone, mind you. Solar and wind electricity surpassed a combined 10 percent of electricity use for the first time in March, so it’s clearly finding some use. Continue reading “Nearly all new US electricity capacity was renewable in 2017”