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Renewables now account for 24% of US’ total energy generation capacity

Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) strongly dominated new US energy generation capacity additions in 2020, according to the SUN DAY Campaign of data released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Combined, renewables accounted for 22,451MW, or more than three-quarters (78.09%) of the 28,751MW of new utility-scale capacity reported to have been added last year.

Wind (13,626MW) and solar (8,543MW) each contributed more new energy generation capacity than did natural gas (6,259 MW).

FERC’s latest monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update” report (with data through December 31, 2020) also reveals that natural gas accounted for 21.77% of the total, with very small contributions by coal (30MW), oil (6MW), and “other” sources (5MW) providing the balance. There were no new capacity additions by nuclear power or geothermal energy during the year.

Hydro Review: Commercializing a New Small Hydropower Technology

Natel Energy has developed a new small hydropower turbine technology that offers an environmentally friendly and compact, modular hydro generation system. This article discusses the technology and its potential future applications.

By Lise Houston

Natel Energy in Alameda, Calif., is dedicated to advancing hydropower technology to make it more environmentally friendly and cost-effective, as well as flexible enough to be a go-to source of power for operators in rivers of all sizes throughout the U.S. and around the world. With a name appropriately coined from the phrase “natural electric,” Natel is focused on enabling a distributed or decentralized hydropower model featuring systems of smaller projects-– that maintain river connectivity – networked together as “virtual power plants” or VPPs, as opposed to the current approach of large centralized dams, which can be damaging to wildlife and the adjacent ecosystem.

Founded by Gia Schneider and Abe Schneider, siblings who gained a deep appreciation for the power of rivers and the beauty of their ecosystems during family camping and fishing trips as children, Natel is advancing its vision of “Restoration Hydro,” combining low environmental impact with high economic value. This can be a boon to organizations looking to decarbonize their operations further and transition to a low- or zero-carbon grid.

SUEZ & Wheelabrator Sign Four Long-Term Waste to Energy Fuel Supply Deals

SUEZ and Wheelabrator Technologies U.K., a waste to energy specialist, have signed four long term contracts to supply three proposed new energy recovery plants with over 500,000 tonnes per year of feedstock.

Environmental services firm SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, and Wheelabrator Technologies U.K., a waste to energy specialist, have signed four long term contracts to supply three proposed new energy recovery plants with over 500,000 tonnes per year of feedstock.

The partnership will see SUEZ supply Wheelabrator U.K.’s proposed waste to energy facilities at Multifuel Energy Limited Skelton Grange in Leeds, Wheelabrator Kelvin in West Bromwich, and Wheelabrator Kemsley North in Kent with over 500,000 tonnes per year of residual waste left after recycling.

Together the contracts support SUEZ in creating value from waste and enhance the network of facilities needed to complete the move of its customers’ residual waste away from landfill. SUEZ currently diverts in excess of 2m tonnes per year residual waste away from landfill and this agreement positions the UK business for long-term growth.

Wind developers are retrofitting newer projects with bigger, better blades

Xcel Energy recently received approval to repower a pair of wind farms originally built in 2015 to take advantage of improved technology and expiring tax credits.

Utilities and developers are repowering wind turbines with bigger, better blades years ahead of the end of their original life expectancies as they look to take advantage of technology improvements and expiring federal tax credits.

Xcel Energy recently won approval for a $750 million plan to retrofit four wind farms in Minnesota and North Dakota, two of which were built in 2015. The oldest of the batch originally started generating power in 2008.

Wind farm contracts and decommissioning plans generally set life expectancies around 25 to 35 years. By repowering the projects long before that, utilities are able to boost output around 10% or more, adding power to the grid without facing fresh permitting or interconnection hurdles.

EDC selects turbine for 29-MW geothermal expansion project in the Philippines

Turboden S.p.A., a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group Company and provider of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology, said that the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) selected its turbine for the 29-MW Palayan Bayan geothermal expansion project.

The plant is to be built at the Bacon-Manito geothermal facility located in Luzon Island, Philippines.

EDC, a vertically integrated geothermal company signed a contract with Turboden to supply a new class binary power generation system to recover heat from a brine flow downstream of an existing flash plant. The project is expected to be operational by end 2022 and is part of overall efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from thermal power generation by replacing the local grid’s dependence on fossil fuels and other energy sources.