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March 2, 2018

Energy – SciPol Weekly, February 24 – March 2

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Government 

Greentech Media – Trump Claims Solar Tariffs Are ‘Reopening Plants.’ They’re Not

President Trump touted a claim that his new solar import tariffs have been successful at bringing back U.S. solar manufacturing in a meeting with a group of governors at the White House on Monday. The problem with the president's statements is that they're only partially true. 

Reuters – Energy Department review led to delays at green projects: GAO

Green energy technology development projects suffered staffing and investment problems last year due to a Trump administration review of Energy Department funding for companies and universities, a federal government report said on Wednesday.

The Hill – Trump's plan for Energy Star sparks industry uproar

President Trump is facing strong opposition in his drive to eliminate federal funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) popular Energy Star program. In his budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2019, Trump asked lawmakers to eliminate the $42 million in federal funding for the program. 

The New York Times – Contractors Are Leaving Puerto Rico, Where Many Still Lack Power

Though hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans remain in the dark five months after a devastating hurricane trampled the island’s power grid, the federal government has begun to scale back the number of contractors it has working to get the lights back on.

Industry

Greentech Media – World’s First Floating Offshore Wind Farm Achieves 65% Capacity Factor After 3 Months

Statoil recently announced that its pioneering offshore floating wind farm, Hywind Scotland, achieved an astounding 65 percent capacity factor from November through January. Not only does this far surpass onshore wind farms it bests America’s thermal power generators. EIA data suggests coal and natural-gas combined-cycle power plants will end 2017 with capacity factors in the 54 percent to 55 percent range.

Pacific Business News – KIUC breaks ground on Hawaii's largest solar-plus-storage system

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and AES Distributed Energy held a groundbreaking on Thursday for the Lawai solar and energy storage project on the Garden Isle's south shore. The project will consist of a 28 megawatt solar photovoltaic system along with a 100 megawatt-hour energy storage component, which will deliver peak power for up to five hours.

Reuters – How General Electric gambled on fossil fuel power, and lost

 Last March, executives at General Electric Co’s power-plant business gave Wall Street a surprisingly bullish forecast for the year. Despite flat demand for new natural gas power plants, they said, GE Power’s revenue and profit would rise. But GE’s forecast turned out to be a mirage.

RTO Insider – Expert Sees ‘Extreme Uptick’ in Cyber Attacks on Utilities

The cybersecurity expert whose firm discovered the malware that caused blackouts in Ukraine in 2016 told state regulators that hackers targeting the U.S. electric industry are growing more numerous and more skilled.

Other

Motherboard – The US Could Supply 80 Percent of Its Energy with Wind and Solar

A new report out today in Energy and Environmental Science shows that a conversion to an 80 percent solar and wind-based energy system is possible in the United States, but it will require a significant advancement in energy storage technologies or hundreds of billions of dollars invested in renewable energy infrastructure.

The New York Times – Lower Oil Prices Force Saudis to Widen Their Circle of Friends

Saudi Arabia has long been the dominant force in oil, leaving the world at the mercy of its ambitions and its interests. Now the kingdom must refresh its strategy to reflect a weaker hand — and in many ways, a different game.

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