Weekend reads - Smart Energy Decisions

Distributed Energy Resources, Microgrids, Regulation, Distributed Generation, Regulation  -  March 25, 2017

Weekend reads: Coal mine reuses; Westinghouse bankruptcy looms; blockchain's grid uses & more

Every Saturday, we'll bring you five of the most interesting — or quirky; it is the weekend after all — energy stories from around the web that you may have missed this week. This weekend's reads: 

Toshiba decides on Westinghouse bankruptcy, sees $9 billion in charges: sources (Reuters): Japan's Toshiba Corp. has informed its main lenders it is planning for U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC to file for bankruptcy on March 31, people briefed on the matter said on Friday. Toshiba expects a Chapter 11 filing for Westinghouse would expand charges related to the U.S. unit in the current financial year to around 1 trillion yen ($9 billion) from its publicly flagged estimate of 712.5 billion yen, the people also said.

How Utilities Are Using Blockchain to Modernize the Grid (Harvard Business Review): In New York state, neighbors are testing their ability to sell solar energy to one another using blockchain technology. In Austria, the country’s largest utility conglomerate, Wien Energie, is taking part in a blockchain trial focused on energy trading with two other utilities. Meanwhile in Germany, the power company Innogy is running a pilot to see if blockchain technology can authenticate and manage the billing process for autonomous electric-vehicle charging stations.

Greens launch ad campaign against EPA cuts (The Hill): A environmental group has launched a six-figure ad campaign against proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  An ad from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) says cutting the agency's budget will lead to "more asthma attacks, more lead in drinking water, more health problems, more pollution." It warns lawmakers to "be ready" to be held responsible for those issues should they vote to cut the EPA's budget.

How to Make Electricity in a Disused Coal Mine (Bloomberg): A coal-mine that powered German industry for almost half a century will get a new lease on life when it's turned into a giant battery that stores excess solar and wind energy. The state of North-Rhine Westphalia is set to turn its Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine into a 200 megawatt pumped-storage hydroelectric reservoir, which acts like a battery and will have enough capacity to power more than 400,000 homes, said state governor Hannelore Kraft.

As Trump administration grants approval for Keystone XL pipeline, an old fight is reignited (The Washington Post): President Trump announced Friday morning the granting of a permit for construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, calling it "the first of many infrastructure projects" that he would approve in order to put more Americans to work. Trump said that "government too often failed its citizens and companies over the past long period of time. Today we begin to make things right." The $8 billion project would span 1,200 miles, connecting Alberta's massive tar sands crude with pipelines and refineries on the Texas gulf coast that are particularly well-suited to handling the thick oil.

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