Weekend reads: Coal mines play new clean energy role; zero-emission fossil power; - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Storage, GHG Emissions, Regulation, Distributed Generation, Regulation, Solar, Wind  -  May 27, 2017

Weekend reads: Emissions-free fossil power; miners courted for wind jobs; new clean energy bills & 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:

Old Coal Mines Have a Place in the Future of Clean Energy (Bloomberg): Ben Chafin sees the future of clean energy in abandoned coal shafts. The Virginia state senator, whose Appalachian district is pockmarked with empty mines, pushed through legislation in April that encourages companies to transform those tunnels into giant storage devices to hold vast amounts of renewable power. The idea, which Dominion Energy Inc. has been studying, is to fill mines with water and then use electricity from wind and solar farms to pump it up to a reservoir on the surface. When utilities need power, operators open floodgates, letting water gush back into turbines on its way down.

Wind Project in Wyoming Envisions Coal Miners as Trainees (The New York Times): Goldwind Americas, an arm of a leading wind-turbine manufacturer based in China, has been expanding its business in the United States. It has been careful to seek out local, American workers for permanent jobs on the wind farms it supplies. Now it is trying to extend that policy to an unlikely place: Wyoming, which produces more coal than any other state and has hardly welcomed the march of turbines across the country, even imposing a tax on wind-energy generation.

Tucson Electric signs solar + storage PPA for 'less than 4.5¢/kWh' (Utility Dive): Tucson Electric Power has signed a power purchase agreement for a solar-plus-storage system at "an all-in cost significantly less than $0.045/kWh over 20 years," according to a company official. Exact prices are confidential, but a release pegged the PPA for the solar portion of the project at below $0.03/kWh. If the pricing proves accurate, it would represent a major cost reduction for combined storage facilities since the signing of the last significant PPA — a $0.11/kWh Hawaii contract in January.

Goodbye smokestacks: Startup invents zero-emission fossil fuel power (Science): Between the energy hub of Houston, Texas, and the Gulf Coast lies a sprawling petropolis: a sea of refineries and oil storage tanks, power lines, and smokestacks, all dedicated to converting fossil fuels into dollars. They are the reason why the Houston area emits more carbon dioxide (CO2) than anyplace else in the United States. But here, on the eastern edge of that CO2 hot spot, a new fossil fuel power plant showcases a potential remedy for Houston's outsized greenhouse gas footprint.

From storage incentives to rules on windmills, energy measures advance to governor (Las Vegas Sun): Lawmakers gave final approval to several energy bills that will now make their way to the governor. The Assembly passed the measures Monday to incentivize customers to install solar energy storage systems, research possible targets for utility companies to procure energy storage systems, and make it easier for residents to put up windmills.

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