India could get almost 60% of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources in ten years. The country’s 10-year energy blueprint expects that 57% of the country total electricity capacity will come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2027 . No new coal-fired power plants would be needed to meet this goal. About 240 million people in the country have no access to electricity. Air pollution has also been a motivating factor for India’s strong transition to renewable energy such as solar and wind. Indian cities are some of the most polluted in the world.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance says solar power is now the cheapest form of energy in 58 countries. (A list of the countries can be found here.)  The average price of solar energy in these countries dropped to US$1.65 million per megawatt during 2016, just below wind at US$1.66 million per megawatt. Solar prices have been dropping at national auctions, where private firms bid against each other in competitive markets for large electricity contracts. These auctions are becoming increasing popular as both Poland and Sri Lanka recently announced they would hold their first solar auctions. The lowest solar bid in the world is around US¢2.0/kWh.

Sri Lanka wants the share of renewable energy in its electric power generation to reach 60% by 2020 and 70% by 2030. To achieve this target, 600 megawatts of wind plants and 3 gigawatts of solar plants will be built within the next 10 years.

While China gets all the headlines, Forbes tells us to keep an eye on Chile, Brazil, Egypt, Taiwan and Kenya which will be at the forefront of renewable energy investment in 2017.

France claims it has opened the world’s first solar panel road. (see photo below) Located in the Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche, a 1 kilometre route is covered with 2,800 square metres of electricity-generating panels. The panels have been covered with a resin containing fine sheets of silicon, making them tough enough to withstand all traffic. It will be used by about 2,000 motorists a day during a two-year test period to determine if it can generate enough electricity to power street lighting in the village of 3,400 residents. However, the cost of the road has its critics as solar panels laid on flat surfaces have been found to be less efficient than those installed on sloping areas such as roofs. Moreover, Normandy enjoys just 44 days of strong sunshine a year compared with 170 in the south of France.

 

 

The western US city of Las Vegas announced it’s city government is now powered 100% by renewable energy. The goal was reached when a new 100-megawatt solar plant located just outside the city commenced operations last week. The city is now able to buy enough carbon-free electricity to power its 140 buildings, streetlights and other facilities. The power comes from solar installations and hydroelectric turbines including the Hoover Dam.”  Forbes, correctly, noted that media outlets around the world thought the entire city was now running on renewables but this is impossible given the energy mix of the state of Nevada where natural gas supplies 70% of the electricity for the state and three-quarters of the state’s population lives in the Las Vegas area.

The European Commission announced it will oversee all European government agreements relating to natural gas and crude oil in an effort to create a single energy market and lessen reliance on Russian natural gas. The European Union energy commissioner said this action would guarantee that no energy agreement jeopardises the security of supply of oil and gas in an EU country. EU states have some 124 energy-related intergovernmental agreements with other countries.

The ocean electric power sector is still in its early stages of development, facing high development and operational costs. POWER looks at the state of ocean energy.  See also When will our electricity come from the sea?

 

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