August’s top stories: Hurricane Isaac causes blackouts as US halts nuclear plans

3 September 2012 (Last Updated September 3rd, 2012 18:30)

While Hurricane Isaac cut power supply in the US, the UK revived plans for the Severn tidal project. Power-technology wraps up the key headlines from August 2012.

August’s top stories: Hurricane Isaac causes blackouts as US halts nuclear plans

Oil companies to build solar project in Bahrain

solar

Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and the National Oil & Gas Authority joined forces with US-based Petra Solar to build a new 5MW solar energy project in Bahrain.

Using smart grid technology, the project will provide energy to a number of locations in the region, including BAPCO's Awali Township and the University of Bahrain.

The Bahrain Economic Development Board, which has been closely involved in the development of the project, has assisted Petra Solar in establishing a base in Bahrain.

US regulator freezes all nuclear power plant licensing decisions

nuclear

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) put 19 nuclear reactor licensing decisions on hold after the US Court of Appeals ruled that spent nuclear fuel stored on the site of power plants poses a dangerous long-term health and environmental risk.

The court invalidated the US NRC's 2010 updates to the Waste Confidence Rule and the Temporary Storage Rule and directed the commission to fully comply with federal law.

In response to the court's decision, the NRC put froze nine construction and operating licenses, eight license renewals, one operating license and one early site permit.

South Africa to receive $2bn loan for clean energy projects

SA

The US Government, through the US Export-Import Bank, said it will provide up to $2bn in loans to South Africa to fund clean energy projects involving American companies.

A formal agreement for the 18-year loan period was signed on 7 August by officials from both the US and South Africa.
Ex-Im Bank is open in over 180 countries and has identified nine key markets that offer substantial potential for US exports.

UK plans wetland biomass competition to boost bio-energy

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced the launch of a competition, in collaboration with UK wetland managers, to encourage the use of biomass arising from ongoing wetland management activities for bio-energy.

As part of this initiative, the department will provide funding to projects that develop and demonstrate an efficient bio-energy system capable of optimising existing wetland management activities and utilise biomass such as reeds, rushes, grasses and fen.

Irish renewable targets call for €5bn investment: Report

Ireland needs a further €5bn of capital investment between now and 2020 to meet its renewable energy targets, according to a report from Irish stockbrokers Davy.

The construction of 3GW-3.5GW of onshore wind power is required by the country to meet its 2020 European Union (EU) climate change targets.

Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have set targets to generate 40% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Corlan Hafren consortium to revive Severn tidal power project

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The Corlan Hafren consortium unveiled plans to revive the abandoned Severn tidal power project in the UK, a development with the potential of producing 5% of Britain's power.

The plans proposed by four developers, which include Arup and Mott MacDonald, call for harnessing tidal energy from the Severn estuary between England and Wales.

Under the plans, a barrage would use sluice gates to channel water, which will turn turbines as it flows inland during high-tide and back out during low-tide.

GeoGlobal Energy makes geothermal advancements in Chile

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A geothermal field discovered in Chile could be a game-changer for power output in the country, GeoGlobal Energy Chile (GGE Chile) has said.

The company has successfully completed its exploratory drilling programme on the on the northwestern flank of the Tolhuaca mountain and reported that flow tests lasting more than 45 days demonstrated that the production and injection wells are capable of supporting commercial power production.

One of the wells, Tolhuaca No. 4, is said to be the most productive geothermal well ever drilled in South America.

Hurricane Isaac causes power outages along US Gulf Coast

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Homes and businesses along the US Gulf Coast were cut off from electricity supplies on 29 August after Hurricane Isaac hit the region.

At 5am local time, 409,000 people were without power in Louisiana and thousands more experienced blackouts in Mississippi.

The slow-moving storm prevented Louisiana utilities from sending teams out to assess the damage.