Dozens arrested over Puerto Rico coal ash dumping: Forty-one people, including a Senator, have been arrested attempting to block the dumping of coal ash in landfill sites in Puerto Rico by Applied Energy Services (AES), which operates coal plants in the US territory. In March it was revealed the Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority and the US Environmental Protection Agency had secretly agreed to drop a clause banning AES from dumping coal ash locally and requiring it to be exported from the island to continental US for disposal. (Telesur, OpenDemocracy)
Alberta to phase out coal plants by 2030: The Alberta government has announced it will pay Capital Power, TransAlta and ATCO a total of US$72 million a year from 2017 to 2030 to close all 18 power plants by 2030. All but six are scheduled to close or be converted to gas before 2030 anyway. The settlement was negotiated to avoid legal action by the companies over voided power purchase agreements. The government estimates the settlement will amount to a cost of less than US$7.5 per tonne of avoided emissions. (Globe and Mail, Government of Alberta)
Finland proposes 2030 deadline for coal: The Cabinet of Finland’s ruling centre-right government has amended its ‘Energy and Climate Strategy for 2030 and Beyond’ to include phasing out most coal power plants by 2030. (While widely reported as a 'ban', the Cabinet proposal would allow some continued coal generation.) Finland currently has 2119 megawatts (MW) in coal plant capacity. The government’s proposal will be submitted to parliament for ratification in December. (Independent, Reuters)
Senate committee urges Australian coal phase-out: An interim Senate committee report has recommended the “orderly” retirement of Australia’s fleet of 24 coal plants which produce about 63 per cent of the country’s electricity. The committee also recommended an independent agency be established to oversee the transition and ensure support for affected workers and communities. In a significant policy shift, the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) agreed to the phase-out. The Greens and the ALP had a majority on the committee while the members of the governing Liberal Party submitted a dissenting report. (Guardian, Parliament of Australia)
Trump appoints energy think tankers to transition team: Doug Domenech, the Director of the Fueling Freedom Project at the right-wing Texas Public Policy Foundation, has been appointed to head President-elect Donald Trump’s Department of Interior transition team. The Department of Interior oversees public land management, including coal leasing in the Powder River Basin. The foundation does not disclose its donors but has been tied to funding from Koch Industries and associated foundations. Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance – another group which has received Koch funding – has been appointed to head the Department of Energy transition team. (E&E News)
Indian utility surrenders coal allocation: Mahagenco, the major power generation company in Maharashtra state in western India, has bowed to public pressure and is seeking to surrender the Mahajanwadi coal allocation. The proposed mine, which would have displaced up to 50,000 people, has been opposed by a coalition of villagers and political parties. The state’s energy minister stated the relocation costs would have made the project unviable. (Times of India)
“I’m sceptical that there is a lot you can do to stop this coal plant replacement cycle from happening … Renewables are the cheapest form of new power in most of these markets [in the US],”
said Bryan Martin, a managing director at DE Shaw & Co, a major New York hedge fund.