Guardian: South Australian Blackout Blamed on Thermal and Wind Generator Failures, Plus High Demand

A blackout in South Australia that has intensified a political brawl over energy policy was caused by three factors: Demand for power was higher than forecast, wind generation was lower than forecast, and several thermal generators were unable to step into the breach, according to the energy market operator.

As the partisan conflict about energy continued in Canberra on Wednesday, the Australian Energy Market Operator issued a report detailing the sequence that led to the blackout in South Australia last week -- the third such outage in recent months.

Aemo said load shedding became the only option available when it became clear a gas plant at Pelican Point was not available to respond to the surge in demand as local temperatures in South Aaustralia soared last week.

Windpower Monthly: How Did Wind Energy Perform Globally in 2016?

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has released its annual market statistics for 2016, when total global installed wind capacity reached nearly 487 GW.

Led by China, the U.S., Germany and India -- with surprisingly strong showings from France, Turkey and the Netherlands -- the global market was nonetheless less than 2015’s record total, says GWEC.

“Wind power continues to grow in double digits, but we can’t expect the industry to set a new record every single year,” comments Steve Sawyer, GWEC secretary general. “Chinese installations were an impressive 23,328 MW, although this was less than 2015’s spectacular 30 GW, which was driven by impending feed-in tariff reductions.

Vox: Trump Signs His First Significant Bill -- Killing a Transparency Rule for Oil Companies

President Donald Trump signed his first significant piece of legislation on Tuesday, repealing an Obama-era rule that forced energy and mining companies to disclose any payments they made abroad.

“This is a big signing,” Trump said, “a very important signing.”

That part’s...debatable. Outside of a few firms like ExxonMobil -- which once lobbied against the rule and whose former CEO Rex Tillerson is now Trump’s secretary of state -- it’s hard to find too many people overjoyed that this regulation is dead. The real significance here is that this marks the start of a big push by the Trump administration to roll back a wider array of federal regulations.

Los Angeles Times: Why Read a 5-Year-Old Book About ExxonMobil Now?

If you want a deeper understanding of what has been inaugurated in Washington, read Steve Coll’s Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. Rarely has a book been so profoundly and presciently relevant to events that would take place five years after its publication.

It is not just a book about a company -- incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s gargantuan, profit-spawning alma mater. It is the portrait of an ethos. And as the pattern of Cabinet appointees makes plain, this ethos has just been ushered out from behind any vestige of discretion to rule unabashed over the executive branch of our government.

Gizmodo: Elon Musk to 'Investigate' Tesla's Fremont Plant

Last Thursday, Tesla’s plant in Fremont, California -- where all the company’s cars are manufactured -- was thrown a curveball. Jose Moran, a worker trying to rally the plant’s 6,000+ employees to join the United Auto Workers union (UAW), alleged long hours, low pay, and potentially unsafe equipment in a post. Now Tesla CEO Elon Musk has told Gizmodo he intends to look into the situation.

“I’m doing an investigation right now,” Musk told Gizmodo over Twitter direct message. “Fremont production management was in poor shape and not able to scale about a year ago. I think we’ve made a lot of progress since then.” He said he intends to publish the results of this (exceedingly short?) probe later this week.