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Clean Economy Wire

November 24, 2014

(New York Times)
For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas. That day appears to be dawning.
(PV Tech)
The US is well within reach of a goal of sourcing 10 percent of its electricity needs from solar within 15 years, according to a coalition of environmental groups in the US. A study by Environment America Research & Policy Center said that even if solar in the US grew at only a third the rate at which it has in the past three years, it would reach 10 percent of the national energy mix by 2030.
(Greentech Media)
As the year winds down, powerful conservative groups are working feverishly to kill a potential tax package with extensions of renewable energy incentives. But that doesn't seem to worry some in the sector who remain optimistic that a favorable package will get through Congress in the lame-duck session.
(E&E Publishing)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. One technology giant on the forefront of renewable energy implementation has come out on why it rolled back its research and development while another, which has been largely inactive on the sustainability front, has just announced a new goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy use.
(The Record)
The state on Friday again rejected a pilot wind farm project off the New Jersey coast, arguing that the company's financial plan is unsound and would require a state subsidy so large it would make the energy produced too costly for ratepayers. The company vowed to appeal the state's decision in court.
A Chinese company offered 4.34 billion kroner ($640 million) to buy REC Solar ASA (RECSOL), one of the last makers of solar panels in Western hands, a move that may help circumvent trade disputes in the U.S. and Europe.
(Autoblog Green)
Do you notice those thin pink and salmon-colored lines representing plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles up in that chart up there? Yeah, it took us a while to spot them, too.
U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Motors is in talks with Germany's BMW over a possible alliance in batteries and light-weight components, Tesla's Chief Executive Elon Musk told German weekly Der Spiegel.

November 21, 2014

(The Hill)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) demanded that any tax extender package include the wind energy tax credit. "I'm concerned about rumors that some are working to leave out or shorten the extension of the wind energy tax credit," Grassley said on the Senate floor Thursday. "I agree the tax code has gotten too cluttered … but it doesn't mean we should pull the rug out from under domestic energy producers."
(Los Angeles Times)
Saying the project "would not be in the public interest," the Bureau of Land Management on Thursday denied a Spanish company's application for a controversial wind and solar farm in the Silurian Valley.
(Greentech Media)
Between 2012 and 2013, the amount of money invested globally in climate change mitigation and adaptation dropped by $28 billion. At a time when scientists say we need to start seeing a dramatic surge in zero-carbon energy sources, the drop seems like bad news.
Back in 2007, Google had a very simple idea for addressing global warming—we just need to take existing renewable-energy technologies and keep improving them until they were as cheap as fossil fuels. And, voila! Problem solved.
(New York Times)
While some dams in the United States and Europe are being decommissioned, a dam-building boom is underway in developing countries. It is a shift from the 1990s, when amid concerns about environmental impacts and displaced people, multilateral lenders like the World Bank backed away from large hydroelectric power projects.
(The Globe and Mail)
Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP, one of Canada's largest green energy firms, is dramatically expanding its Brazilian operations with the purchase of hydro, wind and biomass projects in that country. Brookfield is buying 488 megawatts of power-generating facilities fromEnergisa SA, a large Brazilian power distributor. The purchase will broaden Brookfield's Brazilian portfolio, which currently consists of 35 hydro-electric generating stations producing 670 MW of power.
China has sharply cut its output target for shale, signaling the country's drilling boom is fizzling out before it even gets going. The nation has reduced its goal for the end of the decade to a third of an earlier estimate, as difficult geology, lack of infrastructure and limited exploration rights conspire against shale-gas ambitions. Big gas import deals, a lower oil price and China's commitment to clean energy are also weighing on shale's promise.
(PV Tech)
The German solar industry association, BSW Solar, has created an extensive report on safety for lithium-ion battery-based energy storage systems for home use, and plans to publish an English language version next week.

November 20, 2014

Apple made the pledge. So did Google and Facebook. But Amazon stayed silent. Over the past few years, Apple, Google, and Facebook pledged to run their online empires on renewable energy, and considering how large these empires have become—how many data centers and machines are now required to keep them going—this was a vital thing. But despite pressure from the likes of Greenpeace, the environmental activism organization, the other big internet name, Amazon, didn't budge.
(New York Times)
Even as China's economy begins to cool, its hunger for energy is still climbing. So also is its capacity to generate power from multiple sources, ranging from coal and nuclear to wind, solar and hydroelectric.
(Fuel Fix)
The U.S. airline industry has made steady progress for years toward becoming more fuel efficient, but relying on older, fuel-guzzling aircraft has held it back from making further gains, according to a new report.
(Biomass Magazine)
The U.S. EPA has never before made such a clear and emphatic endorsement of biomass, commented Biomass Power Association President Bob Cleaves onrelease of the agency's updated biogenic emissions framework. At least not for the 15 years that BPA has been in existence, according to Cleaves. The framework comes nearly four years after EPA's initial assessment of biogenic emissions in the Tailoring Rule, which, back in 2010, set forth to regulate carbon emissions and did not exclude biomass.
Tony Hill moved from inner-city Canberra to a tree-filled valley five years ago to find serenity in the nearby Australian bush. Now he fears his idyllic vista will be marred by 50-storey-high wind turbines. "The first I heard of it was when I was handed a map that showed my property in the project area," Hill, 59, said on the back porch of his 100-acre property near the town of Tarago as he points at a ridge 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away.
(Clean Technica)
Amidst national policies in Australia that seem to be growing ever further from reality, the City of Melbourne and several other local councils and businesses have made a stand to attempt to divest themselves from Victoria's coal-fuelled energy grid.
(Midwest Energy News)
Minnesota is already well on track to meet a solar power goal established by the legislature last year, according to a report released today by Environment Minnesota Research & Policy Center. The state currently mandates that investor-owned-utilities produce 1.5 percent of their electricity by solar by 2020. The legislation includes a goal—but not a requirement—of producing 10 percent from solar by 2030.
(PV Tech)
Major PV energy provider SunPower has said it is to restructure operations with 85 to 115 jobs losses, primarily in Europe. Charges are expected to be in the range of U.S. $15 million to U.S. $25 million and be accounted for in the current fourth quarter.
(UT San Diego)
Rooftop solar companies are morphing into quasi-utilities as they sign up hundreds of thousands of customers to buy green energy for decades to come. Leading the way is SolarCity, which has seized one-third of the booming household solar market and booked $4.1 billion in future payments from its customers.

November 19, 2014

SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE) is about to become one of the largest renewable energy developers in the world with its $2.4 billion acquisition of First Wind. That means investors in its YieldCo, TerraForm Power (Nasdaq:TERP), will receive dividends from both solar and wind projects. Not only does First Wind develop wind projects, but recently it's entered utility-scale solar.
(StateImpact Texas)
The clean energy plan put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency aims to combat climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by power plants. But it may come at a price, according to a report released Monday by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the group that manages much of Texas electric grid.
The U.S. Exim Bank will give loans for as much as $1 billion to clean-energy projects in India, according to a statement on its website and a separate one by India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
A group of Melbourne councils are banding together to bypass the renewable policies of the state and federal governments and directly appeal to clean-energy providers.
(PV Tech)
Peru's Supervisory Agency for Investment in Energy and Mining has granted an award to renewable energy developer Ergon Power, for the installation of solar on 150,000 households in parts of Peru without power. The award was the result of an auction, which was Peru's first Renewable Energy Resource (RER) auction directed toward powering locations not already connected to the grid. These areas are dispersed throughout the northern, central, and southern parts of the country.