May 15, 2018
EU carbon emissions grew 1.8 percent in 2017, despite a 25 percent increase in wind power, new data show. The European statistics body Eurostat reports that CO2 emissions rose in a majority of EU member states, with some of the biggest jumps in Malta, Estonia, Bulgaria and Spain. Finland, meanwhile, cut emissions 5.9 percent, and Denmark cut by 5.8 percent.
A new report from the World Resources Institute describes how deployment of solar power in the Middle East and North Africa could help conserve dwindling water resources if solar capacity replaced fossil fuel plants that require water for cooling.
May 14, 2018
The U.S. rooftop solar market is projected to grow by 14 percent between 2020 and 2023 as a result of California's new requirements. The figure from GTM Research is on top of the growth that was projected before the new rules.
Organizers are gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would double Michigan's renewable portfolio standard to 30 percent by 2020. But some renewable energy developers have concerns that the push for the ballot measure could lead opponents to turn clean power into a partisan issues.
A pilot project under construction in Sweden seeks to revolutionize steelmaking by producing steel without fossil fuels. The process will emit water vapor rather than carbon dioxide, the CEO of the company says.
Taiwan is adding 3.8 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity and plans to award 2 GW more this year. If completed, Taiwan would be behind only China in the Asia-Pacific region in offshore wind. The expansion could lead other countries to add capacity as they compete to be the home of wind energy manufacturing.
May 11, 2018
Top auto executives will be at the White House today as President Trump considers freezing auto emissions standards and eliminating California's authority to set its own. The carmakers initially campaigned for a break from the tightening standards, but Trump's plan isn't what they had in mind, and they see years of legal headaches ahead.
Pushed by increases in fuel-economy requirements, automakers have taken steps to make gas-powered vehicles more efficient, including using lighter materials. That progress may be slowed, though, if the Trump administration succeeds in weakening the rules. Read more from ICN about how weakening emissions standards could be Trump's most climate-damaging move yet.
A defection day is coming, when people can generate electricity for themselves and don't need it from the grid. Read more from ICN about California's new rooftop solar requirement and whether it could spread to other states.
California's Kern County is the wind power capital of the country, as a Washington Post analysis of over 57,000 commercial wind turbines shows, but it might not keep that title for long. The Post shows in charts and maps where wind power potential is strongest and where more turbines are rising.
A Glasgow-based research team is developing a solar array that you can walk on. The plan for an interlocking walking surface has won an award from Qatar's World Cup 2022 organizing committee, and a version of the system may be ready to display during the soccer tournament.
May 9, 2018
For the first time, New Englanders used more electricity from the region's grid at night than during the day as sunshine, comfortable temperatures and increasing use of solar panels cut demand to new lows. The region's grid operator expects that to happen more frequently with rising use of solar.
Twenty percent of Americans say their next car will be electric, an increase from 15 percent in the prior year, according to a new survey by AAA. Consumers still have some concerns about running out of electric charge while on the road, but it's becoming less of an issue.
German automaker Audi says it's aiming for electric vehicle sales to hit 800,000 by 2025, and it plans to launch more than 20 EV models by then. The company, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, is still trying to repair its reputation after it was one of several auto brands caught up in the emissions testing scandal.
The Arkansas Public Service Commission has approved the Wind Catcher Energy Connection Project, a $4.5 billion project to build the nation's largest wind farm in Oklahoma and connect it to customers with a 350-mile power line. The project still faces some headwinds in Oklahoma, however.
Wind and solar power prices have plummeted in India, and that's creating a tougher market for coal-fired power plants. Last year was the first time India added more capacity from renewables than from coal.
May 8, 2018
More than 10 million people now work in renewable energy jobs worldwide, new data from the International Renewable Energy Agency shows, and solar is the biggest employer. The renewable energy sector added half a million jobs in 2017.
Taxes from wind farms are helping local governments and lowering taxes for other residents, according to a Moody's report. In some cases, the taxes from new wind farms are allowing local governments to do long-delayed infrastructure projects.
California is the national leaders in electric cars, with about 400,000 on the road, but the number is not growing fast enough to meet the governor's goal of 5 million by 2030. Getting there will require lower prices and more charging infrastracture, a new report says.
Solar-equipment manufacturer Suniva, one of the companies that demanded protective U.S. solar tariffs, is fading away. Its owners are selling off assets through the bankruptcy process, including equipment at factories in Georgia and Michigan.
Virginia regulators have rejected Dominion's proposal to offer 100 percent renewable power to large customers, saying the plan would give Dominion too broad an ability to raise prices. The decision could benefit alternative providers who want to offer similar plans.
May 7, 2018
A state energy panel is scheduled to vote this week on requiring most new homes to have solar panels starting in 2020. This would be the first statewide mandate of this type, and it's part of a larger initiative to reduce the amount of electricity that houses need from the grid.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed legislation allowing utilities to cut back on energy efficiency programs. The controversial bill was supported by utilities and opposed by many businesses.
The U.S. Navy does not want offshore wind turbines off San Diego and Los Angeles. However, it does not have the final say, and wind energy companies are working on a compromise.
When researchers asked people who live near wind farms how they feel about the local projects, they found that positive feelings are much more common than negative ones.
China's state-controlled economy is forcing a rapid adoption of electric cars. The country's experience holds some lessons for the rest of the world on what to expect in the EV transition.
A BP-backed solar developer says it will include energy storage in upcoming solar proposals west of the Colorado River. The announcement is another sign that solar-plus-storage projects are gaining ground.
May 4, 2018
The Trump administration's tariffs on imported solar equipment have led to a shakeup in the industry, with the merger of two companies and opening of new plants. But while the plants are expected to create a few hundred jobs, a solar trade group has estimated that the tariffs will cost 23,000 U.S. jobs primarily on the installation side.
The International Energy Agency says offshore wind power will need to expand dramatically by 2040 in order to meet Paris climate agreement goals. Read more from ICN on preparations underway for offshore wind to take off in the U.S.
The South Carolina House passed a measure this week that would raise the state's cap on net metering from 2 to 4 percent. The state is nearing the 2 percent cap now. If the proposal is signed into law, it would allow future rooftop solar customers to get credit for the power they produce.