October 15, 2018
New Mexico regulators have approved what would be the largest wind farm in the U.S., but the project is far from certain because a transmission line that would serve it has not been approved. Last month, the panel rejected a 520-mile line that would deliver the power to California markets.
A growing number of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds specialize in the clean-energy industry. They invest in a diverse array of businesses, including those in solar and wind power, makers of LED light bulbs and electric cars, among many others. This is a growing but volatile sector, as demand for renewable energy is surging.
A controversial power line proposed for New England will get another chance to make its case as the New Hampshire Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of regulators' rejection of the plan. The proposal is for a 192-mile line that would transport hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts.
Tesla has again increased the price of its Powerwall energy-storage system, saying the new price is a better reflection of the value of a system for which demand far exceeds supply. The new price is $6,700, an increase of $800. This is on top of a $400 price increase earlier this year.
Commercial-scale solar power could help rural areas across East Africa, and it is being financed through crowdfunding. The Sun Exchange of South Africa has set up a system that allows investors to buy solar equipment that then gets leased to rural communities.
Xcel Energy Minnesota said Friday it will be the first utility in the country to require disclosure of vegetation that will be planted at solar sites, part of an attempt to prioritize projects that have plants friendly to bees. The utility is planning to add up to 3,000 megawatts of solar by 2030.
October 12, 2018
To rein in global warming, the world will need to invest an average of about $3 trillion per year in transforming its energy systems. It's part of a change that's already underway. The key is to shift existing investments away from fossil fuel energy and into renewable energy.
Wind and solar power make up more than 20 percent of electricity generation in 10 states, and more states are getting close, according to a new report from the Energy Information Administration. The leaders are Iowa and Kansas, two rural states that produce wind power for other states, as well.
Duke Energy says it plans to spend $500 million on energy storage in the next 15 years, almost as much as the entire U.S. grid storage market this year. Considering how energy companies are continually increasing their targets for storage, the company's actual investment is likely to be much more.
Solar power could be an ideal energy source in war zones and disaster areas, prompting aid agencies to considering ditching other fuels. Some solar projects are already underway in the field as agencies have found that traditional fuels are expensive and easy to hijack.
October 10, 2018
Sen. John Barrasso, a coal-state Republican who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has introduced a proposal to end the $7,500 tax break for electric vehicles. His plan would also impose a federal highway user fee on alternative fuel vehicles.
A proposal from five Washington, D.C., city council members would give the district one of the country's most aggressive renewable energy goals. The city would rely on renewable energy for 100 percent of its electricity by 2032 along with provisions to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
Denmark's government plans to postpone tax increases on electric vehicles as part of a package of measures designed to encourage consumers to buy EVs. The vehicle tax plan is among 38 proposals the government has announced that work toward the goal of reducing carbon emissions.
Some of General Motors' largest gasoline-burning vehicles – pickups and full-size SUVs – will soon be built, ironically, at plants powered by wind. GM says it wants to power all its global facilities with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, and that it hopes to reach 20 percent of that goal this year.
Organic Valley, the largest cooperative of organic farmers in the country, says it is moving beyond its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy at corporate facilities and is now going to share solar power with 13 Midwest communities.
October 9, 2018
Demark's Orsted, one of the world's largest offshore wind energy developers, says it will acquire Deepwater Wind of Rhode Island for $510 million, a sign that the U.S. market is becoming more attractive to major investors. Orsted says the deal will give it the benefit of Deepwater's expertise in developing and permitting projects in the United States.
One of the largest suppliers of fuel dispensers to gas stations has just invested in an electric vehicle charging company. The move by Gilbarco Veeder-Root is a response to growing demand and a step toward gas stations having chargers for electric cars alongside gas pumps.
The Arizona Corporation Commission is working to adopt a plan that would require utilities to get 80 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030, with officials aiming to finish their work before the end of the year, when a moratorium expires for building new natural gas power plants.
Spain is getting rid of a controversial tax on rooftop solar, part of a broader strategy to reduce high electricity prices reduce emissions. Spain has been slow to develop solar at homes and businesses in part because of the so-called "sun tax" which has been in place since 2013.
The Walt Disney Company is just months away from generating enough solar energy to fully power two of its four parks in central Florida. The company will soon begin using a new 50 megawatt solar farm just outside of one of the parks, a move that will help Disney meet a corporate goal.
October 5, 2018
A new clean energy project being developed in Ohio would put a wind farm and a solar farm together, sharing a grid connection in a design that has the potential to save money and provide a steadier flow of electricity. This kind of hybrid renewable energy project is growing.
The rising price of oil is coming at the right time for automakers who are betting big on electric cars. Fuel prices hit a four-year high last month, which auto executives say could turbocharge demand for the many new EVs coming on the market.
A planned offshore wind farm took a big step forward when Barnstable, Massachusetts, officials reached an agreement with Vineyard Wind to host a high-voltage electric line in exchange for $16 million in payments. The 800 megawatt project would be the largest offshore wind farm in the country.
PJM, the nation's largest grid operator, has filed a new plan with federal regulators to remake its market. It would put renewable energy and nuclear plants that benefit from state incentives in a separate class from other power producers, something clean energy advocates oppose.
Massachusetts is leading the country in energy efficiency and Wyoming is at the bottom, according to the latest scorecard from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. The assessment looks at a variety of state policies related to energy efficiency and shows in graphics how states compare.
October 3, 2018
U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports and metals from Europe could raise the cost of wind power in this country by as much as 10 percent, the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association said. Executives from three of the world's top turbine manufacturers agreed that President Trump's tariffs are adding to costs.
Nearly 9,000 households in eastern Massachusetts have had to make do without natural gas for heating and cooking since mid-September, when an aging pipeline failed and set off a series of explosions and fires. Environmental advocates say it's time to completely rethink their energy systems and shift them to electric heating, powered by renewable energy.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that makes a new commitment of $800 million for clean energy technologies, including home energy storage. The bill sets aside about one-third of the money for low-income households to claim first. It follows legislation that commits the state to get 100 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has released a 10-year energy plan that includes big investments in renewables, energy efficiency and modernizing the grid. It hasa goal of at least 3,000 megawatts of solar and offshore wind energy by 2022 and policy changes that would improve incentives for rooftop solar.
NextEra Energy Resources has paused work on two wind farms in Oklahoma because of litigation threats related to a new law that says developers must get approval from federal aviation officials before starting construction.