August 30, 2018
The Trump administration's proposal for rolling back federal power plant regulations could affect the short-term fate of some plants, but utility companies appear likely to maintain their long-term course in a market where coal power can no longer compete with natural gas and renewables.
Facebook announced a new commitment to contract renewable energy for all of its electricity consumption by 2020, including requiring new renewable energy projects on grids where its data centers are located. It's a jump from Facebook's previous 50-percent goal, which it met ahead of schedule last year.
Arizona voters will get to decide this fall whether to require utilities to get at least half their power from renewable sources. The Arizona Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal by attorneys for utility Arizona Public Service to have the ballot measure thrown out.
Canada's Silfab Solar, a leading North American solar panel producer, today announced plans to spend $40 million to purchase and expand Itek Energy's solar panel production facility in Bellingham, Washington. Read more from ICN on the impact of President Trump's solar tariffs.
The tidal energy startup Ocean Renewable Power Co. is facing headwinds as tries to secure tens of millions of dollars to advance its unique marine power projects. Despite the promise of tidal energy, big investors are shying away from tidal in favor of cheaper, proven wind and solar projects, analysts say.
August 29, 2018
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has rejected a proposal from power company Southern California Edison that would have treated customers with energy storage systems differently than those without. FERC said the utility's proposal for reducing service to customers with storage during times of peak demand would be discriminatory.
In a summer when California has been fighting record wildfires while facing off against the Trump administration's attempts to rollback climate policies, the state's Democratic-controlled legislature is seeking to double down on its commitment to shift away from fossil fuels. The state Assembly last night approved a new goal of 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045.
Thousands of visitors and residents on Cape Cod have signed a petition urging developers to move the proposed location of a transmission line that would serve the Vineyard Wind project. Organizers of the petition say they do not oppose the wind farm, which would be the largest in the country, but they object to a power line in or near their neighborhoods.
The Spokane Indian Reservation is launching a solar initiative, starting with solar panels on 14 tribal buildings. It follows a 2016 wildfire and subsequent power outages that raised concerns about the need for electricity independence.
BMW is working with California's Pacific Gas & Electric to develop ways to make sure that the electricity going to vehicle charging stations is coming from clean sources. It's testing that concept, as well as demand response techniques, through a pilot program.
BYD, China's largest maker of electric vehicles, is struggling as the government reduces EV subsidies. While its EV sales were up last year, overall profits were down, and the company warns that the trend is likely to continue. BYD is backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.
August 28, 2018
A judge has ruled that a ballot measure that would require utilities to get half their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 can go before voters in November. Opponents, backed by the parent company of a major utility, say they will appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.
Britain's long heat wave helped suppress windy conditions, leaving wind farms less effective than during a normal season. One result is that the country's carbon emissions rose this summer. Wind farm capacity is up more than 10 percent, but the share of electricity supply from wind decreased slightly.
Third-party solar ownership, such as leasing, appears to be poised for growth in Oklahoma following an opinion issued by Attorney General Mike Hunter that says the contracts are legal.
Colorado regulators voted to give preliminary approval to Xcel Energy's plan to close two coal-fired generators a decade ahead of schedule and invest $2.5 billion in renewable energy and battery storage. The utility says the plan will save customers about $213 million as renewable energy prices fall.
There are now more than a million electric cars in Europe after sales grew by more than 40 percent in the first half of the year. Europe is hitting the milestone about a year after China, but ahead of the United States. Europen sales are on a pace to hit 1.35 million by the end of the year, analysts say.
August 27, 2018
Exxon, which has been slow to follow its rivals into renewable energy, has been looking to buy wind and solar power for delivery in Texas, people familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg. "If you're seeing the biggest oil and gas companies going out and making investments in clean energy, it shows that renewables are cost competitive," one analyst said.
Data released for the first half of 2018 shows solar is more than 10 percent of in-state electricity for five states, up one from before. Massachusetts joins California, Hawaii, Nevada and Vermont among states that have passed this milestone.
California lawmakers have passed a bill that requires development of carbon-free energy sources to replace the 2.2 gigawatts that will be lost when the state's remaining nuclear reactor, Diablo Canyon, closes. The bill, now heading to Gov. Jerry Brown, touches on concerns that utilities could replace nuclear capacity with fossil fuels.
Russia is conducting an experiment with nuclear power, one that backers say is a leading-edge feat of engineering but that critics call reckless: a floating nuclear power plant. The facility has two miniature reactors of a type used previously on submarines and, for now, is the only one of its kind.
For each offshore wind project, 1,000 supply chain jobs are created, according to Rhode Island officials who want to train people for those jobs. A new state program called "Win Wind" works with schools to help train future workers, starting with exposure to renewable energy at the middle school level.
In a sudden reversal, Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk said on Friday that they are abandoning the idea of taking the company private. Tesla has staked its future on making electric vehicles the transportation of choice — a vision that has made it the nation's most highly valued car company.
August 24, 2018
Wind power capacity has tripled across the United States in just the last decade as prices have plunged and the technology has become bigger and more efficient, according to new reports from the federal government's energy labs. Offshore wind is poised for a market breakthrough.
The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation is pushing a campaign against wind energy, arguing for ending wind power subsidies in a state where the wind industry is politically popular and economically important.
While California legislators consider a plan to require utilities to use 100 percent clean energy by 2045, a separate proposal would require the companies to buy about 2,500 megawatts of wind and solar over the next four years while also expanding use of geothermal power.
The European Union is scrapping import controls on Chinese solar panels next month. China is likely to have an oversupply of panels because of cuts in subsidies within the country, helping to push down prices worldwide. Read more from ICN on how the U.S. solar industry is faring under Trump's tariffs.
Utility regulators have reduced fixed charges in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, and several proposals to raise the charges have been rejected. This matters for rooftop solar.
August 23, 2018
Global lithium-ion battery deployment will grow by an average of 55 percent per year over the next five years according to a new forecast from GTM Research. The market is starting from a small baseline and heading into a period of surging demand for electric vehicles and battery storage systems.
The Trump administration's proposal to freeze vehicle emissions standards may be nothing more than a "small political hiccup" for electric vehicle sales, according to one leading expert. Others say the rules will lead to regulatory uncertainty that could slow the growth of this otherwise booming market. The Hill reports that EPA has cancelled three planned public hearings on its proposed auto emissions rule changes.
Danish offshore wind company Orsted aims to become one of a small number of "renewable majors" that will lead a global transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, the company's CEO says. The company is shedding its oil and gas business and largely phasing out coal while shifting its focus to a wind business that has installed about a quarter of global offshore capacity.