January 16, 2018
Scientists are studying how to turn seawater into fuel using a device that floats on the ocean's surface and converts solar energy into an electrical current that breaks water into oxygen and hydrogen. If it's scaled, it could potentially create a reliable, affordable source of hydrogen gas.
January 12, 2018
Diablo Canyon, the last nuclear power plant in California, will begin shutting down operations in six years. Pacific Gas & Electric says Diablo Canyon will be uneconomical to run in the near future because of changes in California's power grid with the growth of renewable energy.
South Australia plans to build the world's largest solar thermal plant, which could provide all of the state government's electricity needs by 2020. In Queensland, French utility Neoen wants to build a wind farm and battery storage system larger than Tesla's in South Australia, which is currently the biggest in the world.
Maine's Public Utilities Commission has delayed approval of the first floating wind farm in the U.S., proposed off the coast of Maine. The commission approved the initial terms of the deal in 2013 but now says it wants to take more public comments before deciding.
Florida Power & Light, Florida's largest utility, brought four new solar power plants online this year, with another four planned to start operations in the first quarter. The company also retired St. Johns River Power Park, the second of three coal plants it will be shuttering.
January 11, 2018
Analysts forecast a sixfold increase in global offshore wind power capacity by 2030, but while Europe's market booms, U.S. growth has been slow. That may be changing as oil and gas companies and their supply chains get into the offshore wind market.
About half of the 25 gigawatts of utility-scale electricity added to the U.S. grid in 2017 came from wind and solar, according to a new report from the Energy Information Administration. More than half of the new renewable capacity came online in the fourth quarter.
Jim Lamon, CEO of Depcom Power, spent decades building coal-fired power plants and investing in fossil fuels. When he saw the coal industry declining, he switched Depcom to building solar farms—and now he's worried Trump's expected decision on solar tariffs will harm his business.
Some of the world's best breezes for generating wind power are in Serra Branca in northeast Brazil, a country with nearly 11 gigawatts of wind energy. French renewable energy company Voltalia just won contracts to build more wind farms in the area that will sell the cheapest wind power in Brazil yet.
January 10, 2018
Tesla is now manufacturing solar roof tiles that generate electricity at its Buffalo, New York, factory. Tesla said the solar roofs will cost 10 to 15 percent less than a regular roof with traditional solar panels and will be installed on some customer rooftops in the coming months.
One of the best new markets for renewable energy storage could be Florida, where there are few regulatory mandates, a growing market and rising interest in renewables after the 2017 hurricanes. By 2021, the state could see $230 million of investment in utility-owned battery systems, a report says.
China is moving toward becoming a global leader in renewable energy technology and is on track to lead international investment in the renewables sector, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
China's 0.6-mile stretch of "solar highway" has closed after thieves allegedly stole one six-foot panel and damaged others just five days after it opened. Project engineers say the road could generate 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to power 800 households.
January 9, 2018
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejected a Trump administration ploy that would have boosted the coal and nuclear industries by allowing them to keep stockpiles of fuel on hand. The commission said it would do its own analysis of how the grid is coping.
U.S. government officials have been talking with California's Air Resources Board about national requirements for automakers. The Trump administration wants to loosen emissions rules. California and other states want to keep stricter emissions standards.
Tech companies and automakers tout the revolutionary potential for widespread adoption of automated vehicles, but if fleets aren't electrified using renewable energy, or car sharing fails to take off, researchers say greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution could increase. Read more from ICN about electric vehicle car sharing.
Last year, Latin America made up just 3 percent of global solar demand, but it will account for 11 percent by 2022, according to GTM Research. Mexico, where solar prices have drastically dropped, will continue to be a leader in the industry.
January 8, 2018
The Puerto Rico Energy Commission released proposed regulations for future microgrid installations in the U.S. territory, where about half the power customers have been without electricity since Hurricane Maria. The proposal defines microgrids and how they can connect to the central power grid.
The Colorado Energy Office Averted a Shutdown. Now It Looks to Avoid Repeat of Last Session’s Funding Stalemate.
The Colorado Energy Office has become a political football in the fight over the state's role in reducing emissions that contribute to climate change. Democrats want its focus to remain on clean energy; Republicans want to shift that focus to fossil fuels. Now, the funding battle has resumed.
Old-fashioned LED bulbs that have warmer, more natural light and look like incandescent bulbs are being sold to hip restaurants and bars around the world. It's helping lead a change in the lighting industry that could drive more sales of energy-efficient LED bulbs.
India is ramping up its solar energy projects: the government plans to bid out 3 gigawatts of solar projects in January, 5 GW in February and 6 GW in March, with a goal of 60 GW of solar power by 2022.
December 20, 2017
The New York City Comptroller plans to propose to the trustees of the New York City pension funds to explore stopping new investments in fossil fuels and increasing investments in clean energy. The proposal will also include divesting current holdings in fossil fuel companies.
In Europe, burning wood pellets to power plants is counted as renewable energy. But the biomass boom is leading to a surge in logging, particularly in the Southern U.S., and raising doubts about whether Europe can meet its commitments under the Paris climate agreement.
The Netherlands will unseal bids to construct two 350 megawatt offshore wind turbines, which are expected to cost $2.7 billion, but the auction will be for subsidy-free wind energy.
Wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa is building a thermal energy storage system called Future Energy System, which will heat 1,000 tons of rock up to 600 degrees Celsius that can be used to drive a 1.5-megawatt steam turbine, feeding electricity back to the grid.
Jehu Garcia has become well-known for his YouTube videos that show how to go off the grid for cheap. He's built a DIY Powerwall using recycled laptop batteries and solar panels and converted a vintage Volkswagen bus to run on an electric battery.
December 19, 2017
The booming renewable energy industry is breathing a wary sigh of relief as Congress prepares to vote on a sweeping tax bill that preserves critical tax credits for wind energy, solar power and electric vehicles. However, one provision still threatens a renewable funding source and another would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Some solar companies, like Vivint Solar, remain committed to door-to-door sales as they try to compete with Tesla, which recently stopped doing them. After 16 years of growth, U.S. demand for solar is down and residential solar companies are struggling with how to market services.
The electric car revolution is happening fast but there are still major hurdles that car companies are scrambling to overcome: in particular, there are not enough charging stations and electric vehicles are still more expensive than gas-powered vehicles. The auto industry is betting that both hurdles will continue to fall.