September 12, 2018
Iowa's largest utilities are proposing major cuts to their energy efficiency spending as they implement a controversial new state energy efficiency law. The state's largest utility, MidAmerican Energy, is proposing a 60 percent cut. Environmental advocates say it's a bad policy that will increase emissions.
After a nearly three-year fight over how new solar customers should be compensated for selling power back to the grid, the Arizona Corporation Commission has approved lower payments for distributed solar customers of Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services. Advocates worry it will affect the rooftop solar industry.
Automotive and electronics giants are flooding the battery ecosystem with strategic investments, including exploring investments in solid-state battery startups that claim their technology provides higher energy than conventional lithium-ion.
Lyft, the ride-sharing company, says it is committing to buy credits to offset the carbon emissions of all company operations. It says its plan would offset more than 1 million metric tons of carbon.
September 11, 2018
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday that will shift the state to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. He also issued an executive order setting a target for the state to become carbon neutral by the same year.
Some communities on North Carolina's Outer Banks have prepared for storm-related utility failures by creating microgrids that include solar panels and batteries. Diesel generators remain the main back-up energy source there, but renewable energy and batteries are gaining attention in many places.
Major oil companies are increasingly investing in wind and solar energy in Brazil. In recent weeks, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Equinor have made announcements on Brazilian renewables which could double wind and solar's share of the country's energy mix to 18 percent by 2026, according to a government energy research office.
The utility Pepco has a $15 million plan to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure across more of Washington, D.C. It says plug-in vehicles are currently 0.23 percent of the local market, which is lower than the national average of 1.2 percent.
September 10, 2018
At least 15 solar farm projects are underway from Italy to the United Kingdom that are not relying on subsidies to make a profit, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Prices for renewables have dropped to the point that they are competitive with fossil fuels in many places.
The Scottish National Party says renewable energy can be a key part of a stable economy for Scotland, particularly if it decides to leave the United Kingdom. Scotland's leader Nicola Sturgeon was on hand for the launch of a wind energy project that boasts the world's most powerful turbines.
Germany last year led the way to record gains in onshore wind installations in Northern and Western Europe, according to a new report. Germany, the United Kingdom and France all saw major growth in onshore wind, some of it as developers rushed to finish projects ahead of changes in subsidies.
Developers of a planned 500 megawatt solar array in Virginia say they have signed up buyers for all of the plant's energy. The buyers include the University of Richmond, Apple and IBM. IBM signed up for 350 megawatts.
September 6, 2018
Duke Energy is agreeing to temporarily reinstate a South Carolina solar program that pays favorable rates to new customers installing rooftop solar. It's part of a contentious debate in the state as solar installations reached a net-metering cap and lawmakers failed to pass a measure that would increase the cap.
The world largest offshore wind farm opened in the Irish Sea amid concerns that Brexit could increase costs for future projects. Walney Extension, developed by Danish energy company Orsted, has a capacity of 659 megawatts and is the latest step in a building boom for offshore wind in Europe.
A shift to electric and hydrogen trucks in the European Union could cut oil use by as much as 11 billion barrels through 2050, equivalent to more than two years' worth of imports, according to a new report backed by companies involved with electric vehicles.
Sales of electric vehicles hit another record high last month in Britain, accounting for one in every 12 new cars purchased, up substantially from a year earlier. The boom in plug-in vehicle sales is happening as the costs of gasoline and diesel continue to rise, with prices hitting their highest levels since 2014.
Scientists have developed a way to make batteries from paper using a method that could replace some of the functions of small disposable batteries and reduce electronic waste. Researchers from Binghamton University in New York say their "paper-based microbial" battery technology may one day be used for low-cost, low-power applications.
September 5, 2018
The top solar manufacturers in China are boosting production capacity, betting higher output will help them seize a bigger chunk of the global market, despite the country's own cuts to domestic subsidies that are expected to lower market growth there.
Vehicle-charging startup Hevo is developing a system in which electric cars park over a wireless charging system and get electricity transferred through an electromagnetic field. Brooklyn-based Hevo has raised $4.5 billion and is working with major automakers and energy companies to develop the system.
German startup Sono Motors is testing what it says will be the first affordable electric car that gets some of its power from solar panels. The Sion EV, scheduled to go on sale next year, has 330 solar cells on its roof, sides and rear. Its estimated range, 155 miles on a charge, would be boosted by solar.
Officials in Delhi, India, have approved measures to encourage businesses to use clean energy, part of an attempt to improve air quality in one of the world's most polluted cities. The city government says the plan includes financial incentives for restaurants to switch to electric or gas tandoor ovens instead of coal, among other provisions.
September 4, 2018
Mercedes-Benz is about to unveil its electric SUV, the first of what is expected to be several debuts that will challenge Tesla for dominance of the premium EV market. The Mercedes EQC is expected to be closely followed by models from Audi and BMW.
A European wind industry trade group says the region is on the verge of a boom in corporate renewable energy purchases, and it's helping fill a void left by drops in government subsidies. Because of falling subsidies, project developers are increasingly looking for corporate investors to move to construction.
A developer wants to build a 200 megawatt wind farm near the Mississippi River bluffs in Illinois. Economic development officials are eager to pursue the plan, but they're getting some pushback.
Some of fracking's biggest skeptics are on Wall Street, writes Bethany McLean. They worry the industry's financial foundation is unstable. It's a story of debt, easy credit and the growth of an energy industry.
August 31, 2018
An Australian physicist is running the first commercial test of a type of printed solar panel that's less than a millimeter thick, uses double-sided sticky tape and can be produced for less than $10 per square meter. It's not as efficient as silicone and degrades faster but has lower production and installation costs.
California legislators passed a bill to extend the state's behind-the-meter storage program, adding nearly 3 gigawatts and five more years to the program. It heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. Read more from ICN about another California vote — on 100 percent carbon-free electricity.
South Africa's Department of Energy announced approval this week of a draft plan that, through 2030, would add more than 15 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity, 8 gigawatts of natural gas, and no new nuclear — a shift away from earlier discussions of several new nuclear plants. It also includes about 1 gigawatt of new coal, which would still be its largest power source.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it is investigating a nuclear fuel factory in South Carolina as new information surfaces about leaks that were not reported to the agency by Westinghouse, its owner and operator. The company is seeking a 40-year license.