December 19, 2017
European Union environment and energy ministers have agreed on renewable energy targets, aiming to get at least 27 percent of energy from renewables by 2030. Their current goal is 20 percent by 2020.
December 18, 2017
Electric delivery trucks have started quietly rolling through cities, helping reduce, noise, fumes and greenhouse gas emissions. In the U.S., more than 6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 were from medium- and heavy-duty trucking.
Southern California Edison says authorities are investigating the utility's equipment as a possible source of the Thomas Fire, and other utilities are being investigated for their potential roles in other recent wildfires. Utilities are facing tough questions about who should pay for costs related to fires.
In the U.S., electric cars are mostly built in California, Michigan and Tennessee. With Volkswagen's push to build electric vehicles at its plant in Tennessee, the state could pass Michigan and compete with California to be the center for the nation's EV production.
BP was a leader among oil companies investing in renewable energy before the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Now, under pressure from investors and governments to once again look "beyond petroleum," it has announced it will spend $200 million to acquire a large stake in a Lightsource, a UK-based solar power developer.
December 14, 2017
With political uncertainty, rising equipment prices and a slowdown in markets, the most recent quarter saw the least number of solar installations in the U.S. in two years. Only 2,031 megawatts were installed, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Maine's Supreme Court is considering the future of incentives for residential solar power as it hears arguments this week about a challenge to state regulators' efforts to phase them out. The case to keep incentives is being argued by an attorney for Maine's largest industrial energy consumers.
Alberta, Canada's largest consumer of coal and its second-largest producer, auctioned off 595 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to be built as part of its goal to transition to all renewable and gas-fired energy generation by 2030.
The world's largest floating solar power plant will be built in a collapsed coal mine in eastern China that has filled with water. The operator says the solar farm will generate 150 megawatts of electricity when it's completed in May 2018.
A group of conservatives, including former Gov. Tommy Thompson, is launching an organization in Wisconsin that they say will promote the benefits of renewable energy. Read More in Midwest Energy News's Q&A with two of the group's leaders.
December 13, 2017
The Trump administration violated the law by failing to spend $91 million budgeted for the Energy Department's ARPA-E project, which supports research and development of novel energy technologies, the Government Accountability Office says. Democrats worry the tactic could be used more widely to nullify spending approved by Congress.
Energy experts say coal exports from the U.S. will increase 46 percent this year, adding more than $1 billion to coal companies' revenues. But the benefit may only be temporary: the increase has been driven in part by storms and other events overseas.
A group of 50 major companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, IKEA and Microsoft, called on the European Union to set a target for renewables of at least 35 percent and lift regulatory barriers to power purchase agreements.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has ordered all state agencies to hit aggressive environmental and clean energy goals in the next decade and a half, including reducing gasoline and diesel use by 30 percent.
Property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing offers loans to help property owners pay for energy-efficient upgrades. After coming under scrutiny for allowing homeowners to borrow on the advice of contractors who want to make a profit, California passed regulations to protect homeowners from debt they can't afford to pay back.
December 12, 2017
As the climate changes, the Northern Hemisphere may see a 10 percent reduction of wind over broad regions, new research suggest. But in the Southern Hemisphere, where the difference between land and sea temperatures will increase, winds could get stronger.
Officials dedicated two large solar-powered generating plants near Las Vegas that will be used to power operations of the data company Switch. The plants, which have 2 million solar panels, are the first utility-scale solar power plants to be built in a Bureau of Land Management "Solar Energy Zone."
Electric engines don't require oil changes and rarely break down, eliminating a lot of maintenance that auto repair shops rely on. The U.S. auto repair industry employs about 750,000 people, many of whom aren't prepared for the end of gas-powered vehicles.
U.S. car dealerships aren't promoting electric vehicles as well as they could, a recent study suggests. Electric vehicles often weren't available on the lot to view or to test drive, and ownership information was lacking. The sales process was "wrought with inconsistencies," the research found.
December 11, 2017
Florida gets less than half a percent of its electricity from solar power, and two-thirds of it from natural gas piped in from other states. Even as the state sees effects of climate change, it's doubling down on gas: the state regulator has never rejected a utility gas plant.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has visited Puerto Rico three times and has been consulting closely on restoration efforts, sharing lessons from Hurricane Sandy. The state has sent hundreds of workers to help in the recovery.
During his first day on the job, new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Kevin McIntyre sent a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposing a 30-day extension for taking action on Perry's proposal to boost the coal and nuclear industries. Read more from ICN about Perry's plan.
General Electric plans to cut 12,000 jobs—a fifth of the power division's global workforce—as it starts to shift away from natural gas and toward renewable energy. "They clearly misjudged the shift that's going on in the market," said Jeff Sprague, a Vertical Research Partners analyst.
December 7, 2017
As Zipcar, Uber and other car- and ride-sharing programs add more electric vehicles to their fleets, they're pushing cities from Chattanooga to Sacramento to expand charging infrastructure and convincing users to buy electric.
Most of the witnesses at the final hearing for the Suniva case urged the panel not to recommend solar tariffs, and some provided alternative fee options. President Trump's trade representative, who is supposed to advise him on the decisions about tariffs on solar imports, did not attend. Read more from ICN about the potential impacts of solar tariffs.
Tesla will deploy six new Powerpack battery projects to run microgrids on the islands of Vieques and Culebra in Puerto Rico. The batteries are being installed to power a sewer treatment plant, water pumping station, hospital and elderly community. Read more from ICN about how microgrids are helping cities respond to emergencies and integrate renewable energy.
Hyundai says it plans to build and install a battery in South Korea that will be 50 percent larger than Tesla's 129 megawatt-hour grid storage battery in Australia. The company said it will be completed by February.
December 6, 2017
The Suniva trade case and the threat that President Trump might impose tariffs on imports are having an impact on the price of solar. The average fixed-tilt utility-scale solar price has edged back up to $1.03 per watt after dropping below $1, according to new GTM Research.
Four days after members of the Georgia Public Service Commission called the Vogtle nuclear project "no longer economic" due to cost overruns and delays, Georgia Power said it reached an agreement with Toshiba on a $3.2 billion payment to salvage the plant. The commission will decide in February if the project will move forward.
The use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is on the rise, but it comes with an environmental cost: each transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the U.S. for a day. As more computers mine for more data, the network is increasing energy use.