August 23, 2018
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.
Electric trucks are coming and will be cleaner and cheaper to operate than conventional diesel models, according to Tesla, which already has prototypes on the road. But diesel advocates argue that range and charging issues will be larger concerns for 18-wheelers than for cars.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is urging government ministers to reconsider plans to close feed-in tariffs, which pay rooftop solar owners for extra electricity they feed into the grid, to new applicants. The government has decided to end the incentives program next year without a replacement.
Chicago is the greenest U.S. city to work in for the second consecutive year, according to a study of environmental efficiency of office space. About 70 percent of the city's buildings are LEED or Energy Star certified, which puts Chicago ahead of San Francisco and Atlanta.
August 22, 2018
A company that manages customers for community solar projects has introduced a "no risk" contract in the Hudson Valley with no cancellation fee and a one-year lifespan. It's one of several examples of a new flexibility in community solar and a shift from contracts that often last a decade or longer.
A U.S. appeals court has decided that readings from a smart electricity meter are an allowable warrantless search, a decision that touches on the ongoing privacy concerns about meters that allow two-way communication between consumers and utilities. The case stems from an Illinois lawsuit.
A leading Utah utility reports that new rooftop solar installations are down 23 percent this year following a change in net metering rates. New rooftop solar customers now get less money for the excess electricity they sell back to the grid. Read more from ICN about net metering changes in other states.
Green tariffs, in which customers choose to get some or all of their electricity from clean sources, now account for many of the least expensive options in the United Kingdom's competitive electricity market. Half of the top 10 contracts are green ones offered by newer suppliers competing with more established companies.
Entergy New Orleans has filed an application to build three solar arrays with a total of 90 megawatts of capacity. If all three projects get built, they would double the solar capacity of a state that has been slow to embrace renewable energy.
A developer is asking Montana regulators for approval to build four 80-megawatt wind farms that each would have 160-megawatt-hour battery systems, continuing a recent run of big battery proposals.
August 21, 2018
A trial has begun in Phoenix to determine whether Arizona voters should have a chance to weigh in on a ballot measure that would require half the state's electricity come from renewable energy by 2030. The campaign against the measure is being funded in part by the parent of utility company APS.
New Jersey officials are working to open the bidding for the first 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind farms by the end of the year, which would allow developers enough time to qualify for 2019 tax credits, officials say. The tax credits are an essential part of the plan, leading to an estimated 12 percent reduction in building costs.
The new 20 megawatt-hour battery storage system is being used by a petrochemical company to reduce its payments for peak energy use under Ontario's Global Adjustment charge, described as "a demand-management opportunity on steroids." The system shows some of the potential for businesses to deploy energy storage.
India's small and mid-size renewable energy companies are getting bought by larger rivals in a wave of consolidation as the smaller companies struggle to raise money. The result is a few giant companies, such as Tata Power, solidifying their hold on a fast-growing market.
The German government has issued a new plan to build and expand connections within the country's electricity grid. The expansion is an essential step as Germany looks to transport wind energy and other renewables throughout the country.
August 20, 2018
So far, the tariffs on imported solar panels imposed by the Trump administration have done little to dampen the booming solar market in the United States. Company executives and industry analysts explain why.
New York's state government says it will be studying European offshore wind transmission models to help guide the state's offshore wind industry. It has set a goal of developing 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030.
A conservative think tank that opposes moves by Georgetown, Texas, to run off of 100 percent renewable energy has sued the city to obtain information about how much energy is being produced by solar panels on a city building. The Texas Public Policy Foundation says the city is being evasive. Georgetown's 100 percent renewable pledge has drawn fire from fossil fuel promoters.
A vast solar farm planned for Egypt is part of a new group of super-size projects around the world that are made possible by rapidly decreasing panel prices. There are even some companies looking at making orbital solar farms.
As New England cranked air conditioners during July, one of the hottest months on record, use of solar power brought almost $20 million in energy savings, according to one of Vermont's largest renewable energy companies. In Vermont, reductions in solar incentives have also led to a decline in solar installations for the first time in six years.
Hampshire College in Massachusetts says it is the first U.S. residential college to run off of 100 percent renewable energy. The small liberal arts college uses high-efficiency buildings and a solar farm to create a surplus of electricity produced on summer days that exceeds its use of grid power in winter.
August 17, 2018
Pilot projects announced this summer in California and New Mexico are signs that bifacial solar panels — panels that can generate energy from both sides — may soon be mainstream. One of the big questions is whether manufacturers can make the panels in a cost-effective way.
An Italian utility has refitted a solar panel factory in Sicily as part of a bet on an advanced and untested technology for solar energy. Enel is hoping the plan will show Europe can be a viable location for solar manufacturing, even when competing against China.
New Jersey regulators have released a framework for how offshore wind farms would be financed by charges in consumer bills, although there is no estimate yet on the amount.
Maine's highest court says a lower court should handle a legal challenge to a law that reduces the credit rooftop solar owners get for selling electricity to the grid. The ruling means solar advocates face a longer process in their attempt to counter one aspect of Gov. Paul LePage's opposition to renewable energy.
Britain will need to reduce its use of natural gas heating to meet climate goals, and it will need a big expansion of energy storage to do so, according to a new report from the UK Research Centre, a body that advises the public and private sector on sustainable energy.
August 16, 2018
Some giants in New York real estate have signed on to a plan to reduce energy use in the city's larger buildings by 20 percent by 2030, with some exceptions. If implemented, the plan would get the city more than a third of the way to its 2050 emissions goal, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.
The U.S. coal power plant fleet has been shrinking for years, and trends are accelerating beyond current estimates with low natural gas prices and cheap renewables, analysts say. Absent "market interventions at a grand scale," the country's coal fleet could be nearly halved by 2030, according to a Rhodium Group note.
A Missouri appeals court has ruled that utility regulators can allow utilities to include electric vehicle charging infrastructure in their rate base. This supports utility companies' contention that charging systems are selling electricity, as opposed to providing a service. Infrastructure is a key issue for EV adoption.
A North Dakota lawmaker wants the state to get a share of wind energy tax revenue, rather than it all going to local governments. He says his proposal would address criticism that wind farms don't contribute to the state budget and would treat wind farms similar to oil and gas revenue.