July 25, 2018
Fifteen households in Creek County, Oklahoma, are fighting to block an attempt by a utility to take parts of their properties to build a power line for a planned wind farm. Wind Catcher Energy Connection, which would be the largest wind farm in the country, needs the line to get its electricity to market.
A group of Midwestern utilities, regulators and environmental groups say it is possible with existing technology for electricity generation to be carbon-free by 2050. A new report focuses on the Midcontinent Independent System Operator grid region to show how an area that now gets 77 percent of its electricity from coal and natural gas can shift to renewables, nuclear and gas with carbon capture technology.
July 24, 2018
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power wants to build a new system that would use wind and solar power pump water to the top of Hoover Dam that could then be released through the dam's generators to help meet electricity demand at peak times.
A judge has dismissed a challenge of Maine Gov. Paul LePage's executive order that stopped wind turbine permits in parts of Maine. The judge said environmental and clean-energy groups had not shown that the order would harm projects in the works but also gave them 30 days to respond.
British electric car drivers would pay more to charge at peak times and less at other times under a proposal from the utility regulator Ofgem. The plan, which relies on smart meters, is designed to relieve stress on the grid during peak times.
A wind farm off the coast of Scotland has hit a milestone with its first seven-megawatt wind turbine now producing power. It's part of a closely watched project that will eventually have 84 turbines and is part of a development boom for offshore wind in the UK.
Electric buses are responsible for fewer carbon emissions than diesel buses in any part of the U.S. electricity grid, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The new study informs the ongoing debate about how to account for the emissions from generating electricity when comparing electric vehicles to those that run on fossil fuels.
July 23, 2018
Houston has topped 99 degrees every day since July 16, it's expected to hit 101 today, and the power grid keeps breaking records. Despite the retirement of three big coal plants, ERCOT has said it expects to be able to manage tight reserves and maintain system reliability this summer. Texas has more wind power than any other state.
California Gov. Jerry Brown wants to expand the state's power grid to include much of the West, a plan he says will lead to an increase in renewable energy and a reduction in carbon emissions. Critics of the proposal say California's approach may not mesh well with other states that rely much more on coal and natural gas.
Rhode Island officials are expanding access to tax incentives to encourage solar development on brownfields, rooftops and carports. The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources said the new initiatives will help expand access to renewable energy by focusing on underutilized spaces.
China's Silk Road Fund is acquiring a 24 percent stake in a planned solar farm in the United Arab Emirates, bolstering the project's finances. The 700 megawatt project is the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which would be the largest single-site solar farm on the planet, with 5,000 megawatts planned by 2030.
The idea of solar powered cars is tantalizing, but there are slim odds that the technology could ever provide enough power for a commute. Yet there is promise that solar could be used in other ways to make transportation cleaner.
July 20, 2018
The parent company of Arizona's largest electric utility filed suit Thursday in a bid to block voters from deciding if they want to impose new renewable energy mandates on power companies. Initiative backers submitted more than 480,000 signatures, more than twice the requirement to get on the November ballot. Read more from ICN about the battle brewing over solar in Arizona.
Community solar systems can be a key part of developing net zero energy homes. It's been held back by program design complexities, but those are being resolved, according to a report from The Brattle Group. At least 228 utilities now offer community solar.
Goldman Sachs is projecting that global solar installations will decrease by 24 percent this year, well over the 3 percent drop forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Goldman expects China's decision to reduce utility-scale development to wipe away about 20 gigawatts of anticipated projects.
Extreme weather is influencing a long-standing debate about whether it makes sense for consumers to detach from the grid and rely soley on solar and batteries. Use of off-grid systems is growing as new companies develop ways for consumers to detach.
The UK government says a solar-panel subsidy will end next year without a replacement. The program has encouraged more than 800,000 households to install solar systems since 2010.
July 18, 2018
The long-stalled proposal for a multi-state transmission line to carry wind power from Kansas eastward could be back on track, though it still faces some resistance. The Missouri Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state regulators erred in rejecting Clean Line Energy's proposed 780-mile Grain Belt Express. Missouri is the only state along its path that has not granted approval.
Duke Energy has canceled plans to buy 500 megawatts of wind energy for the Carolinas, citing the cost of transporting the energy from out-of-state sites, even though wind prices are at record lows in much of the country. Read more from ICN on the challenges to North Carolina building its own wind power.
The International Energy Agency says global investment in renewable energy fell 7 percent last year. Investment in coal power dropped, but was offset by an increase in oil and natural gas, according to the World Energy Investment report. The decline in renewables was mostly in wind and hydropower, while solar investment increased.
Sales growth has slowed for electric and plug-in hybrid cars in the major EU markets, in part because the charging network is still spotty, but it's still up 33 percent in the past six months compared to last year, a new report says. Last year, the increase was 54 percent, closer to what policymakers would like to see as they try to meet standards for cutting carbon emissions.
A bill being introduced in the New York City Council would require green roofs, solar power or wind power technology on new skyscrapers. The aim is to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The new measure would apply to commercial and industrial spaces. Previously introduced bills cover homes and community sites like schools.
The Pacific island nation of Palau is trying to shift to 100 percent renewable energy in the next year and a half, part of a plan to move away from the pollution and high costs of diesel. The transition will be done without government money thanks in large part to support from the founder of the Earth X energy conference.
July 17, 2018
A developer has released plans for what likely would be the largest, single-site solar farm in the country, with 690 megawatts of capacity located about 25 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The developer, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, does not yet have buyers in line for the power, but casino owners have been seeking renewable energy contracts outside the utilities.
The expected rise of self-driving electric cars will help to accelerate the move away from gasoline, according to an oil analyst at Wood Mackenzie. The analyst says this factor, along with broader adoption of electric vehicles, will contribute to oil demand peaking as soon as 2036 and then decreasing.
Australia's energy market operator says the future is in renewable energy with battery storage and gas, and that those sources will cut costs and replace coal. The forecast is a blow to the country's governing party, which has been pressing to add new coal-fired power to the system.
The world's largest independent oil trader is starting a new fund to invest in European wind farms, the latest in a string of oil companies investing in renewable energy. Rotterdam-based Vitol Group plans to spend $234 million on offshore and onshore wind farms.
A Danish wind energy company is launching a research buoy off Atlantic City, New Jersey, to measure wind, wave and weather conditions at the potential site for an offshore wind farm. It's an indication of projects underway toward meeting Gov. Phil Murphy's goal of 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030, one of the most ambitious in the country.
An island off the coast of Maine is embracing solar power and batteries for its microgrid and moving away from fossil fuels. The island's grid, which does not have a power connection to the mainland, could provide lessons about how best to develop grids that have little if any need for fossil fuels.
July 16, 2018
New research released at a national solar conference shows potential approaches for getting the eastern U.S. and other temperate regions to 100 percent renewable energy, or at least very close. One report forecasts a cost of 3.6 cents per kilowatt-hour.