March 14, 2018
Some farms are trying to create power from massive amounts of cow manure using anaerobic digester systems. Scientists are studying ways to make the biogas process more efficient so they can produce natural gas that could be stored and used as a battery, while lowering carbon emissions.
The idea of using small modular nuclear reactors has gained attention lately, but experts say they might never be a viable commercial technology compared to gas and renewables because of their high energy and production costs.
March 13, 2018
About three-quarters of Americans now live in places where driving electric cars is cleaner than a gasoline car that gets 50 miles per gallon, according to a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state will commit $1.4 billion to 26 renewable energy projects, including 22 solar farms, three wind farms and a hydroelectric project. The projects, spread throughout the state, are expected to be in operation by 2022.
With the recent solar industry turbulence, solar installer Sunrun has started adding battery storage and grid services to its portfolio. The company is working to turn its portfolio of rooftop solar installations into a more valuable asset by bidding on grid services contracts with utilities.
India has launched the first projects at what could eventually be the world's largest solar park. The first phase includes 600 megawatts of solar projects from six developers.
March 12, 2018
Regional grid operators have filed their first comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, detailing their efforts to enhance the U.S. power grid and asking for clarification on resilience and transmission planning. PJM Interconnection also asked FERC to direct operators to update compensation for power plants that reflect their resilience efforts.
Students in Kentucky's coal country are trying to create a new energy future for their region with projects to promote solar and hydroelectric power at their schools and around their communities. Many schools are struggling with rising energy costs in the region, which is still heavily reliant on coal.
The 780-mile Grain Belt Express, a wind power transmission line stretching from western Kansas to Indiana, may have another chance at life after a Missouri judge ruled that the state's utility commission "erred" in denying the project and asked the state Supreme Court to decide. The line has approvals in all the states it would cross except Missouri.
French President Emmanuel Macron says his country will triple its commitment to the International Solar Alliance to 700 million euros (over $860 million). The alliance is an intergovernmental organization that aims to mobilize $1 trillion in funds for future solar generation, storage and technology.
March 8, 2018
Senate Democrats have released a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that would include $80 billion to revamp the electric grid by adding energy storage, smart grid technologies, microgrids and electric vehicles. They suggest it could be paid for by reversing parts of the Republican tax overhaul.
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said he's "not sure" President Trump has made up his mind about levying tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, which could have consequences for the oil, gas and solar industries.
A settlement between Imperial Irrigation District and the California Independent System Operator over clean energy development in Imperial Valley could result in more solar and geothermal energy in the area. CAISO will upgrade a power line to allow more electricity flow from Imperial Valley to the rest of the state.
The battle between Big Oil and Big Corn over the fate of the Renewable Fuel Standard is heating up: oil refinery employees are headed to Washington to lobby lawmakers to oppose the biofuels policy, which they say is costing the refining industry hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
March 7, 2018
The U.S. Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and Bank of England are all shifting toward tighter monetary policies and higher borrowing rates, which could scale back the flow of cheap financing and hurt investments in renewable energy projects.
FERC's order to reduce barriers to energy storage deployment lays the foundation for the market to grow by as much as 50 gigawatts over the next decade, but at least half of that potential growth would depend on the development of state policies, according to a new report by the Brattle Group.
A Large Tesla Energy Storage Project and Discounted Home Batteries Could Come Out of Settlement with Arizona Utility
After a three-year legal battle between Tesla and Salt River Project, an Arizona utility, over the company's practice of imposing "unfair" fees on potential solar power purchasers, the two have come to an agreement that could lead to a utility-scale battery project that could power about 6,000 homes, and discounted home batteries for Arizona customers.
On Sunday, March 4, the California Independent System Operator saw an all-time peak percentage of demand served by solar: 49.95 percent at 12:58 p.m. A day later, the operator saw another record: solar production hit 10,411 megawatts.
The New Mexico Supreme Court is backing up a decision by state regulators to allow a utility to close part of a coal-fired power plant and replace the capacity with a mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas and solar. Two of the plant's four units have been shuttered to reduce pollution.
March 6, 2018
The IRS ruled that a customer who adds battery storage to an existing home solar array is eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit, provided the battery stores only solar energy from the customer's own roof. The ruling marks a milestone for the industry, energy storage experts say.
President Trump says he plans to announce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, but that could have a big impact on the booming oil and gas industry, which relies on foreign steel for pipeline projects, and on the solar industry.
The U.S. energy storage market is no longer in its nascent stages, according to GTM Research. The market grew 27 percent in 2017, reaching a total of more than 1,000 megawatt-hours of grid-connected energy storage deployed from 2013 through 2017. The U.S. is expected to almost double that in 2018..
Oklahoma has become a political battleground over wind energy. Many landowners, school districts and local governments are enjoying the revenue wind energy brings, but fossil fuel interests and some lawmakers are fighting rising incentives given to the wind industry. Read more from ICN on how fossil fuel interests worked to undermine political support for renewable energy in Ohio.
March 5, 2018
By 2030, rooftop solar could potentially drop to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour and drive up to 30 gigawatts a year of new capacity, but a recent report from NREL says it will take better battery storage technologies and partnerships between rooftop solar installers and home builders to reach that goal.
While solar companies battle uncertainty about Trump's solar tariff, thin film manufacturer First Solar is ramping up manufacturing in the U.S. and abroad and booked a record 7.7 gigawatts of projects in 2017 that will take three years to complete.
GE Renewable Energy has announced what it calls the world's most powerful wind turbine: the 12 megawatt Haliade-X, which is 853 feet tall and has 45 percent more capacity than standard 8 MW turbines, according to GE. The company says it's due for commercial operation in 2021.
As automakers prepare the next generation of electric vehicles to hit the market, Europe is deploying "ultra-fast" charging stations along highways throughout the continent. The fifth and most recent 350 kilowatt station just opened in Amsterdam.
March 1, 2018
Clean energy technology development projects funded through ARPA-E suffered staffing, equipment and investment problems in 2017 because of a Trump administration review of Energy Department funding for companies and universities, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
The world's first offshore floating wind farm achieved a 65 percent capacity factor from November through January, Statoil says. That beats onshore wind farms, which averaged about 37 percent in the U.S. last year. Read more from ICN about oil companies getting into the offshore wind industry.
New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities has approved a plan to implement Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order to prepare the state for offshore wind developments. It is preparing to solicit 1,100 megawatts of projects, enough to power about 540,000 homes.