July 3, 2018
A wind farm with 11 turbines went online last weekend off the coast of Scotland, despite Donald Trump's attempts to block it before he became president. Trump had complained that the project would be visible from one of his company's golf courses.
REC Silicon is laying off about 100 workers at a factory in Washington state. The Norway-based company says it is responding to the escalating trade war between the United States and China, which has affected pricing of solar equipment that crosses international borders.
Montana could play a key role in transporting wind energy to the Pacific Northwest. A new report from federal and state agencies says Montana's transmission system is robust enough to handle an increase in electricity from outside sources. It means the state should be able to replace the electricity generation it loses from a coal-fired power plant's closing.
July 2, 2018
Pacific Gas & Electric is proposing four energy storage projects in its California territory, totaling an eye-popping 567 megawatts and 2.27 gigawatt-hours. The largest of the four would be 300 megawatts and capable of providing 1.2 gigawatt-hours, which is likely a record.
Five battery makers are building massive factories in China to help meet the growing demand for electric vehicles. Each of these projects is on a scale that rivals Tesla's "gigafactory," with capacity to build batteries that can store several gigawatt-hours of energy.
Royalties from wind turbines are becoming a key income source for Colorado farmers. Farmers are benefiting from the growth of wind energy as utilities such as Xcel Energy are shifting away from fossil fuels.
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are working with manufacturers to develop a triple-glazed window that would be much more energy efficient than the types used today. The lab estimates that about $20 billion worth of energy leaks out of U.S. windows each winter and that the super window could cut those losses in half.
The government in Togo plans to use solar power to provide electricity in areas where the grid does not reach, part of a larger initiative to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030.
Residents in a Buffalo suburb would like to see a change to local rules that ban solar panels on the street-facing side of roofs.
June 29, 2018
What started with an Elon Musk tweet about rebuilding Puerto Rico's power system with renewable energy after Hurricane Maria has led to a formal call for solar-plus-storage proposals. The island's government has started the process for soliciting bids to build 10 solar and battery storage facilities that could be deployed across the power grid and capable of scaling up.
Robert Powelson, a Republican appointed to FERC last year, has been a proponent of natural gas infrastructure development and a supporter of the wholesale competitive power markets, which has put him at odds with the Trump administration's effort to prop up coal and nuclear power plants. As he said last fall: "I did not sign up to go blow up the markets."
Officials in tiny Monitor Township, Michigan, have approved a moratorium to block power development, targeting a DTE Energy plan to build a wind farm there. The moratorium will be in place until officials can complete a review of the township's wind ordinance.
A consortium led by Swiss investment firm Partners Group and Royal Dutch Shell say they have secured financing for a $1.5 billion offshore wind farm in the Dutch part of the North Sea. The participants are now ready to begin the project, which would have the capacity to supply 825,000 houses.
South Korea's LG plans to expand its U.S. manufacturing presence with a new plant in Huntsville, Alabama. The plant will have capacity to build 500 megawatts of solar modules per year and help LG sidestep tariffs on imported solar equipment. Huntsville is already home to other LG operations.
June 27, 2018
Wind industry officials meeting in Maine say the state is missing out on the coming offshore wind power boom because of opposition from Gov. Paul LePage. Large offshore wind projects have been announced in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, while Maine faces long delays for project approvals.
An Ohio Senate panel is set to take up a bill that would weaken the state's renewable portfolio standards while also easing rules that restrict where wind turbines can be placed. Read more from ICN about efforts by fossil fuel allies to undermine renewable energy support in the state.
A broad coalition of businesses and state and local governments are taking steps to electrify vehicle fleets, helping to counteract efforts by the Trump administration and others to slow the transition to cleaner cars.
Australia is on track to get one-third of its power from renewable sources by 2020, which would be near double what was in place in 2015, according to a new report. The country is seeing a dramatic increase in wind and solar construction, and elected officials are discussing how to encourage and manage the transition.
June 26, 2018
Atlanta's City Council is hearing three proposals today for getting to 100 percent renewable electricity while fighting climate change, improving health and bolstering the economy. Here are the plans and why it may take longer than the council had hoped.
The U.S. Senate has passed a $145 billion spending bill that would increase funding for some clean energy programs. The measure, passed 86-5, now heads to the House. It includes funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. ARPA-E would get $375 million, the most since its launch.
The French water and waste group Veolia has opened what it says is Europe's first recycling plant for solar panels. The plant disassembles the panels and recovers the glass, silicon, plastics, copper and silver for use in new panels.
Italy's new government wants to change the country's status as a backwater on electric cars with a plan to put 1 million EVs on the road. The plan calls for $10 billion in incentives.
A new solar farm near Medford, Oregon, is using the spaces between panels for beehives. The farm's operator is trying to change the culture of solar power by focusing on the surrounding environment. The farm's land has native flowers and 48 beehives, part of a plan to help pollinators.
June 25, 2018
Developers of solar power and some other renewable energy projects got important new guidance from the Internal Revenue Service that should give them more flexibility. Companies can get the full 30 percent investment tax credit if they start significant physical construction or incur at least 5 percent of the project's costs by the end of 2019 and have the project in service by 2024.
A lack of supportive policies has led to almost no growth in community renewable energy projects in Britain, according to a new report. At the same time, fossil fuel industries continue to be heavily subsidized.
A vocational school in Washington state is seeing growing demand for programs that train people to work in the wind and solar energy industries, part of a larger trend in the U.S. economy. Read more from ICN about wind industry training in Texas, and the students who see its potential.
Demand for solar from companies in India has soared, largely because of falling prices. The developments are a mix of large arrays and rooftop systems, both of which are popular with corporate buyers.
June 22, 2018
The road ahead looks clearer for clean energy bills that stalled in the California legislature last year, and lawmakers are trying again to pass a plan requiring utilities to get 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2045. It's one of several notable clean energy bills being considered.
Tesla is closing about a dozen solar installation facilities in nine states and ending a retail partnership with Home Depot, all part of a previously announced cost-cutting plan. Tesla's solar division was once SolarCity, and the cuts will likely add to criticism of putting the two businesses together.
Four state utility regulators talked about challenges they face in preparing for more electric vehicles, from skeptical lawmakers to a technology landscape that's moving fast. Three are making plans without clear direction from their state legislatures. Ohio faces lawmakers directly opposed to clean energy.