October 30, 2017
When power demand rises in California, a company called OhmConnect sends out texts to its hundreds of thousands of customers, asking them to reduce their electricity use. The customers get paid for doing so, and the power grid avoids having to fire up inefficient "peaker" plants to meet demand.
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority is moving to cancel a $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy, a small Montana firm hired to help rebuild the island's power grid, amid growing criticism from Congress and FEMA and an order by the governor of Puerto Rico. Read more from ICN about how solar companies are helping restore power on the island.
Oklahoma's Supreme Court has struck down a newly approved state tax on electric- and hybrid-vehicle owners, declaring it unconstitutional. The court said the tax was untethered from a regulatory purpose and simply sought to impose a new financial burden and raise revenue.
St. Louis has become the largest city in the Midwest to commit to a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Currently, the St. Louis metropolitan region gets less than 5 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
SolarWorld, one of two plaintiffs in the trade suit that alleges cheap imports are hurting U.S. solar manufacturers, says it is rehiring workers and boosting production. But companies that make wires, batteries and electrical equipment for solar panels say the ruling has already hurt their businesses. Read more from ICN about how the ruling could impact the solar industry.
The amount of U.S. wind energy projects in the works have grown 27 percent since last year to nearly 30 gigawatts, according to a new American Wind Energy Association report. The industry is on track to provide 10 percent of America's electricity by 2020 and 50,000 new jobs.
October 26, 2017
To "reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens" on businesses, the EPA says it will review how laws like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act affect energy industry job losses in sectors like coal. A federal court has ruled that the agency did not need to conduct such an assessment.
Electric Cars’ Lifecycle Emissions Are Less than Half of Diesel’s, Even with Dirtiest Grid Power, Study Finds
Even when they are powered by the most carbon intensive energy, electric vehicles emit half the amount of carbon emissions as diesel engines, according to a new study. Read more from ICN about the rising global demand for electric vehicles.
The Energy Department has awarded $1.5 million to six companies working to develop smaller wind turbines and reduce the cost of distributed wind power. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory wants to increase the number of certified small turbines on the market from 14 to 40 by 2020.
NRG Energy is selling its clean energy assets, but its CEO says the company stands behind its objectives to cut carbon emissions and supports a carbon tax. The company is one of several finding a growing pool of investors like pension funds and insurers that want to operate wind and solar farms.
October 25, 2017
Tesla has announced its "first of many" solar-plus-storage projects going online in Puerto Rico, sending out photos of solar panels and battery Powerpacks arriving at a children's hospital. It's one of several efforts to repower the island with renewable energy after the hurricane. An infographic describes how Tesla's Powerpacks work.
House Democrats are pushing for an investigation into a contract signed by small a Montana-based energy company called Whitefish Energy—based in the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke—to help restore Puerto Rico's electrical grid.
The economy is projected to add 11.5 million jobs over the next decade, and the biggest percentage growth will come from solar panel installers, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Installer jobs are expected to more than double, from 11,300 to 23,200.
Global Infrastructure Partners, a major infrastructure investor in Australia, plans to acquire Asian-based renewable energy company Equis Energy for $5 billion. It's a record-high acquisition price for the renewable energy industry.
Tesla has agreed to build a factory in Shanghai, which could help boost China's rapidly growing electric vehicle market and lower production costs. Read more from ICN about how the global demand for electric vehicles is reducing oil demand.
October 24, 2017
Solar power costs will fall by another 60 percent over the next decade, according to the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency. IRENA expects 80 to 90 gigawatts of new solar capacity to be added globally each year over the next five or six years.
A move toward a Western regional grid stalled in the California legislature, but discussions continue. The California Independent System Operator plans to address concerns, like what authority the state would be giving up to the regional body, and bring it up in next year's session.
Cypress Creek Renewables—a national solar company that sells electricity to utility companies and currently operates in 15 states—is investing nearly $1 billion in a solar farm development spree in Oregon.
China has set a goal of powering 10 percent of its electricity with solar by 2030, and air pollution could stand in its way. According to new research, aerosol pollution in northern and eastern areas of the country is reducing solar generation potential by as much as 35 percent per day.
October 23, 2017
Twelve major cities with a combined population of 80 million people, including London, Seattle, Los Angeles and Mexico City, vowed to buy only zero-emissions buses from 2025 and will make major areas free of fossil fuel emissions by 2030. Read more from ICN about how cities are saving money with electric buses.
Australia's Windlab and Denmark-based turbine maker Vestas have teamed up to combine wind and solar power with energy storage by developing a 60 megawatt hybrid power project in Queensland, Australia.
Since Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast in 2012, the region has slowly worked to make the electricity grid more resilient. It has constructed 35 microgrids, with at least one in nearly every state, and reduced the vulnerability of 16 substations and five generating stations.
Officials in the resort town of Ocean City have hired a lobbyist in an attempt to get the Maryland legislature to push two wind energy projects farther offshore. The officials argue that wind turbines will hurt their lucrative tourist economy.
October 19, 2017
Right now, only 1 percent of the 70,000 transit buses in the U.S. are electric. Electric bus startup Proterra is leading a shift away from diesel-powered public transit to help city transit authorities save money, improve health and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Two Republican senators are proposing to fast-track the approval process for companies that want to export small-scale volumes of liquefied natural gas outside the U.S. Currently, these exports must be declared in the "public interest" by the Energy Department.
A Senate committee has delayed consideration of four of President Trump's nominees for key posts at the EPA to get EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to change his position on loosening the biofuels mandate in the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The Gaza Strip will have three new solar energy plants that produce 40 megawatts of electrical power operating by next spring, officials with Samaha Group say. The U.S.-based firm and its local partners want to provide some relief for the territory that has daily blackouts and severe power shortages.
The world's first commercial floating offshore wind farm began delivering electricity to Scotland this week. At peak capacity, the 30-megawatt wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 homes. Read more from ICN about the potential of floating wind farms to power much of the world.
October 18, 2017
The conservative think tank American Council for Capital Formation, which has ties to the Trump administration, released a report saying that tax reform could help clean energy technologies. The group says the topic should be debated without linking it to climate change.
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said he may try to block President Trump's nominees for key posts at the EPA unless the administration backs off a proposed reduction in the volume of biofuels blended into gasoline and diesel. He said it would result in job losses in his state.