March 5, 2018
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.
Microsoft signed a 20-year agreement with Singapore solar firm Sunseap to purchase rooftop solar power. The tech giant says it's on track to beat its 2018 goal of using renewables for 50 percent of energy needs at its data centers.
February 28, 2018
American Electric Power drew attention when it promised to slash its greenhouse gas emissions to 60 percent below 2000 levels by 2030. While the utility has already achieved a lot of progress with renewables, it still gets nearly half its power from coal, and some of its dirtiest plants are not slated to close.
The U.S. could get 80 percent of its power from solar and wind energy, but doing so would require significant investments in energy storage and renewable energy infrastructure, according to new research that analyzed 36 years' worth of hourly sun and wind data.
President Trump met with U.S. senators to discuss changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, but they didn't come to an agreement on a plan. The president plans to speak to industry leaders next.
Last year, China's coal consumption picked up for the first time since 2013, the National Bureau of Statistics reports. But coal's portion of the energy mix is down, while natural gas and renewables rose 1.3 points to 20.8 percent of the energy mix, keeping China on track to meet its decarbonization targets.
China's huge coal sector is turning outward in search of new markets, with Chinese companies helping to build or finance hundreds of coal-fired power plants around the world. That includes the first coal-fired power plant in Kenya, a country that has been seeking to become a renewable energy hub.
February 27, 2018
More than 100 cities, from Seattle to Nairobi, now get at least 70 percent of their electricity from renewables, according to an analysis by the environmental group CDP. That's up from 42 in 2015, when the Paris climate agreement was announced. More than 40 cities, including Reykjavik, Iceland, now run on 100 percent renewables.
President Trump claimed the U.S. makes "much higher-quality" solar panels than China and that American solar manufacturers are "opening up at least five plants" following his solar tariff. Solar industry experts say those statements are not backed up by facts.
Researchers say they've developed a breakthrough in supercapacitors, which store electric charge and can be replenished faster than normal batteries. It could allow electric vehicles to be driven as far as gas and diesel vehicles and recharge in 10 minutes.
Despite a tumultuous 2017, solar installers' confidence in the industry increased significantly from the previous year, according to data collected by EnergySage and installer certification organization NABCEP. In California, however, regulatory hurdles and difficulties signing on new customers showed a drop in confidence.
February 26, 2018
President Trump called a meeting with officials to discuss potential changes to biofuels policy after a Pennsylvania refiner blamed regulations for its bankruptcy. Industry interests are clashing over the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires refiners to cover the cost of mixing biofuels like ethanol into their fuel.
Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards & Winery in Northern California uses a renewable energy microgrid system that held up during the devastating wildfires last year; it ran for 10 days while areas around it had power outages. Now, it could serve as a blueprint for other microgrid projects in the state.
NV Energy subsidiary Sierra Pacific Power plans to continue operating Nevada's North Valmy coal-fired plant through 2025, despite saying the early retirement of one unit would be cheaper. The Sierra Club says that if the company closed the unit in 2019 and replace it with renewable energy, customers could see $30 million in benefit.
In the coming decades, cheap renewables, energy efficiency improvements and the worldwide push to address climate change could significantly decrease demand for coal in India, according to a new analysis by Coal India, the nation's largest mining company.
February 22, 2018
For the first time, BP's Energy Outlook predicts peak oil on the horizon, driven by the rise of shared and autonomous electric vehicles. The oil giant forecasts that oil demand will plateau in the late 2030s, and the number of electric vehicles will grow to about 15 percent of the total car fleet by 2040.
President Trump's proposal to eliminate $42 million in funding for the Energy Star program, which sets efficiency benchmarks for appliances, electronics and other products, is sparking backlash from industry groups. The proposal calls for future funding to come through fees to companies that use the program.
General Electric's power plant business projected that its profits would rise because natural gas, coal and some nuclear power plants were the lowest-cost producers of electricity. But the company's profit fell 45 percent last year as sales of wind and solar power have surged.
Pressured by Republican Gov. Paul LePage, Maine's Public Utilities Commission decided that new rules reducing compensation for rooftop-generated power will take effect on March 16, six weeks earlier than the deadline it set just two months ago.
February 21, 2018
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's order to remove barriers to energy storage will require operators of wholesale markets to come up with standards and rules for storage. The rules will "establish a level playing field that, ideally, is relatively comparable across regions," said analyst Daniel Finn-Foley.
The Maine Renewable Energy Association is suing Gov. Paul LePage, claiming he violated Maine's constitutional separation of powers when he issued a moratorium on new wind turbine permits. It's the second lawsuit challenging the executive order that halted wind permits.
South Australian premier Jay Weatherill is promising to lift the state-based renewable energy target from 50 percent to 75 percent by 2025 and to introduce the country's first renewable energy storage target that a quarter of the state's peak demand be met by stored renewable energy.
In the small Nigerian village of Gbamu Gbamu, a new distribution system will deliver power from a 30-kilowatt installation of solar panels and a trailer full of batteries that keep electricity flowing at night. The project is a blueprint for communities not connected to the electrical grid to access reliable power.
February 20, 2018
As much plant capacity is set to shut down in 2018 as during the 2015 peak, when the coal industry dropped 15 gigawatts, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The Sierra Club reports that more coal capacity closed in the first 45 days of 2018 than in Obama's entire first term.
A Republican lawmaker has proposed loosening Ohio's law requiring wind turbines on commercial wind farms to be 1,300 feet from the closest property line. But, the Ohio Power Siting Board has proposed requiring wind farm developers to get a waiver from all adjacent property owners. Read more from ICN about the fossil fuel industry's effort to stop Ohio's clean energy shift.
FirstEnergy plans to sell or close its 1,300 megawatt coal-fired Pleasants Power Station in West Virginia next year. The plant has been at the center of a conflict between the company and state consumer advocates.