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Updated: 16 weeks 12 hours ago

UK Government Names Clean Energy Cabinet Members

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 14:07

With the UK general election now over and a majority Conservative Party government in place, the re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron has now named key members of the government charged with steering the UK’s clean energy policy over the coming years.

Solar Market Suffering in Brazil

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 09:53

The Brazilian real has declined 17 percent since Oct. 31, when more than a gigawatt of solar farms won contracts in the country’s first-ever national solar auction and with the slumping currency driving up import prices, developers are holding off on signing supply deals for PV panels. Manufacturers that were considering setting up shop in Brazil are having second thoughts. All of that is threatening President Dilma Rousseff’s goal of increasing the use of solar power more than 100-fold and creating a domestic solar industry.

Coast to Coast and Across Electric Systems, Microgrids Provide Benefits to All

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 09:05

At the most obvious level, microgrids could disrupt today’s utilities and their regulated-monopoly business model, because they challenge the centralized paradigm. In a nutshell, microgrids are localized power grids that have the ability to disconnect from the main, centralized grid to operate independently when the main power grid experiences disturbances. This significantly boosts grid resilience. For almost a century, large centralized power plants have generated electricity and delivered that energy over high-voltage transmission lines to customers. But with microgrids, all that could change.

Listen Up: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 06:38

For a homeowner, it’s a simple question. But in order to answer the question accurately, solar installers need to make a number of assumptions — as well as gather some pretty detailed information from a homeowner. Often, by the time these data gathering questions are answered, the homeowner is even more confused.

UK Prime Minister Appoints Wind Farm Opponent to Energy Post

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 11:23

Prime Minister David Cameron named a vocal opponent of onshore wind farms to a junior post in the U.K. energy department, reinforcing his Conservative government’s effort to halt the spread of turbines in rural areas.

Can Tesla's Battery Hit $1 Billion Faster Than the iPhone?

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 10:58

Tesla’s new line of big, stackable batteries for homes and businesses started with a bang. The reservations reported in the first week are valued at roughly $800 million, according to numbers crunched by Bloomberg. If Tesla converts even a fraction of those reservations into actual sales, the battery roll-out could measure up as one of the biggest ever for a new product category.

What’s In A Name? That Which We Call A Solar Microgrid Is By Any Other Name A Solar Installation

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 10:56

A few years ago in a solar marketing department near you an enterprising executive had an epiphany: the word “microgrid” could be adapted to describe any system of any size and then used to confer a marketing advantage. Moreover, the more timely and part of the solar-lexicon the phrase microgrid became, the bigger and broader the opportunity it could describe potentially applying to everything from a residential PV system with a battery to a multi-megawatt installation. As long as the installation could be described as distributed generation (DG), it can be a microgrid.

The Value of Net Metered Electricity in New York

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 10:18

Net metering is unfair and is dangerous for the long term health of utilities, at least according to Raymond Wuslich, when he spoke at the 2015 Renewable Energy Conference in Poughkeepsie, NY. Wustlich is an attorney and partner at Winston & Strawn, LLP., and advises clients across the electricity and natural gas industries on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) matters.

From Finance to Customer Acquisition, Catalyst SunShot Finalists Compete to Launch Big

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 08:11

In January, SunShot competitively selected 17 teams to move forward in the overall Catalyst Prize competition. Each of the teams had 60 days to build a prototype product using the TopCoder platform, a 700,000 member community of software developers managed by Appirio, a San Francisco-based information technology consulting company.

Germany’s Powerhouse Feels Pinch of Merkel’s Shift to Renewables

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 09:23

North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state that’s home to utilities RWE AG and EON SE, is losing its standing as the country’s powerhouse as wind and solar energy begin to displace conventional sources.

Experts Agree: Electric Grid Will Stay Ahead of the Curve on the Clean Power Plan

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 08:58

In a timely new report, three prominent electric grid industry experts refute claims that the president's proposal to cut carbon pollution from power plants will jeopardize electric grid reliability. The authors, Susan Tierney, Eric Svenson, and Brian Parsons, explain that those claims undervalue the grid's strengths and the Clean Power Plan's flexible design. They also chart a role for grid planners to help states develop their plans to cut carbon pollution.

Energy Storage May Already Make Sense for Many Commercial Customers

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 08:53

In the wake of Tesla’s recently announced entrance into the stationary energy storage market, there has been a wave of analysis of what this might mean for residential and commercial utility customers. The bulk of the headlines have centered on the sleek residential Powerwall, but far fewer have investigated the implications of Tesla’s commercial-s

Alaska Airlines, Gevo To Demonstrate Renewable Alcohol-to-Jet Fuel

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 08:18

In Colorado, Gevo and Alaska Airlines announced a strategic alliance to purchase Gevo’s renewable jet fuel and fly the first-ever commercial flight on alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ).

California Environmental Permitting Still Favors Natural Gas

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 05:41

Those in the energy field often hear how renewables must compete on a level playing field with fossil fuels. To make this concept a reality, experts have an interesting suggestion: Make it as easy to permit solar farms as it is to permit natural gas projects.

UK Conservative Victory Sparks Climate and Renewable Energy Concerns

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 11:19

Amber Rudd was named to serve as the U.K. Cabinet minister in charge of energy and climate, easing concerns that the Conservative government would quickly backtrack on pledges to reduce fossil-fuel pollution.

Solar Power Inc. Agrees to Buy Controlling Stake in Convertergy

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 11:11

Solar Power Inc., a renewable-energy project developer backed by China’s LDK Solar Co., agreed to buy a 76.8 percent stake in Convertergy Energy Technology Co., a provider of energy-monitoring services.

Brazil-based Renova’s Partnership with SunEdison Shows Shift in Strategy

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 10:28

Instead of owning and operating power plants, which deliver long-term, steady revenue streams, Renova Energia SA's Thursday deal to sell assets to TerraForm Global Inc., a newly formed unit of U.S. developer SunEdison Inc., is the first step toward selling all its operating assets, according to a person involved in the deal who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.

The Fantasy of Electric Rates: Time to Educate Ratepayers

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 09:38

Many electric utilities are flexing their political muscles against solar net metering and state renewable portfolio standards (RPS). Their main issue is that other consumers are subsidizing solar (and renewables), particularly pointing to lower-income consumers. I have already written about the numerous studies that disprove those allegations, but that is not what this article is about.

A Solution to Intermittent Renewables Using Pumped Hydropower

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 08:37

Integrating large quantities of renewable generation with low-carbon technology will require the development of large flexible carbon-free generation and storage assets. Over the last 40 years, numerous large capacity pumped-storage hydropower plants (PSPs) have been built worldwide, many of which could be retrofitted to provide grid-balancing services that the grid of the future will need.

Why Fungi-Based Biofuels Could Eventually Replace Conventional Jet Fuel

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 15:40

The University of Washington is developing a fungi based aviation biofuel that might be competitive on the open market. Fungi naturally do many of the complicated chemical processes required by other fuels. This should mean that a fungi biofuel has lower production costs.



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