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Updated: 1 hour 38 min ago

Survey: Distributed Generation an Opportunity, Not a Threat to Utilities

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 15:01

Distributed generation is the most disruptive technology to the utility business model, but rather than look at it as a threat, most utility executives perceive it as an opportunity, according to a survey commissioned by engineering firm Siemens.

Delaware's Plan to Shepherd US Offshore Wind: Build Bridges

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 14:57

Offshore wind in the U.S. continues to find its sea legs: Cape Wind is tying off final funding, in a race with Deepwater to be the first to put steel in the water, while a number of pilot projects now await the Department of Energy's down-select to see who continues to get funding to progress their next phases. In the middle, where it sees a need to bring everyone's efforts, is a new group out of the U. of Delaware.

Readers Respond Day 6: Can We Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy?

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 12:50

Several countries have announced ambitious goals to be powered completely by renewable energy, while other nations set smaller, incremental goals. These high aspirations have sparked quite a debate amongst industry experts, and we here at Renewable Energy World are curious to hear what you, our readers, have to say.

Utility-Backed Anti-Solar Bill on the Move in Kansas Statehouse

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 12:37

Last week, the Kansas House Energy Committee again considered taking up an anti-solar net metering bill (HB 2458) pushed by two major utilities Westar Energy and Kansas City Power & Light. The House committee passed an amended HB2458 that would make substantive, negative changes to solar net metering if passed through the state legislature. As amen

Japan Has More Potential to Harness Wind Power, Says GE

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 07:49

General Electric Co. considers Japan ripe for new investment in wind power as the resource-poor country diversifies energy supply in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster almost three years ago.

Infrared: A New Renewable Energy Source?

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 07:47

When the sun sets on a remote desert outpost and solar panels shut down, what energy source will provide power through the night? A battery, perhaps, or an old diesel generator? Perhaps something strange and new.

Virginia Makes Progress Toward More Favorable Solar Market

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 07:46

It is no secret that Virginia lags far behind in its track record on solar energy, especially compared to neighboring states such as D.C., North Carolina, and Maryland. Thanks largely to the development of robust solar renewable energy credit (SREC) markets, Maryland ranks fourteenth in the country in installed solar capacity, and the latest Solar

The US Department of Energy’s 2014 Budget Request: Implications for Renewable Energy Funding

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 06:56

U.S. President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion compromise spending bill that funds the government through September 2014 on January 17, 2014. The bipartisan budget temporarily brought an end to forced budget cuts and constant infighting over funding in Congress. The new budget eases many of the sequester-imposed spending cuts while reducing the federal deficit by about a trillion dollars over the next ten years.

US Solar Celebrates Records in 2013, Big Trends Coming in 2014

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 23:02

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in the U.S. topped 4.78 GW in 2013, an increase of 41 percent over 2012, according to the annual market review and outlook published today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research. The industry won't quite maintain that torrid pace in 2014, but watch for progress on a number of important fronts, from long-anticipated investment innovation to a rebound in the midsize project sector to addressing changes to federal investment tax credits.

Manitoba Hydro Signs PPAs with Wisconsin Power to Help Hydro Projects

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 09:24

Manitoba Hydro announced late last week that it has inked two major power sales with Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group (NYSE: TEG).

Five Reasons Solar’s Win Over Gas in Minnesota is Just the Beginning

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 09:15

Solar advocates were popping corks when a New Year’s Eve ruling by an administrative law judge in Minnesota said that distributed solar arrays were a more cost-effective resource than natural gas to meet Xcel Energy’s peak power needs. The energy media were aflutter for weeks, but many missed the bigger significance. If solar trumps gas for peaking

Floating Wind Farms Venture Farther Out to Sea

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 06:50

There’s roughly enough wind off the West Coast to power all of the United States. Alla Weinstein is determined to harness as much of it as she can. Weinstein is chief executive officer of Principle Power, a Seattle company that has developed a ballast system that buoys wind turbines so they don’t have to be bolted to the seabed. On Feb. 5, Principle received approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior to build a 30-megawatt floating wind farm off Oregon’s coast, the nation’s first in the Pacific Ocean.

The Rise of Distributed Generation Threatens Utilities

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 06:19

In the late 1980s, the band R.E.M. achieved pop music fame by claiming, it's the end of the world as we know it. Utilities should heed their warning. Distributed generation (DG) could be the end of utilities as we know them today. Or, as we at Morningstar like to say, DG could destroy utilities' economic moats.

Why US New Installed Wind Capacity Fell 99.98 Percent...And What To Do About It

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 05:58

Over the past decade, the wind industry has been the U.S. poster child for scalable renewable energy development. In the fourth quarter of 2012 alone, the U.S. added a record-breaking 8.38 GW of wind turbines, surpassing 60 GW of total installed capacity. To put this in perspective, the newly installed wind projects in that single, three-month period:

Five Lessons That US Offshore Wind Must Learn from Europe

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 11:45

The nascent U.S. offshore wind industry has some big hurdles to jump, from more broadly raising support and awareness of its benefits to simply getting first steel in the water to prove it can be done, experts noted at last week's Offshore Wind Power USA conference last week in Boston. Experts say the U.S. has a lot to learn from Europe's offshore wind development and adoption — which means more than the tongue-in-cheek simplicity offered by Doug Copeland, regional development manager with EDF Renewable Energy, who advised with "100 percent certainty" that U.S. offshore wind projects "will come on late and over budget."

Austin, Texas Approves Wind Power Agreement to Achieve Utility's Renewables Goal Four Years Early

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 10:44

The Austin, Texas, City Council approved a wind power contract Feb. 27 that enables Austin Energy to achieve its goal of delivering 35 percent of all of its electricity from renewable sources four years ahead of its goal, the utility said in a news release.

Two Thin-Film Solar Efficiency Records Broken Last Week

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 09:27

That’s right, not one, but two thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies broke efficiency records last week. Both technologies put their thin-film PV within much closer range of silicon-based PV, which comprise the overwhelming majority of installed solar power today.  Since thin-film embraces a variety of technologies, they’re at different le

New Suntech Rises from Ashes, Eyes UK

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 08:12

Opportunities for me to write about former solar pioneer Suntech (OTC: STPFQ) are growing fewer with each passing day, as its life as an independent company nears an end with the imminent finalization of its bankruptcy liquidation. That said, a company announcement saying that a new Suntech has emerged after the yearlong bankruptcy storm seems like

Study Shows Securitization Can Lower the Cost of Capital for Solar PV

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 07:39

The limited availability of low-cost financing is holding back market adoption of solar photovoltaics (PV). However, securitization can make project financing more affordable than it is today, according to new research from the Open Sustainability Technology Laboratory at Michigan Technological University.

Guessing Game: Tesla's Gigafactory and Energy Storage Aims

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 06:00

Tesla made a splash last week with its proposed $5 billion "Gigafactory" and its eye-popping numbers: a 10 million square foot facility on an entire land area of 500-1,000 acres, with output of 35 GWh/year of battery cells and 50 GWh/year of battery packs by 2020. That'll be enough to support 500,000 of the company's forthcoming Gen-3 vehicles, compared with a little over 20,000 annual demand for its cars today. By comparison, the entire lithium-ion battery supply-chain produced about 34 GWh in 2013, the vast amount going not to electric vehicles but consumer electronics.