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Renewable Energy News

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Updated: 34 min 14 sec ago

We Can Do Better: The Unintended Consequences of EPA’s “Clean Power Plan”

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 06:22

Most people agree that it is time to seriously reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG).  EPA is actually required by law to reduce power and industrial GHG emissions in the U.S., and they certainly deserve an “E” for effort so far.  But effort without good outcomes doesn’t really count.  Sadly, the EPA’s rule as proposed would create unin

Giant Energy Storage Project Aims at Renewable Energy's Holy Grail

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 05:50

At a windy mountain pass on the edge of the Mojave Desert, North America’s most potent collection of batteries used for storing unused power is humming its way toward an electricity revolution.

Transforming the Utility Sector with New Business Models

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 04:21

The “utility death spiral” is a term that is becoming all too familiar as distributed energy technologies expand. But how real is it? Are regulated utilities going way — or are they on their way to new business models? According to a new study by Berkeley Lab, distributed solar photovoltaics (PV) are the most immediate threat to investor-owned util

5 Common Twitter Solar Marketing Mistakes and Fixes for SPI

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 04:18

Next week is Solar Power International in Vegas, and I’ve been watching the Twittersphere for how solar manufacturers are communicating about their SPI plans and promotions, and I’m seeing several common mistakes that can be quickly fixed. Here they are: Mistake #1: You’re not even Tweeting about SPI. Oops... Many solar manufacturers still don’t ha

Grab the Low-hanging Fruit: Use Solar Forecasting Before Storage to Stabilize the Grid

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:27

Okay, so we all know that the output of solar photovoltaic systems vary with the available resource by the season, month, day, and hour. This so-called variability of solar, like wind, creates challenges for grid operators who are accustomed to turning up and down power plants to balance the grid.

India Should Move Solar to Fixed Tariffs, Yes Bank Says

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 22:29

India should move its solar industry to a fixed-pricing model like the one used in Germany, said one of the nation’s biggest clean-energy lenders, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to expand renewable targets.

New Report Sheds Light on the Old "Food Vs. Fuel" Bioenergy Debate

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 22:09

It was an abundant year for corn growers in the U.S. This year’s corn crop is going to be substantially higher than any year on record. According to the monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report that is released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, total production is now projected at 14.475 billion bushels, 550 million bushels over the 2013 record. Yields, also a record, are projected at 172.4 bushels per acre. In fact corn yields have been growing substantially over time.

Renewables to Drive Power Generation Growth in Africa, IEA Says

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 10:44

Renewable energy will satisfy much of Africa’s expanding power needs by 2040 as the continent unlocks vast hydropower resources, the International Energy Agency said.

Earth to Cellulosic Ethanol: Glad You’re Here, Buddy, What Took so Long? Part I

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 10:42

There’s a gigantic disconnect between two sections in the country as to whether the United States should be celebrating the success or the failure of cellulosic biofuels — biofuels made from crop residues, energy crops, and other feedstocks including municipal solid waste, and which feature a 60 percent or greater full-lifecycle reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional gasoline.

Norway Approves First Direct Electricity Link to Germany

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 08:36

Norway approved the construction of the first direct electricity cable to Germany and granted a license for a link to the U.K. to aid power trading between the nations.

City Poised to Adopt First-in-the-Nation Partnership with Energy Utilities

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 08:06

Ever wonder what happened to the notion last August that the city of Minneapolis (MN) would take over its energy utilities? While it may seem like the issue vanished, last Monday the Minneapolis City Council held a hearing on another way forward to a better energy future. On the table is a novel partnership between the city and Xcel Energy and Cent

China Finally Acknowledges Unfair Pricing, To Sharply Lower Renewable Tariffs by 2020

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 07:25

Lofty targets contained in a new report show that China intends to push ahead with ambitious plans to build up its renewable energy sector. But perhaps the most interesting thing about this new report is word that Beijing finally intends to sharply reduce the inflated state-set fees now paid for solar and wind-produced power, in one of the sharpest

Listen Up: Let's Talk Solar Chips and How They Can Reduce Costs, Improve Efficiency

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 04:14

Solar modules started out as fairly simple moisture-proof sandwiches of glass, silicon cells, glue and backsheets — with a junction box that contains a few diodes to bypass defective or shaded cells. No fancy electronics in the early days. Then power electronics circuitry crept into early inverters — to the point now where all inverters contain hundreds of electronics chips to provide various optimization, communications and safety functions. Now that many installations use microinverters or optimizers, every single solar panel has its own collection of electronics chips.

Prost! 5 Breweries Embracing Renewable Energy

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 14:31

Love it or hate it, summer is gone and cold weather is creeping its way into our lives. Here in New England, fall brings all sorts of activities, from apple picking to pumpkin patches to football. But at REW, we’re most excited for one quintessential fall event: Oktoberfest. The changing leaves also bring about changing brews, so we decided to high

Buffett's MidAmerican to Invest Another $280 Million in Iowa Wind Energy

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 10:08

MidAmerican Energy Co., which has already committed about $15 billion to renewable energy, plans to invest an additional $280 million in Iowa wind farms.

Will an Energy Proposal in New York Institutionalize Power Monopolies?

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 10:02

Co-written with Natara Feller. On August 22, the New York Public Service Commission (NY PSC) issued a proposed rule on the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative and comments were submitted throughout September. In short, the PSC intends to transform NY’s utilities into Distributed System Platform Providers (DSPPs), which will create, operate

How One Utility Enlisted Geothermal Cooling to Reduce Peak Electric Demand and Improve System Utilization

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 09:34

On July 1st, 2014, PSEG Long Island released its Utility 2.0 Long Range Plan. This plan is on the leading edge of New York’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) proceeding. REV is a process through which the NYS Public Service Commission is defining the utility of the future — one that meets customers’ and society’s evolving needs by making efficient use of distributed energy resources (DER). The REV defines DERs to include energy efficiency, demand response and distributed generation.

Net-Zero Neighborhoods Gaining Traction

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 09:18

The largest net-zero neighborhood in North America will be constructed more than a mile above sea level. All 308 houses in the Geos Neighborhood in Arvada, Colo. will harness sunlight and the earth’s core to generate as much energy as the homes consume. But before the solar and geothermal technology comes into play, the design of these cottages and

Is Energy Efficiency Investment Hurting Renewables?

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 09:09

Investments in measures to curb energy waste and boost efficiency are overtaking wind and solar spending and have reached at least $310 billion a year, the International Energy Agency said.

Lessons from the Cell Phone Phenomenon: How Microgrids Can Power Developing Countries

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 06:44

Buying vegetables in a small town in Ecuador from a woman who had trekked from her farm miles away, barefoot, in traditional indigenous garb, made me feel I was back in time. As we were conducting our transaction, I heard a ringtone and instinctively reached into my pocket. The 70-year-old woman pulled out her cell phone. This woman, along with the majority of people in rural areas of the developing world, never had a land-line in her home, probably has no electricity, and may not even have a toilet. Yet she relies on her mobile phone. In fact, developing countries around the world have leapfrogged past the landline infrastructure of the industrialized world and now have more mobile users than those in high-income nations.