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Renewable Energy News

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Updated: 56 min ago

Listen Up: Let's Talk About Solar Reliability

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 06:50

I love good stories — especially interesting anecdotes about the solar industry. One of the best sources for these stories is "Thoughts on Solar," a blog written regularly by Jim Jenal. Jim is the CEO of Run on Sun, a residential and commercial installer based in Pasadena, California. I had the pleasure of having Jim as my guest on the Energy Show, and most of what we talked about related to reliability of rooftop systems, and the reputation of the solar industry itself.

Can Gigawatts of Geothermal Save the Salton Sea?

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 14:32

Famously known for its rise and fall as a resort destination in the 50s and 60s, The Salton Sea area in California has struggled to find support for revitalization efforts. After all, the lake’s high salinity makes it nearly impossible for sea life to prosper, and as water levels continue to diminish, the exposed sea floor further contaminates the arid, stale air. However, there is one industry that is eager to take advantage of what seemingly little the area has to offer — geothermal. Under the surface of that toxic seabed are thousands of megawatts of potential.

Renewable Energy Brings Out Some Extreme Nimbyism

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 14:15

You may have heard of extreme preppers. These are people who spend a large portion of their time preparing themselves, their homes and their families for what they believe is an inevitable disaster resulting from an economic meltdown, the spread of a deadly virus, climate change or another catastrophic event.  And hey, you never know, in the end th

California Flexes Its Solar Muscles

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 12:31

At 1:41 PM on Saturday March 8, California hit a new record of solar energy output of nearly 4.1 GW. That narrowly beat out the previous record of 3.9 GW, which was set the day before. It's also more than double the peak solar output from last June, and quadruple the output from the summer of 2012. Coincident demand for the new record was about 22.6 GW, meaning at that peak solar served about 18 percent of demand, roughly enough to power three million homes. All of that data is from California ISO (CAISO), which reported the new mark earlier this week.

Why the Potential for Grid Defection Matters

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 09:51

Two weeks ago, Rocky Mountain Institute, HOMER Energy, and CohnReznick Think Energy released "The Economics of Grid Defection," which assesses when and where distributed solar-plus-battery systems could reach economic parity with the electric grid, creating the possibility for defection of utility customers.

A Look at Australia's Solar Power Rebate System

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 08:13

Solar rebates have been making news the world over, providing home- and small business owners in Australia, America, the UK and even South Africa with an added incentive to reduce their carbon footprints and live sustainably.

Meet Solar’s Imaginary Friend, Reactive Power

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 08:09

Utilities deliver both active (or real) power and reactive (or imaginary) power along their distribution lines. Real power does the actual work when you flip on a light switch.  Certain energy loads, such as motors and refrigerators, include energy storage elements that periodically need to reverse the direction of energy flow. This electric power

Merkel's Green Push Blows Away German Coal-Power Profits

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 08:03

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's campaign to limit climate change with an energy system based on renewable sources is cutting into profits of companies that still provide 57 percent of the power that keeps Europe's biggest economy humming.

And the Future of Residential Solar Is…Up for Grabs

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 07:18

Get ready — there is a revolution in residential solar going on. From financing models, solar leases, community (group buy) to owners of multi-unit housing complexes potentially becoming independent power producers, there is a changing of the business model guard. Think of it, the world may be a major storage innovation away from disconnecting from the utility grid. Do not kid yourself, there will be utility pushback but there will also be utility participation in the vein of, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

EU Power Sector Amiable, But Wind Chiefs Under no Illusions

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 02:22

Joking with someone in the GE Power and Water Renewable Energy team at the European Wind Energy Association event in Barcelona this week, I asked her if those on the conventional power side and those on her own unit sat at opposite ends of the GE HQ cafeteria in Schenctady, New York. Her answer reinforced a consensus I hear a lot in energy sectors.

It's Official: Efficiency, Clean Energy to Help Fill California's Nuclear Generation Gap

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 13:12

California took another major and symbolic step today with its decision to rely significantly on energy efficiency and other clean energy resources to help replace electricity once generated by the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS) serving San Diego and the greater Los Angeles area.

NextEra's Massive McCoy Solar Project Clears Another Hurdle

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 13:06

NextEra Energy has received local approval for the initial phase of one of the biggest solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in the U.S. development pipeline.

Election Frontrunner Signals Solar Revolution for India Power Market

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 08:11

Narendra Modi hasn’t said much about how he’d govern India if he wins the general election in May. One thing is clear: he’s signaling a clean energy revolution to end blackouts and revive economic growth.

Bravo to Affordable Solar for This Fun and Rewarding Solar Campaign

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 07:45

Often I hear the argument from solar companies that they can’t be “weird.” They can’t do a promotion with Zombies or anything outside the box and take a risk that people won’t get their marketing humor. They think the solar buying public won’t take them seriously as reliable solar installers. But is that really the case? I’m happy to say that at le

How Geothermal Heat Pumps Can Soar Like Solar

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 07:28

Ralph Waldo Emerson never said “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” The mousetrap that likely inspired the misquote was invented seven years after his death. Unfortunately, many people take it literally. GHPs have all the hallmarks of a better mousetrap: They do the job of heating and cooling a building more efficiently than any other option. Despite the larger up-front cost, they are a mature technology and usually the most economic option for buildings that can accommodate them.

UK Bioenergy: Are Dedicated Biomass Plants a Bust?

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 04:40

As Ed Davey, U.K. Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, spoke to the Environment Council in Brussels, saying: “We call for urgent action on reaching an ambitious 2030 energy and climate change agreement, to spur on investment in green, reliable energy,” at home in Britain the backers of a flagship biomass energy project announced that it would be economically unfeasible to continue development. What happened?

Vestas Back On Top as Wind Turbine Installions Leader

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 14:03

A turnaround story, a sluggish U.S market, and a surge in China cause a big shakeup in the ranks of wind turbine manufacturers, as compiled by new analyst reports.

Wind Energy Chiefs Share Warnings of Industry Pitfalls

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 09:49

The wind energy industry’s most influential figures have delivered various warnings this week on the threats that must be overcome to advance the industry’s development.

Recent European Solar Announcements Are Good News for the Solar Industry

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 08:58

To say that the European solar manufacturing industry has suffered some setbacks over the past few years would be an understatement. A glut of Chinese-made panels flooded the market in 2010, driving solar module prices to record lows and driving dozens of European and North American solar PV manufacturers out of business.

Reykjavik to Start Drilling on $2 Billion Ethiopia Geothermal Project

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 06:59

Reykjavik Geothermal, the Icelandic power-plant builder, plans to begin drilling in Ethiopia by July as part of a $2 billion project to develop the renewable energy source, Chief Operating Officer Gunnar Orn Gunnarsson said.