Blade by blade, General Electric Co. is building part of its future a few miles off the Rhode Island coast, turning a one-time piece of Enron Corp. into a global renewable-energy business. GE shipped 400-ton nacelles and other massive equipment from its factories in Europe to Providence this summer to outfit the Block Island project, the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. The turbines — each about twice the height of the Statue of Liberty — were installed last week and are set to go online later this year.
Renewable energy has made significant inroads into the U.S. energy system and even in the era of low fossil fuel prices, costs for solar and wind installations are down dramatically. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar industry trade group, costs to install solar panels fell by more than 70 percent over the last 10 years and during that time, solar saw a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 60 percent. The trade organization for the wind energy industry, the American Wind Energy Association, said costs are down more than 90 percent since the early 1980s.
The purchase price of U.S. solar energy systems is at a record low, according to two new reports from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The “state of the market” reports examine both distributed solar photovoltaic systems, such as those commonly found on residential rooftops, and utility-scale solar. The median installed price of solar systems in the United States fell about 5 to 12 percent last year, according to the lab. For example, the price of utility-scale systems last year fell by roughly 12 percent from 2014. Prices for large nonresidential systems fell by about 9 percent.
Residents in Kidal in northern Mali are finding it easier to work and study into the night thanks to a solar lighting project recently introduced to the area. About 1,500 households are now able to switch on their lights thanks to a 50,000 US dollar project funded by the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The government has been trying to promote renewable energy technologies since 2007, hoping they will reach 15 percent of the total national energy supply by 2020
So much wind sweeps through Oklahoma’s plains that the state — while currently ranked fourth in its capacity to produce wind energy — is on pace to overtake No. 3 California in installed capacity by the end of the year. Data from the second quarter of 2015 shows Oklahoma has more than 1,000 megawatts of wind capacity under construction, said Hannah Hunt, a senior analyst with the American Wind Energy Association.
California will set a sweeping economywide carbon emissions target of a 40 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2030, after lawmakers voted yesterday to approve a bill giving them more say in the state’s climate policies. The state Senate passed a bill to give lawmakers more oversight of the California Air Resources Board, the agency charged with writing regulations to achieve the targets. It was part of a package that also included S.B. 32, the actual target-setting bill, which passed the Assembly on Tuesday. Both measures now head to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has said he will sign them.
A Southern California county refused to authorize a sprawling solar power project yesterday, jeopardizing the contentious federally approved project. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors yesterday voted not to approve the county’s environmental review of the 287-megawatt Soda Mountain Solar Project, which has drawn widespread opposition for its location near the Mojave National Preserve.
“Gov. Inslee and the state of Washington continue to champion clean energy innovation. Driving innovation is at the core of how our country maintains its leadership in developing clean, low-carbon energy technologies,” Moniz said. Inslee and Moniz made the announcement last week at the Northwest Regional Clean Energy Innovation Partnership Workshop. The event is jointly hosted by the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Lab.
New versions of two Tesla Motors Inc. cars can now go up to 315 miles on a single charge, the company announced. The Model S sedan and Model X sport-utility vehicle are now equipped with 100-kilowatt-hour batteries, which was the result of increasing their energy density. The biggest battery size previously was 90 kWh.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) could soon issue an executive order calling for reductions in carbon emissions from the state’s power plants, according to a draft of the document obtained by ClimateWire. The proposed cuts closely track goals set for Colorado by U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Hickenlooper’s office acknowledged a draft is being vetted but said no final decisions have been made on the document’s contents.