While two years of crashing prices for oil, natural gas, and coal triggered dramatic downsizing in those industries, renewables have been thriving. Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015 and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels. One reason is that renewable energy is becoming ever cheaper to produce. Recent solar and wind auctions in Mexico and Morocco ended with winning bids from companies that promised to produce electricity at the cheapest rate, from any source, anywhere in the world, said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Twenty U.S. cities from the West Coast and Hawaii to New York-New Jersey, the Midwest and the Gulf Coast have emerged as urban leaders in solar power, according to data released this morning by the nonprofit group Environment America. In an analysis of solar adoption by U.S. cities, the Environment America Research and Policy Center found that 64 cities account for 1,700 megawatts of photovoltaic solar capacity — almost as much solar energy as the entire country produced in 2010.
Energy giant Dominion Resources Inc. is making a strong business case in favor of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, telling a federal appeals court that compliance with the rule to curb carbon emission from power plants is “feasible” and that “effects on power plants and customers can be successfully managed” with market-based tools. And in a rebuke to opponents of the EPA rule, led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Dominion said their “overly narrow interpretation of the Clean Air Act would be more disruptive to the power sector, and result in higher compliance costs for power plant owners and electricity customers.”
Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday implored business leaders to invest more of their money and influence into hastening a global clean energy transition, saying that “unless we harness the power of clean, renewable sources … the consequences will be absolutely devastating.” In his second major policy speech on climate change since nearly 200 nations reached a global climate agreement in Paris in December, Kerry told about 1,000 investors and other business leaders at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Future of Energy Summit in New York that a transition to low-carbon energy is critical.
n the global race to create more efficient and long-lasting batteries, some are betting on nanotechnology — the use of minuscule parts — as the most likely to yield a breakthrough. Improving batteries’ performance is key to the development and success of many much-hyped technologies, from solar and wind energy to electric cars. They need to hold more energy, last longer, be cheaper and safer.
Many of us enjoy a good social media-inspired “Throw Back Thursday,” a time to revisit amusing photos or memories of a past age when we were young and naïve, so to speak. Not many of us take it quite as literally, however, as the Koch-backed Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) did recently, when they published an anti-renewable energy hit piece in The Hill titled “Renewables are incapable of replacing hydrocarbons at scale.”
he collapse of SunEdison Inc. may be among the most resounding single downfalls in the history of solar. Yet the impact on the clean energy industry could be little more than a hiccup. The aggressive expansions and crushing debt load that pushed the Maryland Heights, Missouri, company to the brink of bankruptcy as it lost $9.2 billion in equity in nine months are not emblematic of the industry at large, according to clean energy analysts and executives interviewed at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in New York, which continues Tuesday. Rather, they said, the solar and wind industries remain on sound footing, poised to grow briskly in the years ahead.
Iowa’s two largest utilities want to build big community solar gardens that could give customers record access to alternative energy from wind and solar. But their plans come at a potentially high price, renewable energy advocates contend. MidAmerican’s and Alliant’s proposals for paying consumers for the solar energy they generate at their homes, businesses and stores could double or triple the time needed to recoup the investment, essentially quashing development of the fledgling industry in the state.
New York will need to tap offshore wind, one of the most expensive sources of electricity, to meet its clean energy goals, according to the state’s chairman of energy and finance. “We are not going to be achieve our 50 percent goals by 2030 without offshore wind,” said Richard Kauffman, the former chairman of Levi Strauss & Co. who was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to revamp New York’s energy system.
Warren Buffett joked in his letter to shareholders last month that he’s “not ready for Tinder,” the dating app. Turns out, some of his holdings are ready for electronic match ups. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s energy unit has been courting three dozen power transmission operators in the western U.S. to join its utilities and the California grid in trading power across their borders electronically and instantaneously. This means traders wouldn’t need to pick up the phone or send e-mails each hour to schedule the purchase and sale of renewables while hoping the sun and wind hold out until the next hour.