The Price of Solar Is Declining to Unprecedented Lows

Source: By Robert Fares, Scientific American • Posted: Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

The installed price of solar energy has declined significantly in recent years as policy and market forces have driven more and more solar installations. Now, the latest data show that the continued decrease in solar prices is unlikely to slow down anytime soon, with total installed prices dropping by 5 percent for rooftop residential systems, and 12 percent for larger utility-scale solar farms. With solar already achieving record-low prices, the cost decline observed in 2015 indicates that the coming years will likely see utility-scale solar become cost competitive with conventional forms of electricity generation.

Offshore wind sails forward, but a different story on land

Source: By MATT O'BRIEN Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Even as Rhode Island makes history as the first U.S. state with an offshore wind farm, its people are not so fond of wind turbines sprouting up on land near where they live. Dreams of a wind-powered nation sparked by the pioneering Atlantic Ocean project are running aground back on shore, where conventional battles over aesthetics and property values have stymied wind projects here and around the country. Ruth Pacheco said she didn’t expect so much hostility when she invited a developer to build a giant wind turbine atop a forested hill at her 52-acre family farm in rural North Smithfield.

PG&E may build nation’s largest deployment of EV charging spots

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

The biggest utility in California will soon learn whether it can install as many as 7,600 electric vehicle charging stations, a controversial plan that would be the single largest deployment of plug-in spots in the country. Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s proposal would have ratepayers foot the $160 million cost. The utility would partner with charging companies but largely would build and maintain the infrastructure. PG&E would prioritize placements at workplaces and multifamily housing, including apartment buildings. A portion would go in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Which State Is a Big Renewable Energy Pioneer? Texas

Source: By Bill Spindle and Rebecca Smith, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

On a blustery February night, the Texas electricity market hit a milestone. Nearly half the power flowing onto the grid came from wind turbines, a level unimaginable a decade ago in a place better known for its long romance with fossil fuels. The Lone Star state still embraces its oil and gas, leading a revolution in innovative “fracking” technology. Yet an equally startling energy bonanza here has gone almost unnoticed—the rise of renewables. Texas has added more wind-based generating capacity than any other state, with wind turbines accounting for 16% of electrical generating capacity as of April. Now Texas is anticipating a huge surge in solar power.

Gov. Brown signs bill banning state money for coal exports

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill Friday aimed at cutting coal exports from the Golden State. Brown approved S.B. 1279 from state Sen. Loni Hancock (D), which takes effect in 2017. It blocks the California Transportation Commission from giving state funds to any new transport terminal “that stores, handles, or transports coal in bulk.”

CIP acquires Massachusetts offshore project

Source: By David Weston, Windpower Offshore • Posted: Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

As part of the deal, CIP has acquired the rights to a 675 square kilometre offshore wind energy lease off Massachusetts, northeast US. OffshoreMW won the development rights to the site in an auction in January 2015. OffshoreMW placed a winning bid $166,886 for a the zone. CIP said it would continue to develop the project, expected to be up to 1GW in capacity, “by the existing local development team, supported by senior industry experts from Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners”.

Power generation hitting new highs in U.S.

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 29th, 2016

Renewable power generation reached new highs in every month of the first half of 2016 in comparison with all previous years, according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The data document a string of renewable records this year. In March and April, non-hydropower renewables such as wind and solar provided 10 percent of the nation’s electricity for the first time, for example. In January through June, renewable electricity generation hovered about 10 billion kilowatt-hours above the average for each mon

EPA pushes back comment deadline on early credit program to Nov. 1.

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 29th, 2016

U.S. EPA is giving commenters two extra months to submit their thoughts on a controversial portion of the Clean Power Plan. The agency yesterday extended the deadline for feedback on its Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) to Nov. 1. The CEIP is voluntary and is meant to encourage early renewable power development and low-income energy efficiency projects. But many have suggested that as written, it may not work in the way the agency intends

Iowa Utilities Board approves huge wind energy project

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, August 29th, 2016

The Iowa Utilities Board has approved a wind turbine operation it says will be the nation’s largest wind energy project. Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy is behind the planned $3.6 billion wind turbine operation that will generate up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity. MidAmerican Energy said that is enough 800,000 homes and the project will see 85 percent of the company’s Iowa customer needs met through wind energy by 2020.

Editorial: The Unlimited Power of Ocean Winds

Source: By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times • Posted: Monday, August 29th, 2016

The first offshore wind farm in American waters, near Block Island, R.I., was completed this month. With just five turbines, the farm won’t make much of a dent in the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, but it shows the promise this renewable energy source could have. When the turbines start spinning in November, they will power the island, which currently relies on diesel generators, and will also send electricity to the rest of Rhode Island. Putting windmills offshore, where the wind is stronger and more reliable than on land, could theoretically provide about four times the amount of electricity as is generated on the American grid today from all sources. This resource could be readily accessible to areas on the coasts, where 53 percent of Americans live.