SolarCity, the country’s hungriest solar installer, and Nest, the maker of the highest-profile thermostat, announced a partnership yesterday that hints at how rooftop solar and the connected home might play together. The program, offered in California, gives a free Nest thermostat to the first 10,000 homeowners in the state who sign up for solar panels from SolarCity and also agree to be part of Nest’s growing ecosystem of connected home devices. As soon as this summer, the two may start to link, seeking energy efficiencies when the sun is shining.
Harvard University President Drew Faust convened a panel yesterday led by seven experts on climate policies and energy sources and anchored by a star of the journalism world, Charlie Rose. It came in response to mounting pressure from Harvard students, faculty and alumni on the university to divest its $35.9 billion endowment — the largest of any college or university worldwide — from investments in coal, oil and natural gas companies.
Developers behind a cross-state transmission line project submitted plans to Illinois regulators for the portion of the line that crosses the state from Missouri to Indiana. Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners has been working for years on several large electricity transmission projects, including the 780-mile Grain Belt Express line. Clean Line aims to cash in on wind energy generation in the Great Plains by building the infrastructure to wire it to population centers further east.
Germany’s model, which heavily leans on renewables, is slowly being copied from California to China as wind and solar upstage traditional fuels like nuclear and coal. “Our job has become much more complex,” Scheibner said in an interview from the control center outside Berlin owned by 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, one of Germany’s four main grid operators. “It’s not an easy mission, and it will cost money. But if you are doing it consciously, then it will be doable. We have already come so far.
A cadre of liberal Senate Democrats yesterday sought to counter Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) recent advice to states, warning governors that choosing not to comply with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan would limit their options. The group led by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) cautioned in an open letter to the National Governors Association that the “just say no” strategy would put states “in defiance of the climate change laws and regulations of the United States government.”
The House sponsor of a bill to declaw U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan today told the agency’s air chief that she should not be surprised that Congress is mulling an assault on the unprecedented rule. “We think you’re overstepping your authority. We think you’re now legislating,” Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) told acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe at the top of a hearing of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, which he chairs.
The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would close the book on two programs that helped fuel the state’s years-long surge in wind energy production. With a 21-10 vote, the chamber sent Sen. Troy Fraser’s proposal, Senate Bill 931, to House lawmakers. It would end the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which established a state renewable energy goal. It would also close Texas’ Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) initiative, a power line program that sparked huge investments in wind energy.
Norway plans to drop investments in companies emitting unacceptable amounts of greenhouse gases in a sharpening of environmental rules for its $885 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Finance Ministry said on Friday. The proposed rules would stop short of a blanket divestment from coal and oil by the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, it said. The fund is itself built on revenues from Norway’s offshore oil and gas production. “The government will introduce a new criterion to exclude companies whose conduct to an unacceptable degree entail greenhouse gas emissions,” it said.
Want to increase the use of green energy and reduce the level of harmful emissions? Invest heavily in the grid to both modernize and expand it, which will accomplish such aims while also building the US economy. That’s the view of energy and utility experts assembled by Public Utilities Fortnightly at its energy, money and power conference last week in Washington, DC. A smarter and more extensive grid that is able to distribute greener power is expensive. But the benefits of creating a modern infrastructure are huge.
A key House Energy and Commerce Committee subpanel will hear testimony this week on draft legislation to allow states to opt out of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. EPA air chief Janet McCabe will headline today’s hearing on a draft bill sponsored by Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), which would grant all states a reprieve from deadlines to submit state implementation plans (SIPs) for the existing power plant carbon rule until judicial review has concluded. It would also let governors refuse to comply even then if they decide the rule will drive up electricity rates or harm grid reliability