Record-smashing solar cell raises commercialization hopes

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 23rd, 2016

There’s a new world record for solar cell efficiency. Engineers at the University of New South Wales in Australia announced this week that they had turned 34.5 percent of unconcentrated sunlight into electricity, blowing away the old world record by 44 percent. Previously, scientists had achieved an electric conversion rate of more than 40 percent, but only by using mirrors that concentrate light. There’s never been such a high electricity conversion rate tapping regular sunlight without concentrators, according to the university.

China’s largest wind company blows into Texas

Source: By Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle • Posted: Monday, May 23rd, 2016

China-based Goldwind, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, is buying into Texas for the first time with its largest wind farm in the U.S. Rapidly growing Goldwind just surpassed Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems as the world’s top wind turbine supplier, according to a new report Wednesday from Navigant Research. Other giants like Germany’s Siemens and General Electric ranked just behind.

The growing battle between Wyoming lawmakers and the largest wind developer in America

Source: By Benjamin Sorrow, Wyoming Star Tribune • Posted: Monday, May 23rd, 2016

State lawmakers and the developer of the largest onshore wind farm in America are increasingly at odds these days. The subject of their strife: a proposal to raise Wyoming’s wind-generation tax. Power Company of Wyoming officials say the measure puts in limbo their plans to build 1,000 turbines in Carbon County. The 3,000 megawatt project — enough to power nearly 1 million homes — will be left at a disadvantage relative to renewable producers in other states, they argue. Wyoming is already the only state in the country with a wind-generation tax.

House debate to feature rifts over renewables, climate

Source: George Cahlink, Tiffany Stecker and Christa Marshall, E&E reporters • Posted: Monday, May 23rd, 2016

The White House is likely to issue a veto threat over the bill’s rejection of the administration’s Mission Innovation initiative to double energy research and development funding over five years. The House spending bill would fund the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at $1.825 billion, about a billion below the White House request.

Senate finishes energy and water bill, strikes Zika deal

Source: Geof Koss and Hannah Hess, E&E reporters • Posted: Monday, May 23rd, 2016

The Senate this afternoon easily passed the $37.5 billion energy and water development spending bill. Lawmakers also touted an agreement to spend $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus.
Senators voted 90-8 for the energy and water bill after adopting an amendment by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) setting aside funds in the bill to revise certain water project and flood control documents. The measure passed by voice vote.

Moniz dismisses Trump’s call to change climate deal 

Source: By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

Moniz said he wouldn’t directly comment on Trump’s promise to Reuters on Tuesday that “at a minimum I will be renegotiating those agreements.” Trump said the deal was unfair, economically, to the United States economy.But Moniz noted the climate deal has built-in reassessments over the next few decades. He said, though, that countries should use those to ramp up the greenhouse gas reduction commitments they enshrined last year in the Paris deal.

Storing more heat cheaply is the next challenge for solar power

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

At Germany’s aerospace agency, the next frontier is capturing the sun here on Earth and keeping it on tap. In a 4-year-old glass and steel building near the Cologne-Bonn Airport, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany’s equivalent of NASA, are working on new ways to produce more heat than light in order to smooth over intermittency, one of the biggest drawbacks of solar power on the grid.

Upton expects House negotiators to be named next week

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

The House passed its more narrowly drawn energy bill (H.R. 8) in December, and Energy and Commerce leaders called for a quick conference after the Senate approved a far broader version (S. 2012) this spring. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee leaders have been more cautious, saying they would welcome a conference but want to have informal discussions first to lay the groundwork for a deal.

California Senate leader promises ‘concerted push’ to cement GHG target

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

California lawmakers hope to enshrine greenhouse gas policies through 2030, as renewed anxieties surface about the state’s legal footing. The head of the state Senate said last week that he would resume efforts to pass S.B. 32, a bill by state Sen. Fran Pavley (D) setting 2030 emissions targets that floundered at the end of last year on opposition from members of the State Assembly.

Clean-tech index highlights renewable surge

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

In 2015, California became the first state to generate 10 percent of its in-state electricity from solar power. Vermont, meanwhile, doubled its utility-scale solar generation last year. And half of the top 10 U.S. states for utility-scale clean electricity voted Republican in the last presidential election.