Former FERC Chairman Wellinghoff heads to SolarCity

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 11th, 2016

The longest-serving chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is taking on a new role as chief policy officer of SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar provider. Jon Wellinghoff will advise the California-based solar installer on federal and state policy and will oversee regulatory and legislative affairs, according to a press release. He will report directly to SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, cousin of Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, who is SolarCity’s chairman.

Kansas governor hails wind farm project that includes 200 turbines; Google to buy half the output

Source: By JONATHAN SHORMAN, Topeka Capital-Journal  • Posted: Monday, April 11th, 2016

An Italian company has begun construction on a large wind farm that will dot southwest Kansas with 200 turbines, generating enough energy to power nearly 150,000 households — with internet giant Google snatching up half the output. The wind farm, spanning 60 square miles, will have a 400 megawatt capacity. Corporate executives and Gov. Sam Brownback announced the $610 million project Friday.

In turnaround, Ivanpah plant gets on track to meet projections

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

The Ivanpah solar tower plant in California’s Mojave Desert has doubled the amount of power it’s making versus a year ago, putting it on track to hit the total it promised the state, operator NRG Energy Inc. said yesterday. The largest power tower project in the world, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System last month received a six-month extension to reach the electricity total in a power purchase agreement (PPA) with utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Conservatives, public health experts weigh in on climate risks

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

Climate change poses an urgent public health risk, the White House announced yesterday in a sweeping new federal report the administration touted as the most exhaustive assessment ever done of the links between rising global temperatures and disease. The report, “The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment,” formally unveiled at the White House, finds that devastating heat, more miserable allergies and air that’s harder to breathe loom in the future if greenhouse gases continue to rise.

Leaving clean energy policies to states can spur jobs — study

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

State policies that promote advanced energy technologies could stimulate more than 160,000 new jobs annually in the Southeast and establish long-term economic stability for states from Florida to Virginia, new research from the American Jobs Project shows. In Rust Belt states Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, advances in wind and solar power, along with smart buildings and energy efficiency, could drive the creation of an additional 50,000 high-wage jobs annually, the Berkeley, Calif.-based group found.

MA State energy board turns down Cape Wind permit extension

Source: By Boston Globe Staff • Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

A state energy board Wednesday officially denied Cape Wind’s request to extend its permits for two power lines necessary to connect the offshore energy project to the mainland. The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board said extending the permits to May 1, 2017 would be “unreasonable” because the agency believes the project is years away from ever getting started.

Global renewables grew at fastest rate on record in 2015: research

Source: By Nina Chestney, Reuters • Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

Renewable energy generation capacity expanded by 8.3 percent last year to 1,985 gigawatts globally, the fastest annual rate on record, data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) showed on Thursday. The strong growth was mainly due to a continued decline in technology costs. Overall, capacity has increased by roughly a third over the last five years, mostly fueled by new installations of wind and solar energy.

Nebraska lawmakers overcome filibuster, advance bill to strike regulations on wind energy

Source: By Joe Duggan and Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald Bureau • Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

Wind energy developers say their industry has been shackled by state regulations that make it difficult to export electricity from Nebraska. State lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday that advocates say will allow the free flow of Nebraska wind power to out-of-state markets. And lawmakers predicted it would encourage aggressive private development of wind farms that would otherwise go to Iowa, Kansas or Oklahoma. “It’s going to happen somewhere,” said State Sen. Al Davis of Hyannis. “We can stand by and wring our hands, or we can take the plunge and move forward.” While Iowa had more than 6,200 megawatts of wind power capacity last year and Kansas had nearly 3,800 megawatts, Nebraska had 890.

Wind power through a photographer’s lens

Source: By Bryan Steiff, AWEA Blog • Posted: Thursday, April 7th, 2016

I began the project in 2011. I have since driven 15,000 miles in the United States and returned to Scandinavia to take photographs. I have photographed on the side of the road, on the side of a mountain in 70 mph winds and in a tiny boat on the Baltic Sea during a storm. This project has brought me to places I would have never seen otherwise. I hope to return to Europe this year to photograph in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Wind and solar have grown seemingly unstoppable.

Source: By Tom Randall, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, April 7th, 2016

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.