Wyo. utility starts ‘orderly transition away from coal’ 

Source: Krysti Shallenberger, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 15th, 2015

Rocky Mountain Power’s new vision for its resource power mix includes a lot less coal. The utility’s new 500-page integrated resource plan maps out RMP’s vision of how to serve its 1.8 million customers in six states — the majority of whom live in coal-heavy Utah and Wyoming alongside fellow Western state Idaho. Regulatory uncertainty along with market trends favoring natural gas and renewables spurred the utility, a subsidiary of the Berkshire Hathaway-owned PacifiCorp, to pare down its coal usage. It’s unlikely Rocky Mountain Power will replace any of the coal-fired power set to retire by the 2020s with more coal plants, according to the plan.

Tesla says it will double capacity of home battery 

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 12th, 2015

The home energy storage product that Tesla Motors Inc. unveiled one month ago is getting an upgrade and now will have twice its original capacity, company CEO and co-founder Elon Musk said yesterday. The electric carmaker heard some criticisms about its Powerwall energy storage offering after its May 1 unveiling, “took some of that negative feedback to heart” and made improvements, Musk said.

World needs to ramp up battery use, energy storage to meet climate targets — report 

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 12th, 2015

Meeting global demand for vast amounts of carbon-free energy under an international climate accord will require deep investments in energy storage technologies, according to new findings from the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA). Those findings, published yesterday as part of IRENA’s ongoing “REmap 2030” series, said that to avoid the worse effects of climate change while meeting sustainable development goals, the world must double the amount of clean energy produced today, and by 2030 meet 45 percent of all electricity demand using renewable energy resources.

Whirlpool Windmill Produces Power Without Blades

Source: By Reuters • Posted: Friday, June 12th, 2015

A 1940 clip of the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge in the United States stretching like chewing gum in a gale captured the imagination of a Spanish engineering student who became obsessed with how he could turn that chaos into power. Twelve years later, David Yanez is part of a team inspired by the motion that collapsed the bridge to create a bladeless wind turbine – an inverted-cone-shaped structure half the cost of a conventional machine. “You could see a structure with no gears or bearings capable of absorbing large quantities of wind energy,” David Yanez recalls of the footage of the bridge. He was standing on a hill in central Spain in front of a slim, gently oscillating prototype, the size of a small tree.

Comment: Setting the record straight on the wind energy tax credit

Source: By Mike Garland and Susan Reilly, The Hill • Posted: Friday, June 12th, 2015

Don Nickles recently misrepresented the position of the American Wind Energy Association on the Production Tax Credit (PTC). Let us be clear: As AWEA has consistently stated, and as the Government Accountability Office recently confirmed, without a long-term PTC extension U.S. wind power installations will drop, many communities will miss out on the economic opportunities that come with new wind farms, and American consumers will lose out.

Massive wind project aims to save the sage grouse 

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 12th, 2015

The project will be capable of producing 3,000 megawatts of electricity — enough to power more than 1 million homes and businesses. “This is a legacy project,” Miller said. “We’re pushing the boundaries of renewable energy.” But there’s a catch: The proposed project must share the landscape with the imperiled greater sage grouse. Scientists say Western sage grouse populations have plummeted from as many as 16 million birds in the early 19th century as few as 200,000 today. The bird’s leading threats are habitat destruction and fragmentation from residential growth, energy development, wildfires, invasive species and poorly managed livestock grazing.

Navy to install solar arrays at Washington, D.C., base 

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus today announced the service’s first solar project at an urban installation, with a 6- to 8-megawatt project planned at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. The Navy is already well ahead of schedule to meet its goal of producing half of its energy from renewable resources by 2020.

New study outlines path to 100% renewables in all 50 states 

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Wind, water and sunlight could meet demand for all energy — not just electricity — in every state by midcentury, according to a new report. The study, published yesterday in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, concluded that the path to a cleaner future is technically feasible and affordable and would save thousands of lives from avoided pollution and averted disasters stemming from greenhouse gas emissions. All the while, the jobs created in the renewables sector would more than offset layoffs from shuttered coal mines and dismantled nuclear power plants.

Texas, Colo. show how to integrate renewables as carbon plan looms — report

Source: Edward Klump, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Electric systems in Texas and Colorado are demonstrating that a range of actions can be used to successfully and reliably integrate large amounts of renewable energy, according to a new report completed for the Advanced Energy Economy Institute. The study, which is being made public today, was conducted with a focus on two entities — the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), that state’s main grid operator, and certain Xcel Energy Inc. operations in Colorado. Both states have seen increasing amounts of wind energy and both have kept electricity flowing.

Utility-savvy lineman’s son sees storage, greener grid taking Senate stage 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 11th, 2015

“I just grew up surrounded by electricity and utility issues and sort of a thirst for ‘what’s next?'” Heinrich said. Heinrich is at the center of a growing discussion with other grid-savvy members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, focused on how to bolster utility-scale renewables, energy storage and distributed generation in a comprehensive energy package.