How Wall Street’s Favorite Solar Company Spent Itself to the Brink

Source: By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg • Posted: Friday, April 1st, 2016

Just nine months ago, SunEdison Inc. was Wall Street’s favorite clean-energy company. It sopped up every dollar it could come by to finance a breathtaking buying binge of wind and solar farms, and in the process became the world’s largest renewable-energy company. Now, SunEdison is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy protection, its stock below $1. The company’s fall is largely its own doing, the almost inevitable result of an ascent that was built on financial engineering and cheap debt. But it had plenty of enablers in the form of bankers, who pocketed fees with each acquisition, and investors, who reaped attractive dividends in a protracted stretch of low interest rates.

China pushes for mandatory integration of renewable power

Source: By Kathy Chen and David Stanway, Reuters • Posted: Friday, April 1st, 2016

China has ordered power transmission companies to provide grid connectivity for all renewable power generation sources and end a bottleneck that has left a large amount of clean power idle, the country’s energy regulator said on Monday. The grid companies have been ordered to plug in all renewable power sources that comply with their technical standards, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said.

Solar group finds renewables win with independent voters

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, April 1st, 2016

Conservative candidates trying to woo independent swing-state voters should talk more about the virtues of solar power, according to new polling released last week by the Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC). A survey of 600 independent voters in 11 states found that 90 percent of respondents favor increasing the use of solar energy, while 58 percent strongly favor the renewable energy resource.

Editorial: A new spring for renewable energy

Source: By Milwaukee Wisconsin Sentenintal Editorial Board • Posted: Friday, April 1st, 2016

Wisconsin’s renewable energy landscape has been pretty much frozen for the last five years, especially when it comes to wind farms. While neighboring states have been blossoming with wind development in recent years, Wisconsin has become almost a “black hole” of development, according to one renewable energy advocate.

Wyoming wind tax collections fall by 15 percent

Source: By Benjamin Storrow, The Billings Gazette • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Wyoming wind revenues fell by 15 percent in 2015, an unwelcome drop at a time when the the state is already suffering the effects of a pronounced downturn in the oil, natural gas and coal sectors. The Cowboy State became the first in the nation to tax wind production when it passed a $1-per-megawatt-hour tax in 2010. Tax collections have bounced around ever since, rising from $2.6 million in 2012 — the first year the levy was imposed — to $4.4 million in 2014. Last year, the state collected $3.7 million.

Nev. plant solves quandary of how to store sunshine

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

The Crescent Dunes solar plant stands like a beacon in the midst of vast desert. By day, the plant’s 10,000 billboard-sized mirrors focus sunlight onto the top of a Washington Monument-sized tower, heating molten salt to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The salt is kept in a massive insulated tank until it’s needed to generate electricity. When released, the salt heats water to steam, which drives a turbine that generates power. But unlike most solar plants, Crescent Dunes can deliver electricity long after the sun has dipped below the horizon. Fittingly, the plant sent its first electrons to the grid last October during the night.

Climate Policy’s Advocates Take Page From Same-Sex Marriage Playbook

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Two months ahead of a federal court hearing on President Obama’s signature climate change rule, a coordinated public relations offensive has begun — modeled after the same-sex marriage campaign — to influence the outcome of the case. A national coalition of liberal and environmental advocacy groups, state attorneys general, mayors and even some businesses are adhering to the strategy that a network of gay rights and other advocacy groups began in the months before the Supreme Court heard arguments in the same-sex marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges, last year. Those advocates cannot be certain, but they said they believed it had influenced the opinions of the justices, who ruled in June that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

Abengoa files for bankruptcy in U.S.

Source: By Patrick Fitzgerald, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Abengoa SA, the renewable energy company that operates around the world, this week filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States. The Spanish energy company is now in talks with its bondholders and banks in an effort to agree on a restructuring plan for its more than $16.48 billion in debt. The company filed for Chapter 15 protection, the section of the U.S. bankruptcy code that handles cross-border insolvencies.

Trump opposes carbon tax, backs RFS in questionnaire

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump would oppose a carbon tax if elected to the White House, according to documents released yesterday by the American Energy Alliance, which offer the most detailed look at Trump’s energy policies to date. In addition to the carbon tax, the group asked candidates to comment on issues like whether they support continued tax subsidies for the energy industry, whether the renewable fuel standard should be discontinued and whether they would support expanded energy production on public lands.The AEA, the advocacy arm of the Institute for Energy Research, today published candidate questionnaires that it received from both Trump and his primary rival for the GOP presidential nod, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Okla., Kan. wind helped drive record CO2 reductions — study

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Consumption of U.S. wind energy helped offset 6 percent of all the carbon dioxide emitted by the U.S. power sector last year, according to data released this morning by the American Wind Energy Association. AWEA officials, using a modeling tool developed by U.S. EPA, found that increased production of wind power, especially in the Southern Plains and Midwest, led to a record 132 million metric tons of CO2 reductions directly attributable to wind power.