Tesla Motors Inc on Thursday unveiled Tesla Energy – storage systems or batteries for homes, companies and utilities that will expand its business beyond electric vehicles and tap into a fast-growing area of the energy industry. Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company’s goal was to “fundamentally change the way the world uses energy on an extreme scale.” He introduced the products to a crowd of business partners and journalists at a Tesla facility near Los Angeles.
In recent years, the fast-growing popularity of solar panels has intensified a central challenge: how to use the sun’s energy when it isn’t shining. Now, Tesla Motors, the maker of luxury electric sedans, says it is taking a big step toward meeting that challenge with a fleet of battery systems aimed at homeowners, businesses and utilities. The company’s foray into the solar storage market will include rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs that can mount to a home garage wall as well as battery blocks large enough to smooth out fluctuations in the grid.
“The changes we make to avert climate change not only have benefits for climate change, but they also have huge benefits on health,” Kaufman said. Kaufman’s statement echoes the ideas behind President Obama’s initiative to highlight connections between climate change and health announced earlier this month. The president even brought his own daughter Malia’s childhood battle with asthma to illustrate how combating global warming can directly affect those who have the respiratory disease.
NextEra is getting “a steady request” from its customers about potential options to store wind and solar power with upcoming projects, the CEO of the company’s robust renewable energy power unit said yesterday. Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, said traditional and commercial customers are starting to ask about behind-the-meter storage as part of a new wind plan or utility-scale solar plan.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) issued an executive order this week to prevent her state from submitting a plan to implement U.S. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Fallin, in a Tuesday news release, said her order was intended to show that “Oklahoma has no intention of implementing new regulations that run directly contrary to the interests of our citizens and our state.” She said efforts against “bad policy” would be fought in court.
Climate change is a severe threat that transcends day-to-day political issues and must be tackled aggressively, California Gov. Jerry Brown said here yesterday as he promoted his executive order seeking a 40 percent cut in greenhouse gases by 2030. “There’s nothing as serious as the possibility of fundamentally and radically altering the conditions of human existence in a profoundly detrimental way,” the Democrat told people gathered at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference. “That’s the stakes. They couldn’t be bigger.” Brown yesterday morning ordered the cut in heat-trapping pollution to a target of 40 percent below 1990 levels within 15 years. That would put the state halfway to its goal of by 2050 getting carbon levels 80 percent below 1990’s point.
The wind power industry says new turbines are bringing a near-record amount of power capacity to the United States. The American Wind Energy Association released a study Thursday reporting that 100 wind power projects with a generating capacity of 13,600 megawatts are under construction in 23 states during the first quarter of the year. Three states — Texas, Iowa and New York — completed new wind turbine projects with a generating capacity of 131 megawatts during the first three months of the year.
Construction is to start this summer on the 400-megawatt project, located about 12 miles northeast of O’Neill, and be completed in 2016, adding to the state’s existing 810-megawatt wind energy capacity. BHE did not disclose the purchase price. A spokeswoman said the investment would total hundreds of millions of dollars, with the exact amount depending on factors still being negotiated. Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of BHE Renewables, said the project would help Omaha Public Power District meet its goal of generating 30 percent of its power from renewable sources.
The nation’s most windpower-reliant utility said it will invest $300 million to purchase and complete a North Dakota wind farm under development by Edina-based Geronimo Energy. The deal, announced to investors and regulators on Thursday, salvages a project that might otherwise not be built because no wind energy company had stepped forward to purchase and operate it. Xcel always intended to buy the electricity produced by the 100-turbine Courtenay Wind Farm planned in Stutsman County, N.D. But the utility didn’t initially intend to own the project, one of four large wind farms for which Xcel signed deals in 2013. Two others are under construction.
More than 40 percent of Americans live in areas that record high levels of air pollution, according to the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report released today. Forty-four percent of the country, or 138.5 million people, live in areas with average levels of fine particle and ozone pollution above U.S. EPA standards, the report found. That’s a reduction from last year’s report, which found that 147 million people were breathing unhealthy air. But the new report — which is based on average 2011-2013 data — found that progress was not shared equally throughout the country.