News

U.S. Solar Growth Will More Than Double in 2016, Study Finds

Source: By Joe Ryan, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

U.S. solar installations are expected to more than double this year, driven by falling equipment prices and federal tax credits. Solar companies will add 16 gigawatts of panels in the U.S. in 2016, up from 7.3 gigawatts in 2015, according to a study released Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association, a Washington-based trade group.

Las Vegas casinos seek to power their bright lights with renewable energy

Source: By Daniel Hernandez, The Guardian • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

In recent months, three of Nevada’s largest casino companies – MGM Resorts, Wynn, and Las Vegas Sands – have announced plans to buy and produce more renewable energy for their hotels, a move driven both by increasing demand for responsible energy use from the companies that rent their conference halls, and a surplus of cheap power from solar farms in Nevada and California. “It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” said Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

Utilities challenge Calif.’s net-metering protection

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

A program that pays California residents for the extra electricity made by their rooftop solar panels came under renewed attack yesterday. Utilities and others appealed the California Public Utility Commission’s January decision that largely preserved net energy metering, or NEM. The rule in the Golden State requires utilities to pay solar customers retail rates for the electricity they send back to the grid.

Comment: Creating more American wind energy helps us keep promises

Source: By Tom Kiernan, Roberta Combs, Michele Combs, The Hill • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

When you turn your lights on at home, how often do you think about your family, your children or your children’s children? For more and more young families and young voters across the country, the answer is every single time. That’s because how we choose to produce the electricity needed to power America has a lasting impact on our health, our wallets and our jobs.
Air pollution still poses a threat to our families’ health every day. Power plants that contribute to this pollution are now more expensive and less efficient than the clean energy sources scaling up fast on America’s power grid. That means America’s electricity doesn’t have to hit U.S. families and homeowners in the pockets and the lungs.

Big Wyoming wind farm clears another government hurdle

Source: By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

One of the biggest wind projects under development in North America cleared another regulatory hurdle Wednesday with the release of a federal environmental study looking at the first-phase installation of 500 wind turbines. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s environmental analysis tentatively allows planning for the Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind project south of Rawlins to continue. The agency found no new problems after looking at exactly where the developers propose to put the turbines.

Obama admin OKs turbine siting for huge Wyo. wind project

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

The Obama administration gave preliminary approval yesterday for siting the first 500 turbines in a southeast Wyoming project that’s projected to become one of the world’s largest wind farms. At issue is the Bureau of Land Management’s release of an environmental assessment (EA) and draft finding of no significant impact for siting 500 turbines in the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project.

Electric bus maker takes on oil

Source: Camille von Kaenel, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Ryan Popple jokes that his first job out of college was in transportation, serving as a U.S. Army officer dealing with tanks in Iraq. As the 38-year-old CEO and president of electric bus manufacturer Proterra Inc., Popple is still in transportation. But now he’s trying to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and slow global warming by developing a small but growing sector of the market: electric buses.

Comment: The Block Island Offshore Wind Project is Just the Beginning

Source: By Rob Sargent, Huffington Post • Posted: Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Looking across the calm, smooth Atlantic waters from the docks of the small island town of New Shoreham, Rhode Island, it may be hard to tell, but preparations are well underway for the nation’s first offshore wind farm to begin operating here before the year ends. Last fall, wind developers laid five foundations for the turbines that will spin in the Atlantic Ocean, three miles southeast of Block Island and east of Long Island. Last week, officials held the latest in a series of community meetings to discuss the action expected in the months ahead. At the moment, the focus is preparing the way for the 20-mile cable that will distribute power from the DeepWater Wind turbines to the mainland.

Whole Foods Plans 100 Rooftop Solar Systems

Source: By DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Things at Whole Foods are about to get even greener. The grocery chain plans to install as many as 100 rooftop solar systems, mainly through the power provider NRG Energy, on nearly a quarter of its stores and distribution centers, the companies said on Tuesday. SolarCity will also provide systems for the grocer, which could expand the rooftop solar program as the installations proceed.

Highly touted $2.2B merger deal falls apart

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

In a statement on the termination, rooftop installer Vivint said SunEdison’s failure to “consummate the merger” according to the agreement’s original terms constituted “a willful breach.” After delivering a letter to SunEdison, the company said it would seek all legal remedies available. SunEdison did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The $2.2 billion deal announced last year came under fire from investors. MarketWatch reported, for example, that banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. stalled at providing loans to fund the acquisition after SunEdison did not provide timely financial statements.