SolarCity Corp on Thursday said it created a $750 million fund to finance about 25,000 residential solar projects, with Google Inc investing nearly half the funding. The money will be used by SolarCity to put solar panels on homes. Homeowners then will pay a monthly fee to lease the panels from the company. The growth of such financing has made generating electric power from the sun an option for households who do not want to shell out the $20,000 to $30,000 upfront cost of a typical residential solar system.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) yesterday lobbed a snowball at a Senate page on the chamber floor to illustrate his point that far from unprecedented warmness, this winter has actually been quite cold, as part of his speech trying to debunk global warming. “It’s a snowball from just outside here, so it’s very, very cold,” the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairman told Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who was presiding at the time. “Very unseasonable. So, Mr. President, catch this.”
U.S. EPA Chief Gina McCarthy told lawmakers yesterday that her agency is prepared to deal with potential electric reliability problems under the Clean Power Plan, whether through a “waiver or another process.” While McCarthy maintained that the proposed rule would not affect reliability, she said EPA has the necessary tools to address situations that might arise under the landmark standards to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Iberdrola will combine UIL’s power and gas operations with its existing local unit and will list the new company on an American stock exchange. The combined company will serve 3.1 million customers in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine. The company said it expected to invest $6.9 billion in electric and gas infrastructure and other capital expenditures over the next five years.
Spanish utility Iberdrola SA will buy UIL Holdings Corp for about $3 billion to create a new listed power and gas company and expand in the United States, where it hopes to offset falling profits at home. A world leader in wind turbines, Iberdrola joins other European companies seeking to grow via acquisitions outside sluggish domestic markets. Last year, German engineer Siemens agreed to buy U.S. turbine maker Dresser-Rand.
A bill sponsored by state Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and State Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) that would make changes to Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard might create 32,000 clean energy jobs, according to its backers. The bill would support greater solar power, and improve energy efficiency. It would also increase the renewable energy standard from 25% by 2025 to 35% by 2030.
On February 5th, state Senate Republicans passed a bill to roll back Colorado’s renewable energy standard (RES), which has helped make the state a national leader in clean energy. Rolling back the RES is precisely the wrong direction for Colorado to go at this time. In addition to providing important benefits to Colorado’s economy, increasing renewable energy use is one of the most cost-effective strategies for complying with the EPA’s proposed power plant carbon standards.
John Podesta’s replacement in the White House isn’t wasting any time going after politicians who deny the prevailing views on climate science. In his first full week on the job since inheriting Podesta’s portfolio as White House climate adviser, Brian Deese sharply criticized some lawmakers who oppose the Obama administration’s climate and energy policies this morning at a climate conference in Washington, D.C.
U.S. EPA posted a defense on its website today of a draft rule for slashing carbon emissions from power plants that’s been criticized as a threat to grid reliability and affordability. “As with anything EPA does, a handful of special-interest critics are automatically opposed,” spokesman Tom Reynolds said in the EPA blog.
Texas has joined the 10% club – the group of states that get more than 10% of their electricity from renewable energy. Last year, wind supplied 10.6% of electricity, up from 6.2% in 2009, according to ERCOT, the grid operator that covers most of the state. The leap is due to a combination of big wind farms coming online and the ability to carry that energy to population centers through a $6 billion investment in an expanded transmission system.