At Germany’s aerospace agency, the next frontier is capturing the sun here on Earth and keeping it on tap. In a 4-year-old glass and steel building near the Cologne-Bonn Airport, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany’s equivalent of NASA, are working on new ways to produce more heat than light in order to smooth over intermittency, one of the biggest drawbacks of solar power on the grid.
The House passed its more narrowly drawn energy bill (H.R. 8) in December, and Energy and Commerce leaders called for a quick conference after the Senate approved a far broader version (S. 2012) this spring. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee leaders have been more cautious, saying they would welcome a conference but want to have informal discussions first to lay the groundwork for a deal.
California lawmakers hope to enshrine greenhouse gas policies through 2030, as renewed anxieties surface about the state’s legal footing. The head of the state Senate said last week that he would resume efforts to pass S.B. 32, a bill by state Sen. Fran Pavley (D) setting 2030 emissions targets that floundered at the end of last year on opposition from members of the State Assembly.
In 2015, California became the first state to generate 10 percent of its in-state electricity from solar power. Vermont, meanwhile, doubled its utility-scale solar generation last year. And half of the top 10 U.S. states for utility-scale clean electricity voted Republican in the last presidential election.
Speaking last week at IRENA’s innovation conference, he noted that the optimum wind and solar resources in China can be as far as 4,000 kilometers (or 2,485 miles) away from some of the country’s biggest smog-choked cities. “If we want to use these resources, we are faced with a huge problem: How can you transfer this renewable energy to load centers?” Lei said.
The Maine lawmakers who last month defeated a landmark bill that would have expanded solar energy had unusual allies: national companies that are the country’s largest installers of rooftop solar panels. The companies, led by California-based Sunrun Inc. and SolarCity, hired lobbyists to fight the bill, donated money to political action committees that benefit the bill’s opponents and used social media to push an alternative measure that created a smokescreen for the bill’s detractors.
California’s mandate to make half its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 isn’t just feasible, “it’s a no-brainer. We will get there,” the head of the state’s largest utility said here yesterday. Anthony Earley, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s chairman, CEO and president, said his utility already is ahead of the state’s earlier mandate to generate 33 percent of its power from green sources by 2020.
Electricity prices in the later years of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan might be 3 percent higher than without the rule, according to an early release of part of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s outlook for 2016. Those figures are significantly lower than analyses cited by opponents of the climate rule that project 11 to 14 percent increases
The Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative has reached 70 percent of its 2020 goal to slash solar power costs. DOE made that announcement with the release of eight research reports about the 5-year-old initiative, which aims to reduce the cost of solar energy technologies 75 percent by the end of the decade.
Sen. Lamar Alexander’s longstanding fight against federal support for wind energy is getting personal. The Tennessee Republican took to the Senate floor yesterday to lambast a wind farm proposed in Cumberland County, Tenn., which is nestled between Nashville and Knoxville.