Opponents of a controversial Florida ballot initiative for rooftop solar want the state Supreme Court to review the measure again, arguing that its backers intentionally misled justices in order to get it before voters on Nov. 7. The state’s solar trade group and Floridians for Solar Choice, an umbrella group of mostly clean energy advocates, filed a petition yesterday that also asks for the amendment to be removed from the ballot and for any votes cast in favor of it not be counted.
In an effort to encourage electric vehicle ownership, the White House yesterday announced a network of 48 charging corridors on the nation’s highways. The network will cover 25,000 miles, including 55 interstate highways spanning 35 states. Ultimately, drivers will encounter a charging station within every 50 miles, said the White House. As required by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act passed last year, the corridors will include infrastructure for electric vehicle charging, and hydrogen, propane and natural gas fueling.
The U.N. Environment Programme dumped a bucket of cold water this morning on nations riding high from the Paris climate change accords’ taking effect this week. In a new report, UNEP found that even if every country that made an emissions-cutting pledge in the Paris Agreement keeps its promise, the world will still fall 12 to 14 gigatons short each year of keeping temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels.
A new cash crop has sprung up on Nicholas Beatty’s enchanting farm near here. Rows of gray solar panels range over about 25 acres, turning sunlight into electricity, as dog-size muntjac deer hop by. The panels themselves, trouble-free money earners that feed into the electric grid, are no longer unusual on farms in Britain or other countries. What’s new in Mr. Beatty’s field is a hulking 40-foot-long shipping container.
“We’ve got a problem,” Dr. Moniz explained. “We recognize it. We solve it.” Around the world, energy innovation seems to be speeding up. Large historical forces are converging to create unprecedented turmoil and opportunity in what had long been one of the most hidebound industries. The changes are coming just as governments have finally resolved, after two decades of failed efforts, to tackle the global climate crisis. The emissions that cause global warming have already fallen in some of the biggest countries, including the United States.
“This kind of litigation puts states in quite a bind. What are we supposed to do? We’re trying to get cleaner, we’re trying to hold competitive processes, and then we’re getting bogged down with these PURPA claims. It certainly needs to be sorted out,” Joe Rosenthal, principal attorney in the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, said.
“From the tax equity perspective, I don’t think anyone’s on the sidelines,” agreed Jack Cargas, managing director of renewable energy finance at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The main cause for optimism is Congress’ extension last December of tax breaks for solar and wind power. The investment and production tax credits for solar and wind, respectively, have revived investors’ appetite for those projects.
In a warming world, Big Oil doesn’t look quite so big anymore. A global glut of oil and natural gas has sent prices tumbling over the last two years, and profits are evaporating. Improving auto fuel efficiency standards threaten to depress oil consumption eventually, and fleets of electric vehicles are gradually emerging in China and a few other important markets.
Offshore wind costs are plummeting in Europe and approaching “striking distance” of other power sources, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said yesterday. The average cost of electrons from offshore wind has fallen 28 percent since this time last year, BNEF said in a report. Offshore wind, long regarded as the Cadillac option of clean energy, remains one of the world’s priciest resources at roughly $126 per megawatt-hour.
2016 will be remembered as “the year U.S. offshore wind arrived,” as Block Island Wind Farm, a 5-turbine 30 MW offshore-wind project, arose off Rhode Island’s coast this summer and will soon power the grid. Relatively modest in scale, this wind farm’s christening carried significance greater than its size. The first “steel in the water” for U.S. offshore wind, it was proof of the promise this abundant home-grown renewable resource holds to light boardwalks and boardrooms up and down the Eastern seaboard.