Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk wants control of your roof. On a conference call yesterday announcing SolarCity Corp.’s second-quarter earnings, Musk announced the company is planning a new solar roof product, rather than just offering solar modules to place on roofs. He didn’t provide details on exactly how a full solar roof would operate, but it is expected to be manufactured at SolarCity’s planned Gigafactory in New York.
Construction is underway at two sites of Minnesota’s largest solar project. The Aurora Solar Project, which is the first utility-scale distributed solar plant in the state, comprises 16 solar farms and a total direct current power capacity of 150 megawatts. Two of the farms, located in Paynesville and Atwater, are already on their way up. The Paynesville farm will be the largest of the project, with 15.23 MW of direct current power.
Leading climate scientists have warned that the Earth is perilously close to breaking through a 1.5C upper limit for global warming, only eight months after the target was set. The decision to try to limit warming to 1.5C, measured in relation to pre-industrial temperatures, was the headline outcome of the Paris climate negotiations last December. The talks were hailed as a major success by scientists and campaigners, who claimed that, by setting the target, desertification, heatwaves, widespread flooding and other global warming impacts could be avoided.
The cap-and-trade system designed to control greenhouse gas emissions in California is facing legal obstacles. Businesses need to purchase a permit for each ton of emissions they are responsible for. However, the legislation that the system is based on has outlined targets for reducing emissions until 2020 and does not extend beyond that.
Energy independence is creeping into the US passenger car market more and more, led by Tesla Motors but also by ZEV mandates in 9 states and resulting EV efforts from a few auto companies. In the month of July, electric car sales surged 48% — mostly on the back of Tesla, but also due to big jumps in sales of the Chevy Volt, BMW i3, Ford Fusion Energi, and Chevy Spark EV. Other EV models also saw sales growth, but their relatively small volumes make them rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
A larger Western electricity market won’t happen until next year at the earliest, as green groups and others voice concerns about increased coal use. California has been looking at expanding its grid to allow broader participation by utility PacifiCorp, which operates as Pacific Power in Oregon, Washington and California and as Rocky Mountain Power in Utah. The Golden State’s grid manager, the Independent System Operator (ISO), views growing the grid as a way to bring in more renewable energy, as California and other Western states look to cut their carbon emissions.
Gov. Charlie Baker (R) placed Massachusetts at the vanguard of U.S. offshore wind energy yesterday by signing bipartisan legislation requiring utilities to purchase 1,600 megawatts of power from planned Atlantic Ocean wind farms by 2027. The 2016 Energy Diversity Act, emerging from a legislative conference after 18 months of negotiation, effectively opens the door to a new multimillion-dollar energy industry off the New England coast, where developers are poised to build hundreds of wind turbines on the outer continental shelf.
In his economic speech in Detroit Monday (transcript here), Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump laid out a series of energy proposals that, in stark contrast to those of Hillary Clinton or the Obama administration, would try to shore up traditional industries centered on coal, oil, natural gas. The most striking thing about the plan is that it seems premised on a world in which these energy sources don’t have this major environmental drawback called climate change. Trump himself has told The Washington Post he is “not a big believer in man-made climate change,” and the divide between himself and Clinton on this matter is one of the sharpest policy differences of the present campaign, clearly wider than the split in views between Obama-McCain (2008) or Obama-Romney (2012).
On summer weekends, traffic is jammed coming into and out of this tiny beach town. People flock to the ocean, to the downtown village with Tudor-themed architecture, to the fairgrounds that host San Diego County’s summer fair, and the horse races held at the same site. That vehicle-related greenhouse gas pollution is just one of the challenges Del Mar faces as it aims to go very green.
What would happen if the federal government ended its subsidies to companies that drill for oil and gas? The Amaerican oil and gas industry has argued that such a move would leave the United States more dependent on foreign energy. Many environmental activists counter that ending subsidies could move the United States toward a future free of fossil fuels — helping it curtail its emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.