News Archive
  • A Lake Erie Developer is Still Building an Offshore Wind Farm

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 24, 2014
    When the DOE picked a few offshore wind developers to support a month and a half ago, they left many others in the lurch. Baryonyx cancelled their plans for an offshore wind farm in Texas shortly after. But the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation is still pushing forward on their plans for wind farms in Lake Erie, despite missing out on major grants from the DOE. (They’ll be getting $3 million instead of $47 million...
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  • Supreme Court Gives the EPA Most of the Authority it Wants over Greenhouse Gas

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 24, 2014
    The Supreme Court has issued their opinion on an EPA case originally filed last year. The issue at hand is the way that the EPA interprets the Clean Air Act with regards to greenhouse gas emissions. (That’s an issue that shouldn’t be confused with the EPA’s recent clean power plan, which won’t be affected by this ruling.) The short version of the ruling is that the court just slightly curtailed the EPA’s regulatory reach, an outcome that the EPA and their supporters seem pleased with...
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  • USDA Announces Grants and Support for Bioenergy Companies

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 23, 2014
    The USDA is putting $14.5 million towards bioenergy grants via two separate programs. Of the total amount, $12 million is going through the Rural Development program, which is taking applications from companies “seeking to offset the costs associated with converting fossil fuel systems to renewable biomass fuel systems.” The USDA describes who is eligible and how to apply...
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  • DOE Launches Renewable Energy Incubator Initiative

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 23, 2014
    The U.S. Department of Energy just launched what they’re calling a national support network for renewable energy entrepreneurs and small businesses. The National Incubator Initiative for Clean Energy is funding a renewable energy accelerator and is giving awards to technology incubators...
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  • Legislation and Policy News Roundup – June 13, 2014

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 13, 2014
    As always, renewable energy bills are working their way through legislative bodies around the country and world. Here’s the latest...
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  • Why Tesla Wants Other Companies to Use Their Tech for Free

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 13, 2014
    Electric car company Tesla announced yesterday that they are making all of their patents available to their competitors. CEO Elon Musk said in a blog post that they are applying “open source philosophy” to their patents. But they're not acting purely altruistically...
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  • Concentrated Solar is More Expensive than Solar Panels, but its Energy is Cheaper

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 12, 2014
    Continuing the DOE’s push for concentrated solar, the solar technology that isn’t solar panels, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has put out a white paper (pdf) on the value of concentrated solar power. They ran the numbers for concentrated solar projects with built-in thermal energy storage, under both estimates for California’s current renewable energy mandate (30% renewable by 2020) and under a scenario where California’s energy mix is 40% renewable. (That’s timely, since California’s mix of renewables is likely to go up beyond its current mandate, thanks to the EPA’s proposed new rule...
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  • In Remote Nome, Alaska, Geothermal Power Might Solve Energy Troubles

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 12, 2014
    The road network leading out of Nome, Alaska, will take you to the Alaskan wilderness. But it won’t take you Juneau or Anchorage. The town has no road connection to any major Alaskan cities. Nome’s energy infrastructure matches its transportation infrastructure. Without connection to a wide-spread energy grid, it misses out on the benefits of a carefully managed network of power sources and distribution systems...
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  • China is Planning an Enormous Tidal Power Plant

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 11, 2014
    There’s been a lot of talk about using tidal power to generate renewable energy, but so far not much has been built on a large scale. But in China, a consortium of eight dutch companies and the Chinese government are trying to move the technology forward by building an enormous 40 to 60 mile tidal hydroelectric dam. They’ve satisfied themselves that the idea is sound, and they’ve started economic studies for their plan to build a truly massive tidal power plant. As currently conceived, it would use 4,000 turbines to put out 15 gigawatts of power.
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  • Google Wants to Push Into Energy Infrastructure

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 11, 2014
    Google has already put plenty of time and money into energy infrastructure. Their investment in the Ivanpah solar farm and their acquisition of Nest, a company that makes networked, energy-smart home appliances, comes to mind. Now, Bloomberg is reporting that Google is designing software and hardware to manage power lines and other energy infrastructure...
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  • The Duck Chart Explains Why Europe Can’t Use All The Renewable Energy They Will Generate

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 10, 2014
    Here’s the second story of the day about the challenge of integrating renewable energy into an existing power grid. Between new renewable energy sources and old power plants, Bloomberg is predicting that Europe will experience an oversupply of power in the next few months. And because traditional power plants can’t be switched off and on quickly, renewable power sources like wind turbines will likely be put on hold...
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  • Hawaii Is Issuing Fewer Permits for Solar Panels, Even as Demand Rises

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 10, 2014
    With electricity prices triple the national average, Hawaii should be a proving ground for solar power. The price of solar panels is falling, and rooftop solar makes more financial sense than ever. Demand for solar panel installations is higher in Hawaii than just about anywhere else. But HECO, the Hawaiian electric utility, is issuing solar panel permits at the lowest rate in two years...
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  • A Space Age Plan to Collect Solar Power Via Satellites

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 09, 2014
    Continuing today’s theme of wildly ambitious ideas for renewable energy, let’s look at the life of Peter Glaser, a scientist most famous for an energy plan that sounds more like science fiction than science. He died May 29th at the age of 90...
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  • Solar Roadways Campaign Raises $2 Million and Counting. How Did They Do It?

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 09, 2014
    A husband and wife in Idaho have crowd-funded over $2 million to build roads out of solar panels...
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  • First Municipal Waste-to-Biofuel Plant Now Open in Alberta, Canada

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 06, 2014
    The first large-scale municipal waste-to-biofuel plant is up and running this week in Edmonton, Alberta. The town expects it to convert 100,000 tons of waste into 10 million gallons of fuel. Right now it’s producing biomethanol, but they plan to begin producing ethanol in 2015.
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