News Archive
  • GE Plans to Invest $1 Billion Each Year in Renewable Energy

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 28, 2014
    General Electric put out a press release trumpeting their renewable energy investments this week. They say that they plan to put $1 billion a year into renewable energy, adding to the $10 billion they’ve already invested. Among the most high-profile projects they’ve supported is the 550-MW Desert Sunlight solar farm in California, which GE has a stake in...
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  • Looking Back at Ocean Power Technologies’ Canceled Oregon Project

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 28, 2014
    A few weeks back, Ocean Power Technologies scrapped their once-exciting plan to build an ocean energy project off the coast of Oregon. At the time, they said it was due to a “considerable increase in costs.” Yesterday, the New York Times published a piece about the project and what it says about ocean power technology and business. When it comes to economic viability, ocean energy is lagging behind solar and wind power, which have grown fast in the U.S. Ocean wave energy, the NYT points out, lags behind even ocean tidal energy, which can more easily make use of existing hydro energy engineering...
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  • EPA Cuts Biofuel Mandate

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 25, 2014
    The EPA has retroactively cut down its 2013 ethanol mandate for gasoline by a significant amount. Reuters reports that the cut is a response to the U.S. ethanol industry’s low production stemming from rail distribution problems this winter...
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  • UV Paint Won’t Keep Golden Eagles from Wind Turbines

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 25, 2014
    It’s been suggested in the past that UV paint could help golden eagles spot wind turbines and steer clear of them. However, as Chris Clarke at KCET points out, a new scientific effort to map the golden eagle’s genome has uncovered evidence that golden eagles may not be able to see UV light after all, meaning that a coating of UV paint on a wind turbine won’t do much good. Golden eagles can see just about as far into that end of the spectrum as we can. The scientists behind the study speculate that UV light may be able to help other bird species...
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  • UK Guarantees Minimum Power Price for Five New Renewable Energy Projects

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 24, 2014
    The UK has started a new program to encourage renewable energy by guaranteeing minimum power prices, and five early contracts have just been inked. The government has selected eight major development projects to support –five offshore wind farms and three biomass facilities. Once completed, the government will support these projects through “contracts for difference,” in which the government pays the difference as necessary to meet the price guarantee...
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  • Google and SunPower will Lease Residential Solar Panels Together

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 24, 2014
    Google and SunPower are teaming to up to create a residential solar financing system. Along with SunPower, they’ve created a new program to lease residential rooftop solar panels. Google is putting in $100 million and SunPower $150 million. Google’s wind energy buy earlier this week shows how important renewable energy is to their business. But they’re not just renewable energy consumers – residential solar financing has been part of their business for a little while now. Back in 2011, they created two similar funds, with SolarCity and Clean Power Finance...
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  • Google Makes a Deal for 407-MW of Renewable Energy

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 23, 2014
    On the heels of yesterday’s post on renewable energy deals from Apple and IKEA, Google has made a major renewable energy deal of its own. They’ve agreed to buy 407-MW of wind power from MidAmerican for their data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This deal is another sign of how connected cloud computing has grown to its energy sources, and how much these companies value the stability and control renewable energy provides over other energy sources...
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  • Hawaii Legislature Increases Funding for Solar Financing Program for the Underserved

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 23, 2014
    Hawaii, America’s solar power proving ground, has added $50 million to their GEMS renewable energy program. GEMS – the Green Market Securitization program – was created by the state last year to encourage solar power by bringing down the up-front costs of installing solar panels. Instead of paying for the solar panels first, residents who qualify for GEMS can finance them, and use their energy savings to pay back the money over time, as part of their electrical bill. The program is targeted at the underserved – those who would benefit from solar panels but don’t have the capital to install them under the current system...
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  • Apple and IKEA are Making their Own Renewable Energy

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 22, 2014
    In the last week, we’ve seen a couple massive companies buy up their own renewable energy sources. IKEA purchased a planned 98-MW wind farm in Illinois. The wind farm was already under construction when purchased by IKEA, and should be up and running in 2015. In Oregon, Apple bought a small 3- to 5-MW hydroelectric dam near one if its data centers...
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  • Legislation News Roundup – April 22, 2014

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 22, 2014
    As always, renewable energy bills are working their way through statehouses around the country and world. Minnesota legislators are pushing bills to encourage rooftop solar panels, Oklahoma legislators are pushing bills that would make them more expensive, Poland is looking at country-wide changes to their renewable energy sales process, and more…
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  • Saudi Arabia Could Put a Hundred Billion Dollars into Solar

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 21, 2014
    Preparing for next month’s Saudi Energy 2014 conference, Saudi Arabia announced their solar energy goal for the next two decades: 41-GW of new solar power by 2032, a goal that they estimate could call for up to $109 billion in investments in solar. That would be 30% of the country’s projected requirements for energy capacity...
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  • Construction and Operation News Roundup – April 21

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 21, 2014
    The latest news on renewable energy facilities around the country and around the world. Today we have new plans for a tidal plant in France, a geothermal plant in Oregon, and more…
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  • White House Pushing Solar on their Own, without Congress

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 18, 2014
    The Obama administration has launched a new push for solar power, which they say will “spur solar deployment in the public and private sectors”. The White House yesterday held a “solar summit” to announce their plans and honor leaders in the field. The new effort includes yesterday’s announcement of $15 million in funding to support new ways of bringing solar power to market. It also includes plans to install 3-GW of solar panels at military installations, and 100-MW at federally assisted housing. Through the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utility Service, they aim to encourage solar power in rural America. They’ll also create guides and workshops to provide support on best practices and funding...
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  • DOE Announces $15 Million Funding for Community Solar Projects

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 18, 2014
    The DOE is continuing its string of announcements with more funding for renewable energy. Most recently, they’ve announced $15 million to encourage communities to use solar for homes and businesses. In their announcement, the DOE says the money will support “innovative financing mechanisms” and “community-based initiatives, such as shared solar programs.” The summary from their documentation has more detail...
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  • $18 Million in Funding for Bio, Ocean, and Hydro Energy Research Announced This Week

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 17, 2014
    On top of their large $4 billion loan program, which released a draft project solicitation document yesterday, the DOE announced three new funding programs for renewable energy tech research in the past week. The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy created separate programs to advance bioenergy, hydro, and ocean energy technologies...
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