News Archive
  • A DOE Program with $4 Billion in Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 17, 2014
    The Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy is working on a program to make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. They aim to support “technologies that are catalytic, replicable, and market ready.” While they are not limiting projects to these categories, EERE identified five key areas of interest...
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  • Tidal Power Conference Begins in UK

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 16, 2014
    A tidal power conference begins in the UK today, focused on developing tidal power projects in the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel. The conference is hosted by the West Somerset Council, and will bring together local authorities, coastal councils, developers, and engineers. It’s the first conference of its kind...
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  • While U.S. Ethanol is Waiting for the Train, Imported Ethanol is Taking Its Place

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 16, 2014
    The rail distribution problems plaguing the U.S. ethanol industry haven’t gone away. This week saw another story on how inconsistent train service continues to make ethanol distribution difficult, reducing stockpiles and increasing prices, and causing problems for U.S. ethanol producers and consumers alike. But the marketplace is beginning to look at the situation differently. Ethanol is coming down somewhat from its recent highs...
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  • Indonesia Gives Geothermal Energy a Price Bump

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 15, 2014
    The Indonesian government will raise the price of energy from geothermal plants. Geothermal energy sources are an important renewable energy source in Indonesia. It’s the world’s third largest produce of geothermal energy, with a geothermal capacity of almost 1,200 MW. But as the article reports, they have an estimated geothermal potential of much more – as much as 27,000 MW. The government is hoping to encourage geothermal energy development as part of their renewable energy goals.
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  • Japan's New Energy Plan Picks Coal over Renewable Energy

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 15, 2014
    Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe disappointed renewable energy advocates by advancing a new energy plan favoring coal. The new energy plan is part of Japan’s move away from nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster. With the public ready to support a shift to a new energy approach, many hoped that Japan would use renewable energy to replace a sizeable chunk of their nuclear energy production. But the country is going a different route. Bloomberg quotes an official at the Ministry of the Economy, Trade, and Industry, saying “Our basic stance is to use coal while caring for the environment as much as possible. Coal is economical and stable in supply...
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  • The Senate Considers Renewing the Wind Credit for the Short Term… Again

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 11, 2014
    The Senate Finance Committee has approved a bill that would bring back the wind energy production tax credit for two years. The bill is headed to the Senate floor for a vote next. The PTC expired last December, although as I wrote about yesterday, the benefits of the expired PTC will continue to help wind projects already underway, likely meaning lots of wind construction in the U.S. through 2015. But without this extension, the outlook for the U.S. wind industry beyond 2015 is uncertain...
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  • Norway Plans to Double Renewable Energy Investments from its Oil Fund

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 11, 2014
    The Norway Finance Minister said last week that the country should increase investments in renewable energy from its $860 billion oil fund. The fund currently invests between $3.3 and $5 billion, and they aim to raise that to between $5 and $8.3 billion. Reuters reports that environmental groups see the investment as small-scale, and wish Norway would do more...
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  • Global Wind Energy Council Is Predicting Wind Power Growth in 2014

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 10, 2014
    The Global Wind Energy Council has put out their annual global wind report. In it, they predict that 2014 will be a record year for wind power. Thanks to the temporary expiration of the wind production tax credit, 2013 was a tough year for the wind industry in the U.S. But the GWEC is predicting that the re-authorization of the PTC, along with a healthy queue of projects worldwide, should make 2014 a strong year for new wind projects...
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  • Hawaiian Electric Working to Manage a Grid with Lots of Solar

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 10, 2014
    Hawaiian power companies have struggled to accommodate home solar panels. They’ve put restrictions on home and business owners who want to use PV panels, requiring them to get special permission from the utilities. But with such high electricity costs in Hawaii, consumers are jumping to use solar panels to bring their bills down. Now, Hawaiian Electric has won a $500,000 grant to help smooth this issue out...
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  • EU Reduces Required Contributions to Renewable Energy Funds, Cutting Renewable Energy Subsidies

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 09, 2014
    The European Commission has eased requirements for EU industries and scaled back subsidies for renewable energy. Industrial energy consumers in the EU have to contribute to renewable energy funds, but thanks to these new changes, each country in the EU can now lower the amount that their industrial consumers must contribute...
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  • Germany Reduces Renewable Energy Subsidies, Caps Renewable Energy Growth

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 09, 2014
    In response to rising electricity costs for consumers, Germany has revised its renewable energy program, imposing limits to slow the construction of new solar and wind plants. Solar and onshore wind construction will be capped at 2.5-GW per year, and offshore wind construction will be capped at 6.5-GW by 2020. They will also reduce subsidies and require renewable energy producers to be more competitive in the energy market. Reuters reports that environmental groups are unhappy, while the industrial sector is pleased...
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  • First Solar Puts Projects on Hold in Australia

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 08, 2014
    In yesterday’s post on declining investment in renewable energy worldwide, a new report pinned the decrease on uncertainty over the regulatory future of renewable energy in many countries. Today we have a couple articles from Australia showing just how that occurs. Australia has encouraged solar projects, and First Solar has jumped in, building $450 million’s worth of solar plants with help from the Australian government...
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  • U.S. Navy Breakthrough Creates Fuel from Seawater

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 08, 2014
    The U.S. Naval Research Center has found a way to use seawater as a fuel, pulling carbon dioxide and hydrogen from the water and turning it into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel. In their announcement, NRL chemist Dr. Heather Willauer called the technology “game changing,” and saying, “This is the first time technology of this nature has been demonstrated with the potential for transition, from the laboratory, to full-scale commercial implementation...
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  • Renewable Energy Production Rises While Renewable Energy Investment Falls

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 07, 2014
    According to a new report, renewable energy accounted for 8.5% of energy worldwide in 2013, 0.7% higher than the previous year. But even as renewable energy production rose, investment in renewable energy fell by 14% globally...
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  • San Bernardino County Seeking Public Input for their Renewable Energy Plan

    by Henry Kaplan | Apr 07, 2014
    San Bernardino County, in the Southern California desert, is adding a Renewable Energy Element to their county General Plan. They aim to have the document written, environmentally reviewed, and approved by Spring 2015. Right now, they are in the early stages of designing the framework, and they’re holding workshops to get input from the public.
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