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Updated: 2 hours 26 min ago

SolarCity, SunRun Win Arizona Tax Suit Over Exemption

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 17:47

SolarCity Corp. and rival SunRun Inc. persuaded an Arizona appeals court that certain tax exemptions for solar panels don’t violate the state constitution, according to an opinion released May 18.

The Arizona Court of Appeals rejected the state Department of Revenue’s contention that solar panels leased to residents and businesses generate electricity just as traditional electricity providers do, subjecting them to the same taxes (Solarcity Corp. v. Ariz. Dep’t of Revenue , 2017 BL 165607, Ariz. Ct. App., Div. 1, No. 1 CA-TX 15-0008, 5/17/17 ).


As 100 Percent Renewables Become the New Norm, a New Role for Utilities Emerges

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 17:37

Portland, Ore., is one of the most recent municipalities to join dozens of cities and states across the U.S. in pledges to run on 100 percent renewable energy in the coming decades. Portland is taking a two-step approach toward its goal.

Listen Up: What Home Owners Need To Know About Battery Storage Systems

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 16:53

Since the sun does not shine at night we need a way to store daytime-generated solar energy. Net metering is an elegant and 100% efficient way to shift excess solar power, but that system will not work at high solar penetration levels. Never mind the fact that utilities are loath to allow their customers to generate electricity for less than it costs them to deliver this power. 

As a result, battery storage is on the minds of almost all new solar customers. Storage technology, incentives, favorable electric rates and control software are all evolving rapidly. There are currently about a dozen companies with battery storage systems designed for use with rooftop solar. Like peanut butter and chocolate, many solar companies are starting to offer battery storage systems along with their solar systems.

My advice is to proceed with caution. Even though off-grid battery storage systems have been available for years, we are at the very early stages of grid-tied solar combined with battery storage. From a hardware standpoint, battery storage costs are plummeting, and new inverters/charge controllers are being developed. Perhaps more importantly, software that will efficiently interact with solar, batteries, the grid and your home energy consumption still has limited functionality. For more about the practicalities of home battery storage, Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.


Interconnectors — Moving Clean Power Around a Continent

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 16:44

In the U.K., National Grid is the utility that owns the high voltage electricity network in England and Wales. It is also one of four British gas distribution companies. It’s a big player — “joining everything up” — within the UK’s overall energy system.

Ameren Unveils Advanced Distributed Energy Microgrid

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 19:40

Ameren Corp. has completed an advanced utility-scale microgrid. The $5 million facility, located at Ameren's Technology Applications Center (TAC) adjacent to the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Illinois, is capable of serving paying customer loads on a utility distribution feeder.

Hu Honua Reaches Agreement with Hawaiian Electric on Biomass Plant

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 14:02

Hu Honua recently said that it has reached an agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) on an amended power purchase agreement for the company’s planned 30-MW biomass facility in Pepe‘ekeo, Hawaii.

Scientists Discover Extreme Geothermal Activity in New Zealand's South Island

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 13:25

University of Otago yesterday said that a collaboration by scientists who drilled about a half-mile into the Alpine Fault of New Zealand’s South Island has revealed surprisingly high temperatures and the potential for large geothermal resources in the area.


Conservatives Suggest More Curbs for Wind Farms on Land in UK

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 13:00

Prime Minister Theresa May ruled out new wind farms on land in England if her Conservative party wins the general election next month, tightening restrictions on the technology that’s spreading rapidly.

Real World Solar Projects for Hardworking Students

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 12:45

What is the best design for a livable home powered entirely by the sun that can be transported anywhere in the world and assembled in just a few days? Solar Decathlon competitions worldwide have netted 274 different-yet-correct answers to this question since it was first posed in 2002.

Burbo Bank Extension Commissioned, Helps LEGO Reach 100 Percent Renewables Target

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 19:41

DONG Energy and its project partners PKA and LEGO Group parent company KIRKBI yesterday celebrated the commissioning of the Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm.

Grid Parity? The Real Story Behind the Concept and Why It Relates to Diesel Generators

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 19:12

There’s been a decade of talk about if solar (or wind) has reached grid parity. And now, with the increased use of batteries and storage, the question becomes more relevant, as renewables can supply electricity beyond the generation time. 

SaskPower, DEEP Geothermal Sign Power Purchase Agreement

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 14:03

SaskPower, the principal electric utility in Saskatchewan, Canada, and DEEP Earth Energy Production Corp. (DEEP) have signed a power purchase agreement that will allow further research into the potential for Saskatchewan’s first geothermal power project.

Women of Wind Energy Rebrands as WRISE to Serve Greater Renewable Energy Space

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 18:44

Answering a call for representation for women across all sectors of renewable energy, the nonprofit organization Women of Wind Energy (WoWE) has formally changed its name to Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE).

As Utility Solar Grows in Virginia, So Do Tensions with Rooftop Installers

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 15:10

Advocates for small solar say Virginia’s progress on utility-scale solar has been largely at the expense of rooftop and community-owned installations.

ENGIE to Complete Its First Energy Storage Project in Northern Chile This Year

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 14:47

ENGIE group unit ENGIE Energia Chile will install a 2MW/2MWh energy storage system in Arica, Chile, later this year.

Scottish Offshore Wind May Get $13BN Lift From Bird Ruling

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 14:18

Scottish judges paved the way for as much as 10 billion pounds (US$13 billion) to be invested in offshore wind power by overturning a ruling that said projects may kill too many birds.


Spain Seeks $4.3BN Investment to Meet EU Clean Energy Goal

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 13:53

Spain is seeking to lure investment of as much as 3.9 billion euros ($4.3 billion) through its biggest auction yet for contracts to supply electricity from clean-energy sources, part of an effort to meet European Union targets.

On the Winds of Spring: The 2017 - and a half - Omnibus Spending Bill

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 21:45

A proud native of Chicago, I know a thing or two about wind. I’m aware, for example, that the essential elements needed to make it blow are pressure and ​hot air.

SMEC Selected for Snowy Mountains Pumped Storage Upgrade Study as Aussie Government Contemplates Purchase

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 20:23

Australian consulting firm SMEC has been selected to assist in performing feasibility studies for 2,000 MW expansion of the Snow Mountains pumped storage project.