Energy Minute

The True Cost of Renewable Energy: Less Than You Think - Energy Minute for September 26, 2013

Press Release

One of the common arguments against renewable energy is that it costs too much. A recent comparison of wholesale electricity prices shows that coal-generated power costs three cents a kilowatt-hour, new natural gas plants produce at six cents, wind power costs eight cents, and solar, 13 cents. But a recent Wall Street Journal analysis raises two important points that are changing those figures.

Geothermal Energy Projects Power Up - Energy Minute For September 12, 2013

Press Release

In the renewable energy sector, solar and wind power have received the most attention, for good reasons. But activity is on the rise in another resource area, geothermal energy. The global market for geothermal power is growing rapidly, according to a recent report from the Geothermal Energy Association. The report identifies over 700 projects moving forward in 70 countries, with 11,766 megawatts of new capacity in the early stages of development or under construction. By the end of this year, the global geothermal market is expected to operate 12,000 megawatts of capacity online.

Offshore Wind Power Stations Fuel Renewable Energy Growth - Energy Minute for August 29, 2013

Press Release

Renewable energy has been called impractical for its small scale and large expense compared to conventional power production methods. Now, one area of development is answering those criticisms by getting very big to cut costs. New offshore wind facilities now going online are equal in size to the largest gas- or coal-fired power stations. The world’s largest wind facility, the London Array, located off England’s east coast, produces 630 megawatts of capacity, equal to traditional fossil-fuel power generators.

Little Cars Post Big Sales - Energy Minute for August 19, 2013

Press Release

The Chevrolet division of General Motors has had a pleasant surprise: sales of its Spark minicar for this July were up 163 percent over last year’s July. The tiny Spark offers few luxuries: it has hand-crank windows, no air conditioning, and a small 1.2 liter four-cylinder engine. But it has one unusual feature: it is the only minicar on sale in the U.S. with four doors, meaning that it can easily seat four adults.

Energy Companies Compete for New Renewable Energy Customers—and Revenue - Energy Minute for August 1, 2013

Press Release

Legacy power companies are squaring off with new renewable energy providers in a battle to claim utility customers—and revenue. The companies are lobbying regulators and legislatures to roll back subsidies and credits that promote solar energy and other renewable sources of power, claiming that such support undercuts traditional utilities’ capacity to run the nation’s grid. The renewable energy industry replies that government incentives are crucial to start up renewable energy infrastructure and services.

Department of Energy Controls Greenhouse Gas with a Turn of the Wrench - Energy Minute for June 20, 2013

Press Release

Sometimes it seems as if all the good news about energy efficiency is based on great big ideas such as newly invented technologies, innovative management practices, and visionary strategies. But what if I told you that the equivalent of 1.1 million tons of carbon dioxide, like taking 200,000 cars off the road, has been prevented from escaping into the atmosphere over the last three years by the turns of a wrench?

Solar Power Industry Faces Quality Control Issues - Energy Minute for June 6, 2013

Press Release

The rapidly expanding solar power energy sector is having some equally intense growing pains. After bankruptcies caused by overproduction and falling prices for solar panels, the $77 billion a year industry now faces concerns about quality control, according to a recent report in the New York Times. A number of recent solar panel failures at several projects have alarmed utilities, developers, financiers, and insurers. Problems range from protective coatings that disintegrate to defects that cause fires.

“Renewable Energy at a Crossroads: Investment and Production Up, but Policies Uncertain” - Energy Minute for April 24, 2013

Press Release

The renewable energy industry has arrived at an intersection of fast forward growth in production and a pause in energy policy. From a business standpoint, the news is all good. In March, for the first time, all new electrical capacity added to the national grid came from solar power, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Solar provided nearly one-third of all new utility-scale power during the first quarter of 2013, adding twice as much new capacity as in all of 2012.

Big Changes in the Solar Power Market: Suntech Files Bankruptcy, First Solar Shifts Strategy - Energy Minute for April 2, 2013

Press Release

China is having its Solyndra moment. Wuxi Suntech, a subsidiary of Suntech, one of the world’s largest makers of solar panels, has filed for bankruptcy. The Chinese news agency Xinhua says Wuxi Suntech owes $1.1 billion to nine Chinese banks. This bankruptcy comes after other solar panel manufacturers in the U.S. and in Europe have either failed or cut back production. The reason sounds like simple economics.

Honda and SolarCity Offer Solar Power Startup Financing; Kentucky’s $1.75M Fund Supports Farm Energy Efficiency - Energy Minute for March 8, 2013

Press Release

Honda and SolarCity have set up an investment fund of $65 million to finance the initial costs of solar power installations for Honda and Acura customers and dealers who are homeowners. Through the partnership, customers and dealerships will be able to install solar power with little or no upfront cost. Customers in SolarCity’s 14-state service area may be eligible for the special offer.

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