News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.
Builders Seek New Delay For Giant Solar Project

Builders Seek New Delay For Giant Solar Project

Concentrating Solar: A beleaguered Spanish solar firm just asked for a year-long extension on a deadline for breaking ground on a controversial solar project in Riverside County
Does This Egg-Shaped Tiny House Really Work Off-Grid?

Does This Egg-Shaped Tiny House Really Work Off-Grid?

Technology: Will this egg-shaped house let you live off-grid anywhere in the world? No. But it's kinda cool nonetheless.
10 California Oil Spills Bigger Than The Refugio Oil Spill -- We Think

10 California Oil Spills Bigger Than The Refugio Oil Spill -- We Think

Petroleum: Santa Barbara County is reeling this week from a pipeline accident that spilled an estimated 105,000 gallons of crude oil near Refugio State Beach, much of which has reached the ocean. And for California, that's business as usual.
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You Should Probably Be Skeptical About This Bladeless Wind Turbine

You Should Probably Be Skeptical About This Bladeless Wind Turbine

Commentary: A Spanish startup says its new bladeless wind turbine design is quieter, cheaper, and more efficient than conventional wind turbines -- and safer for birds. But do the company's claims stand up to scrutiny?
Californians' Electronic Toys Waste More Power Than Desert Solar Creates

Californians' Electronic Toys Waste More Power Than Desert Solar Creates

Commentary: According to a new study, Californians leaving their consumer electronics plugged in wastes more electricity than all our new public lands desert solar plants can possibly generate.
Local Opposition Deals Blow to Solar Project in Desert Town

Local Opposition Deals Blow to Solar Project in Desert Town

Photovoltaic (PV): Faced with opposition from Landers residents, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors is telling a solar developer "not so fast."
Despite Drought, Sunny California Set for Summer Power Needs

Despite Drought, Sunny California Set for Summer Power Needs

Solar: California's ongoing drought means a lot less power coming from dams, but the state isn't expected to have any trouble keeping up with demand for electricity this summer -- and that's mainly due to solar power.
Solar Plant Likely Killed 3,500 Birds in 1st Year

Solar Plant Likely Killed 3,500 Birds in 1st Year

Solar: Some new, startling figures have been published about the likely wildlife impact of a controversial solar facility in the Mojave Desert.
Agency Staff Urge End to Desert Solar Project

Agency Staff Urge End to Desert Solar Project

Concentrating Solar: The handwriting may be on the wall for BrightSource Energy's long-mothballed Hidden Hills Solar Electric Generating System, as senior staff at California's state energy agency are urging that the proposed project in Inyo County be formally abandoned.
Did California Just Break Six Gigawatts of Grid Solar?

Did California Just Break Six Gigawatts of Grid Solar?

Solar: It looks as though California might have broken another solar record, with 6,000 megawatts of solar power flowing into the state's grid for about four hours Wednesday.
Want More Solar Cheaper in California? Give It to the Poor, Says Study

Want More Solar Cheaper in California? Give It to the Poor, Says Study

Photovoltaic (PV): Putting money into free solar for the state's poorest residents could give the state more solar for its buck than existing incentives aimed at more affluent people, says a study from Vanderbilt University.
Study Proves How Little We Know About Wind Power and Eagle Mortality

Study Proves How Little We Know About Wind Power and Eagle Mortality

Commentary: We have better, more solid data on planets outside our solar system than we do on eagle mortalities at wind energy plants in California. Why is that?
L.A. Needs to Cut Solar Red Tape to Get Off Coal, Says Study

L.A. Needs to Cut Solar Red Tape to Get Off Coal, Says Study

Photovoltaic (PV): Los Angeles is going to have to make some changes if it's going to reach its vaunted goal of going coal-free by 2025, and those changes mainly involve making the LADWP's bureaucracy work better.
Inyo County Nixes Cap on Solar Plant Sizes

Inyo County Nixes Cap on Solar Plant Sizes

Solar: The Inyo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday not to adopt a strict limit on the size of solar facilities, and cleared the way for solar development in a controversial desert valley.
No Need to Sacrifice California Wildlands for Solar, Study Finds

No Need to Sacrifice California Wildlands for Solar, Study Finds

Solar: California's urban and suburban landscapes could generate enough solar energy to power the state several times over without building on intact wildlife habitat, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The Drought Is Boosting California's Natural Gas Use

The Drought Is Boosting California's Natural Gas Use

Hydroelectric: Since 2011, the drought has cut California's hydropower output by an amount equivalent to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station going offline. And a new report says we've been making up the difference by burning ever more natural gas.
Controversial San Benito County Solar Project Jumps Hurdle

Controversial San Benito County Solar Project Jumps Hurdle

Photovoltaic (PV): The CPUC just approved a power purchase agreement for a large proposed solar facility in San Benito County. As the area is habitat for several endangered species, wildlife activists are fuming.
Work on Solar Project Halted to Protect Lizard

Work on Solar Project Halted to Protect Lizard

Solar: Work has halted on a solar power facility in Imperial County due to the possibility that a rare lizard on site may be listed as an endangered species by the state.
Group Wants Independent Review of Wind Power Wildlife Deaths

Group Wants Independent Review of Wind Power Wildlife Deaths

Wind: A national bird protection group is asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to require independent, third-party monitoring of bird and bat deaths at wind power facilities across the country, calling the current self-reporting system a "conflict of interest" that benefits energy companies.
Opposition Swells to Solar Plant Next to Mojave Preserve

Opposition Swells to Solar Plant Next to Mojave Preserve

Photovoltaic (PV): A proposed solar power plant that some opponents are calling "the worst renewable energy project currently under consideration" in California just found itself some significant opposition.
Inyo County Planners Suggest Strict Limits to Big Solar

Inyo County Planners Suggest Strict Limits to Big Solar

Solar: The agency responsible for planning development in one of California's most sparsely populated counties just threw a curveball that may prove a game-changer for desert solar energy.
The EPA Just Ripped California's Big Renewable Energy Plan

The EPA Just Ripped California's Big Renewable Energy Plan

DRECP: As the government agencies drafting a massive plan to zone the California desert for energy development struggle to put a record number of public comments online, one comment in particular may cause the document's authors even more work.
A Year After Launch, Major Solar Plant Apparently Running at Half Capacity

A Year After Launch, Major Solar Plant Apparently Running at Half Capacity

Concentrating Solar: More than a year after the formal launch of the nation's largest existing solar tower power plant, its operators seem to be having trouble keeping it online.
Bird Conservation Group Wants Tighter Controls on Wind Industry

Bird Conservation Group Wants Tighter Controls on Wind Industry

Wind: A national bird protection group is calling on the federal government to require wind energy operators to get permits to kill birds that are protected under one of the nation's oldest environmental laws.
A Greater Range for Electric Cars? New Battery Material Tested

A Greater Range for Electric Cars? New Battery Material Tested

Technology: An extremely thin "paper" made of silicon may offer a way to store a lot more electrical power in common batteries, according to a new study by UC Riverside engineers.
West Virginia Train Disaster Spikes Opposition to California Project

West Virginia Train Disaster Spikes Opposition to California Project

Fossil Fuels: A disastrous train derailment that spilled thousands of gallons of crude oil and forced the evacuation of two West Virginia communities on Monday is causing trouble for proponents of a similar line in San Luis Obispo County, as the city of San Luis Obispo has pledged to oppose the line.
Another Eagle Death at Nevada Wind Project

Another Eagle Death at Nevada Wind Project

Wind: A wind energy facility in eastern Nevada killed its second golden eagle in January, and environmentalists are demanding action from the federal government to prevent more eagle deaths there.
Scores of Birds Killed During Test of Solar Project in Nevada

Scores of Birds Killed During Test of Solar Project in Nevada

Concentrating Solar: A test of a solar power tower project in Nevada resulted in injuries to over a hundred birds, the BLM is reporting, though the project's owners say they've fixed the problem since.
California Sets New Solar Records

California Sets New Solar Records

Solar: At 10:20 a.m. on Thursday, the state's big solar plants pumped 5,117 megawatts of power into the state's grid, bumping California's grid past the five-gigawatt solar power mark for the first time in history.
Feds Laud Solar Project Near National Park, Forget to Mention Park

Feds Laud Solar Project Near National Park, Forget to Mention Park

Photovoltaic (PV): There's something unusual about the Interior Department's PR blitz to mark the formal launch of the massive Desert Sunlight Solar Farm next door to Joshua Tree National Park: Interior doesn't mention the Park anywhere in its press release.
Vegetation Clearing Starts at Desert Solar Project

Vegetation Clearing Starts at Desert Solar Project

Solar: The state of California has given the go-ahead to a solar power developer to start clearing desert vegetation in Riverside County on a site where the company plans to build a solar power facility.
Developer Won't Build Controversial Solar Plant Without Tax Incentives

Developer Won't Build Controversial Solar Plant Without Tax Incentives

Concentrating Solar: The controversial Palen Solar Electric Generating System, which was put on hold in November, will stay on hold unless a federal tax credit for building solar power plants is extended.
State Tosses More Cash at Geothermal, Alternative Vehicles

State Tosses More Cash at Geothermal, Alternative Vehicles

Transportation: The California agency responsible for implementing the state's energy policy will be pumping a new infusion of cash into alternative vehicles, geothermal energy, and energy efficiency.
Environment Largely Unmentioned in State of the Union

Environment Largely Unmentioned in State of the Union

Commentary: The environment was essentially a no-show in the 2015 State of the Union Speech.
Toward The Sunset: California Solar Industry Eyes West-Facing Roofs

Toward The Sunset: California Solar Industry Eyes West-Facing Roofs

Photovoltaic (PV): Rooftop solar has changed the way we use electrical power in California -- and that's changing the way regulators are thinking about rooftop solar.
Report: Fracking Imperils Southern California Residents, Wildlife

Report: Fracking Imperils Southern California Residents, Wildlife

Natural Gas: A state report released Wednesday says that fracking at three oil fields in Southern California poses significant potential risk to the environment and public health.
Firm Appeals Feds' No-Go of Silurian Valley Solar

Firm Appeals Feds' No-Go of Silurian Valley Solar

Solar: A federal decision that gave a thumbs-down to a 1,600-acre solar facility south of Death Valley National Park is being appealed by the owners of the project.
Energy Looms Large in Brown's Historic Inauguration Speech

Energy Looms Large in Brown's Historic Inauguration Speech

Government: Jerry Brown was sworn in Monday for an unprecedented fourth term as California's Governor, and he offered some impressive goals in his speech that would push California even further toward a renewable future.
Wind Company Convicted in Deaths of Eagles, Other Birds

Wind Company Convicted in Deaths of Eagles, Other Birds

Wind: A Portland-based wind energy company that recently sued the federal government to keep its bird death data secret has been convicted in federal court over deaths of protected birds at two of its wind facilities in Wyoming.
Tribes Sue Over Large Solar Project In Riverside County

Tribes Sue Over Large Solar Project In Riverside County

Photovoltaic (PV): A group of Native tribes is hauling the Interior Department to court over the Blythe Solar Power Project, claiming Interior isn't paying enough attention to the site's cultural significance.
State Bill Would Classify Burning Tires as 'Renewable Energy'

State Bill Would Classify Burning Tires as 'Renewable Energy'

Commentary: You think California passes some wacky laws? The Michigan Senate is now considering a bill that would classify burning tires to generate power as "renewable energy."
It's Time for Independent Monitoring of Wildlife Kills at Renewable Energy Sites

It's Time for Independent Monitoring of Wildlife Kills at Renewable Energy Sites

Commentary: A recent lawsuit raises a question that's beginning to be asked by any number of people watching the renewable energy industry: Why do we trust renewable energy companies to report on their own wildlife kills?
No Power Needed: High-Tech Mirrors Could Cool Buildings

No Power Needed: High-Tech Mirrors Could Cool Buildings

Technology: Okay, this made our eyes widen when we read it: A team of engineers at Stanford University has found a way to cool buildings by using interplanetary space as a heat sink.
Feds Deny Solar Project Near Mojave National Preserve

Feds Deny Solar Project Near Mojave National Preserve

Solar: A controversial large solar project that would have occupied more than 1,600 acres along the main scenic route between two desert National Parks won't be happening, it was announced Friday.
Oil Drilling Plans Near L.A. Neighborhood Prompt Calls for Review

Oil Drilling Plans Near L.A. Neighborhood Prompt Calls for Review

Natural Gas: Residents of a Los Angeles neighborhood have demanded a full environmental assessment of a company's proposal to expand oil drilling operations in the Santa Susana Mountains from 18 to 30 wells.
Group Asks For Court Review Of Natural Gas Plant

Group Asks For Court Review Of Natural Gas Plant

Natural Gas: A controversial proposed gas-fired power plant in San Diego County may become a topic of discussion by the California Supreme Court, as a local environmental group asks the court to reverse a decision allowing the plant to be built.
Romance May Have Derailed Science in California Energy Development

Romance May Have Derailed Science in California Energy Development

Government: The report details potential improper conduct by a senior adviser to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for energy, environment, and natural resources policy.
LADWP Sets Higher Energy Saving Goals

LADWP Sets Higher Energy Saving Goals

Conservation: The utility has set a goal to become 15 percent more energy efficient by 2020, exceeding the state's requirement for utilities to cut energy use by 10 percent, Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
'Dead' Solar Plant May Rise From Grave

'Dead' Solar Plant May Rise From Grave

Concentrating Solar: A controversial solar power tower project proposed for Riverside County that was recently pulled by its owners from consideration by the state of California will be brought back to the table by one of those owners, it was announced Tuesday.
Controversial Solar Plant Producing Way Less Power Than Expected

Controversial Solar Plant Producing Way Less Power Than Expected

Concentrating Solar: A solar power plant in the Mojave Desert that's attracted negative attention for its injuries to birds is producing a whole lot less power than it's supposed to, according to Energy Department figures.
Wind Project Pulled From San Bernardino Mountains

Wind Project Pulled From San Bernardino Mountains

Wind: A proposal that would have placed 71 wind turbines on the north slope of the San Bernardino Mountains has been withdrawn by its owner, according to the Bureau of Land Management.