News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.
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.
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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.
Your Computer Wastes More Energy Than You Thought

Your Computer Wastes More Energy Than You Thought

Conservation: Studies commissioned by the state of California show that idle computers waste a whole lot more energy than we suspect.
Now You Can Find Energy Projects Proposed For Your Neighborhood

Now You Can Find Energy Projects Proposed For Your Neighborhood

Technology: A new mapping project can give Californians a "heads up" about pending energy projects in their neighborhoods, which can help neighbors wield better input into energy decision making that can affect their lives, their property values, and their health.
California's Renewable Energy Plan Misses the Point on Renewable Energy

California's Renewable Energy Plan Misses the Point on Renewable Energy

Commentary: And, in fact, the plan, several years in the making, is already outdated.
Summer Power Stayed on Despite Drought, Fires, Closed Nuke

Summer Power Stayed on Despite Drought, Fires, Closed Nuke

The Grid: Despite losing more than 2,000 megawatts of power from the shuttered San Onofre nuke and almost as much from drought-depleted reservoirs, California's power grid sailed through the long hot summer of 2014 -- with a little help from renewable energy.
California's Carbon Trading Program May Give You Money Soon

California's Carbon Trading Program May Give You Money Soon

Utilities: If each of the 10.7 million California households getting a Climate Credit bought two LEDs, the state could conserve the equivalent output of two mid-sized natural gas fired power plants.
California's Huge Renewable Energy Plan is Bad for Democracy

California's Huge Renewable Energy Plan is Bad for Democracy

Commentary: A draft plan to manage millions of acres in the California desert for renewable energy development is profoundly anti-democratic. Here's why.
Massive Solar Power Project for California Desert Scrapped

Massive Solar Power Project for California Desert Scrapped

Concentrating Solar: The owners of the proposed Palen Solar Electric Generating System formally withdrew their project from consideration by the state on Friday.
No! Wrong Way! U.S. Carbon Emissions Rising Again

No! Wrong Way! U.S. Carbon Emissions Rising Again

Climate Change: Well here's some news to ruin your weekend: the federal government's chief energy analysts say that despite a massive national investment in renewable energy, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are climbing again.
Nation's Largest Battery Storage Project Charges Forward in Kern County

Nation's Largest Battery Storage Project Charges Forward in Kern County

The Grid: The largest battery-based grid power storage system in North America just went online in Kern County.
Feds Broke Law Approving Wind Project Near Eagle Nests, Lawsuit Claims

Feds Broke Law Approving Wind Project Near Eagle Nests, Lawsuit Claims

Wind: A San Diego County-based conservation group and two area residents have sued the federal government over its approval of a wind project they say poses an unlawful risk to golden eagles.
Desert Energy Plan Would Devote 2 Million Acres To Renewables

Desert Energy Plan Would Devote 2 Million Acres To Renewables

DRECP: A long-awaited master planning document in the works since 2008 that will guide renewable energy development in the California desert is out in draft form Tuesday, and residents of the West Mojave and some other parts of the desert will not be happy.
What Does 'Carbon-Neutral' Really Mean?

What Does 'Carbon-Neutral' Really Mean?

Climate Change: As businesses start looking for ways not to affect the planet's natural carbon cycles, the phrases "carbon-neutral" and "carbon-negative" have increasingly become industry buzzwords. But what do they really mean?
Feds Fund Research Into Taller Wind Turbines

Feds Fund Research Into Taller Wind Turbines

Wind: The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday it's plowing $2 million into two groups working on ways to build wind turbines that are one and a half times taller than current designs.