Follow the energy industry long enough and you learn that certain people in that industry usually have things to say that are both interesting and entertaining. NRG Energy's CEO David Crane is one of those people. At an energy summit this week in New York, Crane lauded distributed solar power, calling the trend toward larger solar installations "idiotic."
The Board of Supervisors of the Bay Area's semirural Sonoma County has voted 4-1 to launch a publicly owned electrical utility, starting in unincorporated areas but eventually encompassing the entire county. If successful, the new utility would eventually take 220,000 home and business customers away from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E.)
Light-emitting diode (LED) lamps are becoming more common these days, and their prices are dropping from the near-stratospheric $60 or so you had to pay for a bulb that'd fit in a standard socket four years ago. But LEDs get less efficient the more current is run through them -- the physicists call this efficiency loss "droop" -- and inefficiency from droop is an obstacle to wider LED use. A recent study by researchers at UC Santa Barbara and France's École Polytechnique has uncovered the reason for the "droop," raising hopes of circumventing the problem.
According to documents filed with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and posted on the agency's website, NextEra Energy Resources -- the Florida-based developer of the Blythe Solar Project in Riverside County -- will be slashing the size of its finished project from 1,000 megawatts to a maximum of 485 megawatts. The project, which NextEra bought in a bankruptcy "fire sale" when original owner Solar Millennium went bankrupt in 2012, has come under fire over its likely impact on Native cultural resources.
Representatives of Fisker Automotive, which missed its first payment on a 2009 loan from the Department of Energy this week, are testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Wednesday to answer questions about that loan, which Republicans are calling "Solyndra on Wheels." The beleaguered manufacturer of electric cars hasn't built a vehicle in nearly a year.
California's leading cities are sending messages to the energy industry powers-that-be on Tuesday, and that message is "we want change." On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council finalized a much-lauded agreement to wean the city's Department of Water and Power (LADWP) off coal-fired electricity, and went on to oppose reopening of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. On that same day, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed a resolution urging the city's pension fund managers to sell off their interests in fossil fuel companies.