Renewable Energy

Tesla beefs up its battery protection to satisfy Feds

Source: 
The New York Times

In order to get the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to close out an investigation into two of its vehicles being destroyed by fire, Tesla Motors is beefing up the shielding around the lithium-ion battery packs in the Model S, The New York Times reports.

IKEA buying Illinois wind-energy project

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. subsidiary of Swedish furniture retailer IKEA announced Thursday that it is buying a long-planned wind-energy project in eastern Illinois as part of the company's initiative to offset its energy use with renewable energy generation.

And IKEA insists the project, which has not yet been built, is more than public relations. The company believes that, long term, wind energy will help the company's bottom line, Chief Financial Officer Rob Olson said.

But right now wind power is a struggling business. Cheap natural gas and the end of a federal tax break for wind-power producers have left wind generation unprofitable.

Pa. helps spearhead new energy loan marketplace

Source: 
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania has teamed up with Kentucky and some businesses and organizations to create a fund -- called the Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans, or WHEEL -- that will offer loans for energy efficiency home improvements, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Oil

Toyota gas cars get efficient engine from hybrids

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota has developed an efficient gasoline engine using technology fine-tuned with gas-electric hybrids, where the Japanese automaker is an industry leader.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday the engine will be rolled out in 14 models this year and next year.

Proposal to beef up Mass. clean energy mandates drawing fire from all sides

Source: 
E&E

Utilities and clean energy advocates are speaking out against a bill in the Massachusetts legislature that would require proposals for 2,400 megawatts of new generation from clean energy sources, worrying that it would lock the state into long-term, expensive contracts for Canadian hydropower, E&E reports.

After First Wind loses court ruling, Maine DEP asks for fresh funding proof

Source: 
Portland Press Herald

After the Maine Supreme Court ruled against a joint venture between First Wind and Canadian firm Emera Inc., the state's Department of Environmental protection has asked the wind developer for fresh guarantees that it can fund the projects it has started, the Portland Press Herald reports.

Hawaiian Electric wins renewable energy grant

HONOLULU (AP) — A team led by Hawaiian Electric has won a $500,000 federal grant to develop ways for utilities to manage increased amounts of solar power and other renewable energy on their electric grids.

The team includes the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and several companies, like Siemens and Alstom which are both leading providers of energy management systems. Honolulu-based Referentia Systems is providing secure information technology and data analytic capabilities.

Swiss unveil new solar plane for global flight

PAYERNE, Switzerland (AP) — The Swiss-made airplane built for the first round-the-world solar flight has wings longer than a Boeing 747 jumbo jet yet weighs only about as much as a large car.

The Solar Impulse 2, unveiled to the world Wednesday at Switzerland's Payerne Air Force Base, is a bigger and better version of the single-seater prototype that first took flight five years ago.

The original plane demonstrated that a solar-powered plane can fly through the night, hop from Europe to Africa and cross the width of the United States.

EU seeks cheaper power, curbs renewable subsidies

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's executive arm is curbing subsidies for renewable energies to help drive electricity prices down.

The European Commission on Wednesday laid out stricter rules on the extent to which the bloc's 28 member states may support the generation of power from renewable sources such as solar, wind or biomass.

It says production costs for renewable energies have significantly fallen over the past years and the generous subsidies for them "caused serious market distortions and increasing costs to consumers."

U.S. Navy working to turn seawater into fuel

Source: 
International Business Times

U.S. Navy scientists believe they have worked out the technology of turning seawater into fuel, by breaking the water down into hydrogen and carbon dioxide and then processing the elements using a catalytic converter, now they face the challenge of producing industrial quantities of the fuel, the International Business Times reports.

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