Trade commission to decide on duty on Chinese solar products


The U.S. International Trade Commission will soon make a preliminary decision on whether or not to pursue a complaint that alleges imports of solar products from China and Taiwan hurt U.S. companies, Bloomberg reports.

Huge thermal plant opens as solar industry grows

PRIMM, Nev. (AP) — A windy stretch of the Mojave Desert once roamed by tortoises and coyotes has been transformed by hundreds of thousands of mirrors into the largest solar power plant of its type in the world, a milestone for a growing industry that is testing the balance between wilderness conservation and the pursuit of green energy across the West.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, formally opens Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles ranging from relocating protected tortoises to assessing the impact on Mojave milkweed and other plants.

The $2.2 billion complex of three generating units, owned by NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy, can produce nearly 400 megawatts — enough power for 140,000 homes. It began making electricity last year.

FWS faces pressure to address potential eagle kills at Wyoming wind farm

National Journal

The American Bird Conservancy and the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance in a letter urged the Fish and Wildlife Service to slow its approval process for a 1000-turbine Power Company of Wyoming wind farm, projecting the plant would kill as many as 64 golden eagles each year, National Journal reports.

Ivanpah solar station's tech draws scrutiny on evidence of bird kills

The Wall Street Journal

NRG's Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station in California, a first-of-its-kind solar farm set to open today with a speech from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, has come under scrutiny after evidence has linked its tower-and-mirror technology to bird deaths, The Wall Street Journal reports.

NRDC, utilities join forces to support rooftop solar


The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group representing utilities, announced a cooperative effort in support of a new rate system that would have rooftop panel owners and utilities compensate one another for electric generation, Bloomberg reports.

US trade protest over India solar energy program

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. brought a trade complaint against India Monday over a solar energy program it says discriminates against American manufacturers, adding another wrinkle to a bilateral relationship strained by the recent arrest and strip-search of an Indian diplomat.

It is the second time in a year that Washington has requested dispute settlement consultations with India over the program that it contends violates World Trade Organization rules by requiring suppliers use Indian-manufactured solar cells and modules.

U.S. officials say the trade case was in the works long before the December arrest of India's deputy consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, who was accused of visa fraud and under-paying her maid. In a compromise, Khobragade was indicted then deported in January, and both governments say they want to repair the relationship.

Branson hosts renewable energy summit in Caribbean

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Caribbean politicians and renewable power experts gathered Tuesday on British billionaire Richard Branson's private isle to discuss ways of transitioning to clean energy in an effort to spur small island nations to slash their dependence on fossil fuels and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Branson, the CEO and founder of the Virgin Group of companies, is hosting a three-day meeting of political and business leaders at Necker Island, his home in the British Virgin Islands where he has developed an exclusive eco-resort showcasing renewable energy technology.

The event is organized by the Carbon War Room, a nonprofit company Branson co-founded to promote cutbacks in greenhouse-gas emissions through smart private enterprise. It hopes to help small islands become carbon-neutral by accelerating commercial investment. Political delegations from 13 countries and territories, including several heads of state, are attending along with representatives from dozens of companies and multinational organizations.

Tech firms researching solar options for device charging

The New York Times

Technology companies including Apple, Microsoft and Google are researching new ways to upgrade batteries for handheld devices and computers, including investing in solar charging research, The New York Times reports.

Siemens net profit rises 20 percent, orders up

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Industrial equipment maker Siemens AG said quarterly net profit rose 20 percent as the company moved past one-time charges for delays delivering high-speed trains.

Net profit rose to 1.46 billion euros ($2 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2013, the company's fiscal first. That was up from 1.21 billion euros a year ago.

Last year the company had 116 million euros in charges connected to delay in production of trains for Germany's railway company, and a 150 million euro loss at its solar power business. This year's figure also had stronger gains for real estate sales.

SolarWorld courtesy Paul G. Wiegman

Solar jobs grew 20 percent last year, industry census finds

Solar power industry employment in the U.S. grew by 20 percent last year to nearly 143,000 jobs, and companies expect to continue hiring this year, according to an annual industry census.

The majority of nearly 24,000 new jobs created last year, about two in three, were in the installation field, said Andrea Luecke, president of The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit industry group that has ties to the Energy Department.


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