Top Cleantech Stories Of January

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It’s really interesting to scroll through the last month’s stories in order to pick out the top stories of the month, and it’s really freakin’ hard! There are so many interesting stories every day, let alone during the month as a whole. Several cleantech industries are growing so fast. Below is my shot at the top 30 stories of January (with a bit of cheating). I’ve attempted, loosely, to order them, but that is even more challenging than picking 30. Have a look. Read the ones you missed that interest you. And share with friends!!



30. Wireless Electric Bus Trial Turned On In Milton Keynes, UK (In cases where the article was reposted to CleanTechnica from elsewhere, I’m added a link like this: on CleanTechnica. We get a lot of comments on some articles, and I figure you may like to check those out and may simply prefer reading here than elsewhere.)

Wireless electric vehicle (EV) charging really gets people excited — and for good reason, it could advance EVs for numerous reasons (cool factor, convenience, reliability). One of the earliest wireless bus trials was recently launched in the quite green city of Milton Keynes in the UK. We’ll see how that turns out!


29. Californian Solar Star 579 MW Solar Project Begins Operations

One of the largest solar power plants in the world just started operating in California. The project isn’t actually complete, but the first phase is, and one of the wonderful things about solar power plants (and wind power plants) is that you can start sending power to the grid when just the first portion of the power plant is completed.


28. New York Governor Announces $1 Billion Commitment To Clean Energy (on CleanTechnica)

New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced in early January the commitment of $1 billion for solar power projects. That’s big.


27. North Carolina To Join California As Top 10 Global PV ‘Country’ In 2014

Little old North Carolina is projected to join the ranks of some genuine heavyweights this year. Joining China, the US, Japan, Germany, California, and others, North Carolina (if it were a country) is projected to be a to rank as one of the top 10 countries for solar power demand in 2014, according to NPD Solarbuzz.


26. SolarCity Takes 32% Of 2013 3Q US PV Residential Market As Utilities Squirm

SolarCity continues to see massive growth. GTM Research reports that SolarCity took a whopping 32% of the US residential PV installation market in the 3rd quarter of 2013. It took about 4 times more of the market than #2 on that list, Vivint Solar.


25. $36 Trillion Push For Clean Energy Investment

Ceres hosted the Investor Summit on Climate Risk in January. CleanTechnica‘s Tina Casey attended and reported on a $36 trillion effort called the Clean Trillion Campaign, which focused on transitioning off of fossil fuels and onto a more safe and sustainable path.


24. Google On Its Way To Becoming Your Cleantech Utility? (on CleanTechnica)

With plenty of experience developing solar and wind farms, acquisition of Nest, and a filing for approval to be an energy marketer by FERC, could Google be on its way to becoming your next utility?


Google Acquires Nest For $3.2 Billion

Google Makes 15th Renewable Energy Investment In Texas


23. 60 Minutes Bombs Cleantech Story

60 Minutes in January took a shot at explaining the cleantech market to millions of Americans. Well, no, not really — it simply cherry picked and warped the reality of the cleantech story of the day in order to present an upside-down cleantech world to its (hopefully more informed) viewers.


22. EU Sets Binding Renewable Energy Targets After Tough Negotiations

After much deliberation and posturing, the EU has announced a series of climate-based goals for the Union. As Josh wrote, “the new framework includes a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40% below 1990 levels, a Union-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least 27%, renewed ambitions for energy efficiency policies, a new governance system, and a set of new indicators to ensure a competitive and secure energy system.”


21. Nissan Has Now Sold Over 100,000 LEAFs

Nissan has hit a pretty major sales milestone, surpassing 100,000 Nissan LEAF sales, half of which were sold in the past 11 months. It and the electric vehicle market in general are moving a lot faster than the hybrid market moved.


2014 Nissan Leaf Details Unveiled


20. Tiny Windmills Could Power Portable Electronics

Cool science story of the month was probably this one about tiny windmills. It’s unclear how likely the option is to have any kind of market effect, but it’s super cool. Check out the pic and video in the link above, and of course more information about the tiny windmills.


19. Amprius Raises $30 Million, & Adds Steven Chu To Board

Compact compact lithium-ion battery company Amprius has just raised $30 million for its commercialization move. Its li-ion batteries are notable for their use of silicon nanowire anodes. The startup also just added former US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to its board of directors. This is a company to keep an eye on.


18. Innovative Battery Startup Aquion Brings In $55 Million

But perhaps an even more promising energy storage startup is Aquion. It just raised $55 million in a $55 million Series D financing round. Investors in this round include Bill Gates, Yung’s Enterprise, Nick and Joby Pritzker through their family’s firm Tao Invest, Bright Capital, and Gentry Venture Partners. Again, an energy storage company to keep an eye on!


17. Tesla Superchargers Now Serve Several European Countries

Tesla continues its massive expansion of Superchargers. I’m waiting for one to be within range of Wrocław, but it’s exciting to see a genuine European network developing at least. Perhaps I’ll take a trip from one end to the other this spring.


16. Solar Dropping Wholesale Electricity Prices Like A Bad Habit In Germany — Charts (on CleanTechnica)

A new report out of Germany’s Fraunhofer institute demonstrates the degree to which solar power is already cutting into wholesale electricity prices in Germany. Take a look at the charts and article for more cost-dropping fun.


15. 10 Cities Making Massive Emissions Cuts Through Energy Efficiency

10 initial cities in the City Energy Project have committed to massively cutting their greenhouse gas emissions (and other pollution) through greater building efficiency. Silvio has the details.


14. MoU Signed For Enormous 4,000 MW Solar Project In India

What would be the largest solar power project in the world (nearly 7 times bigger than what is currently the largest solar power project in the world, also in India) has now received its MoU. Watch out — India might just blow the roof off the solar industry soon!


Indian Solar Auction For 750 MW Receives 2,170 MW Of Applications (on CleanTechnica)


13. Forget Intermittency: NREL Says Wind Energy Can Boost Grid Reliability

We’ve covered the fallibility of the “intermittency problem” in the past (a few times). A new report from NREL goes even further and notes that wind energy can boost the electric grid’s reliability. Case in point, see the related post below.


Wind Power Kept The Lights On In Texas Storm


12. India Nearly Doubled Its Solar Power Capacity In 2013

Back to India, I thought it was worth noting separately that it doubled its solar power capacity in 2013. Again, keep an eye on this fast-growing solar market.


11. REmap 2030 Launched — Roadmap To Doubling Renewable Energy Share By 2030 (Exclusive Commentary From Dolf Gielen)

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in January published a new report, REmap 2030, showing how we can double renewable energy’s share of the energy market by 2030. I got to see the report a day or two before it was unveiled and also had the opportunity to interview Dolf Gielen, Director of the IRENA Innovation & Technology Centre, over lunch in Abu Dhabi following the press conference for another big IRENA announcement. The report is very interesting. It is quite ambitious and yet also realistic. IRENA will soon follow up with 26 country-specific renewable energy roadmaps. Keep your eyes peeled, and certainly keep an eye on CleanTechnica, as we might have more exclusives related to those.


10. Electric Vehicle Owners See Their Electric Bills Go Down

In an interesting thread over on the forum, several Volt owners note that their electric bills actually went down after they got the Chevy Volts. Find out why by clicking through on that link. A few things come into play there.


Best-in-Class LED From SWITCH Infinia Now Available Nationwide


9. Tesla Supercharger Network Now Coast To Coast In US (on CleanTechnica)

No bis against Europe — as you know, I live in Europe — but the biggest Tesla news in January was probably that its US Supercharger network now extends from the East Coast to the West Coast (er, I guess we should say from the West Coast to the East Coast in this situation). Tesla owners are already making cross-country trips to enjoy the free (often even solar-powered) Supercharging. (And Tesla envy grows….) In all seriousness, it’s worth noting at this point that Tesla isn’t just a car company — it’s offering a pretty amazing transportation package that has no rival.


Tesla Has Supercharger Routes Up & Down & Around The US (Map)


8. Wind Power Spain’s #1 Power Source In 2013!

The country of Spain is still struggling economically and from a super austere government, but it is now benefiting from super cheap wind power more than almost any other country out there. Meeting 21.1% of electricity demand, wind power was the #1 source of electricity in Spain in 2013. Impressive.


7. Credit Suisse Projects ~85% Of US Energy Demand Growth Coming From Renewables Through 2025 (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

Thanks to a solar industry insider, I received a copy of a new Credit Suisse report that includes some very bullish statements regarding renewable energy. For example: “Renewables will meet most of US demand growth. We estimate that ~85% of future demand growth for power through 2025 (including the impact of coal plant retirements) could be met by renewable generation with compliance to the existing 30 mandatory and 8 voluntary RPS programs.” We’ll see.


Deutsche Bank Lifts Global Solar Forecasts (on CleanTechnica)

Europe’s Fossil Fuel Exit — 30% Of Fossil Fuel Power Capacity To Close By 2017, UBS Analysts Project

Deceiving EIA Forecasts (Letter From CleanTechnica Readers)


6. EV Sales Up 228.88% In 2013 In US (2013 Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Sales Report) (on CleanTechnica)

US electric car sales surged in 2013, rising ~229%. Check out my monthly report at one of the links above for plenty of details, my commentary/insights on specific models and car companies, and somewhat interactive charts!


Norway EV Sales In 2013 — 100% Increase In Sales


5. EV Battery Prices — The Disruptive Drop In Prices Will Continue (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

ABB’s head of e-mobility/electric transportation replied to some questions some of our commenters had, offering a pretty sweet rundown of EV battery price reports — all of which show a tremendous drop in EV battery prices, and one that is likely to continue.


Are EV Battery Prices Much Lower Than We Think? Under $200/kWh? (CleanTechnica Exclusive)


4. Solar Was #2 Source of New Power Capacity In US In 2013

Not even counting rooftop solar power, solar was the #2 source of new power capacity in the US last year. Word.


US New Solar PV Installations Reach Record 4.2 GW

US Solar Jobs Up To ~143,000 (on CleanTechnica)

California Installed More Solar In 2013 Than In Last 30 Years Combined (on CleanTechnica)


3. Boeing Biofuel Breakthrough Looks Big (Exclusive Interview With Boeing’s Biofuel Director)

In an exclusive interview with Boeing’s director of biofuels, CleanTechnica and Energy Post  got the scoop on a brilliant breakthrough in the biofuels arena. Seriously, that one is worth a read. And thanks to my friend Karel Beckman at Energy Post (who I pulled into the interview at the last minute), there’s also a podcast in the article that allows you to listen to Boeing’s biofuel director tell us the big story.


Flights Within 5 Years Says Etihad Airlines


2. China’s Solar Market Beat All Expectations For 2013 — Installed More Solar Power In 2013 Than USA Has In Its Whole History

It’s hard for anything to compete with China’s tremendous surge in solar power installations. In 2013, China installed more solar than the US has installed in its entire history, and it also installed more than analysts had projected. It’s hard to fathom how fast China is growing, and how fast its solar power industry is growing as well.


China Withdraws Support For 75% Of Solar Equipment Manufacturers

China Brings 2014 Solar PV Target Up To 14 GW (on CleanTechnica)

Shunfeng Aims For 10,000 MW Of Solar PV Projects By 2016 (That’s A Lot!)

Yingli Solar And China National Nuclear Corp Team Up On 500 MW Of New Solar

1,000 MW Chinese Solar Project Marks Significant Market Shift (on CleanTechnica)

BBC On China’s Massive Wind Power Push (VIDEO)


BMW i8 Hybrid Supercar

1. 13 Electric Vehicles Coming To Market In 2014 (on CleanTechnica)

Given that this was our most popular January article by far (112,000+ views), it seemed appropriate to put it at #1. As it indicates, the electric vehicle market is growing fast not only in sales but also in offerings. While previous years were marked by the introduction of low-cost electric cars, this year seems to stand out for the numerous higher-end electric vehicles coming to market.


28 Electrified Vehicles, 47 Electrified Vehicle Videos (Commercials, Reviews, Etc.)

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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