In this edition of the clean transport and energy news roundup, we’ve got stories about a solar battle in Utah, a large energy storage facility in Sonoma County, public lands renewable energy rules, India’s $2 billion renewable energy equity fund, how many Gigafactories we’ll need for the clean energy transition, Chevy Bolt, hybrid Ferraris, the first commercial jet biofuel flight, and more.
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The latest battleground state in the war on residential solar is Utah:
Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Paul Murphy says they pay homeowners with solar panels about 14 cents per kilowatt hour for excess power but can buy solar power from commercial solar panel farms for 4 cents per kilowatt hour. Murphy says the utility is happy to pay residential customers the same 4 cents a kilowatt hour it pays commercial suppliers but it wants the state’s public utility commission to allow it to stop paying private providers the full rate of 14 cents per kilowatt hour after December 9.
Obama Administration finalizes renewable energy rules on public lands:
Surprisingly, the new policy enjoys broad bipartisan support. Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress called on the Bureau of Land Management to finish the rule making process, which is designed to insure that the taxpayers receive fair market value for the use of public lands, whether for renewable energy or fossil fuels.
CleanFund offers PACE financing for commercial solar projects:
CleanFund and Soligent partnered this summer to begin offering PACE financing to non-residential solar power projects across the United States. These funding options allow building owners to pay for clean energy and energy efficiency investments through their property tax bill.
India will award 1 GW of wind capacity next month:
Officials of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy have stated that the first-ever wind energy auction in India will be completed by next month. The Solar Energy Corporation of India, responsible for conducting the auction, has already issued the tender documents. The last date for submission of bids is 15 December 2016.
REC Solar & Green Charge create largest energy storage facility in Sonoma County:
REC Solar and Green Charge have partnered to create a 1 megawatt solar and energy storage system for SOMO Village in Rohnert Park, Calif. The combined solar-plus-storage system is expected to deliver more than $160,000 savings to SOMO Village in the first year and more than $1.8 million in savings during the first 10 years of operation.
India will launch a $2 billion renewable energy equity fund:
The Indian government is planning to launch an equity fund worth $2 billion to boost renewable energy development. The initial funding of $1 billion will be available starting next financial year, April 2017.
100 Gigafactories will be needed for the transition to renewable energy, says Musk:
Right now, Tesla is building one of the largest factories on earth outside of Reno, Nevada. Called the Gigafactory, it will have 15,000,000 square feet of manufacturing space when finished. It is there that Tesla will manufacture the batteries for its upcoming Model 3 midsize electric car and for both residential and commercial energy storage customers. In Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest movie entitled Before The Flood, Musk tells the actor that it will take 100 Gigafactories to build all the batteries needed to complete the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
California’s clean vehicle incentive program has disproportionately benefited the wealthy:
To date, California’s clean vehicle incentive program has disproportionately benefited people living in wealthy, majority “white” neighborhoods, according to a new study published in the journal Transportation Research Record. The new findings come from two researchers analyzing data on the 98,901 rebates issued to Californians “buying or leasing low-emission vehicles from the inception of the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project in 2010 through March 2015.” Among the findings was the fact that around 83% of rebate users during the time period in question apparently made more than $100,000 a year.
Probably not an approved method of charging a Tesla Model S:
In a new video from noted Tesla internet celeb-owner Bjørn Nyland, a Tesla Model S is shown being charged through regenerative braking while being towed by a Tesla Model X.
Alaska Airlines completes first commercial flight using biofuel:
On November 14, Alaska Airlines flew a Boeing 737-800 airliner from Seattle to Washington, DC using jet fuel that contained 20% biofuel made from forest residuals — the limbs and branches that remain after the harvesting of managed forests. The conversion process is the result of research conducted at Washington State University as part of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance.
Every Ferrari will feature some sort of hybrid technology by 2019:
Now hybrid technology is a far cry from a full-bore EV, and the Italian automaker has been making use of hybrid tech in its Formula 1 racing efforts, as well as the Laferrari hypercar, for years now. But it was during a third-quarter conference call that, according to Autocar, Marchionne laid out his plan to integrate electric power into every Ferrari drivetrain from 2019 onward, improving performance and, hopefully, sales.
Motor Trend picks Chevy Bolt as 2017 Car of the Year:
The editors of Motor Trend magazine reviewed 23 new or significantly redesigned vehicles for its Car of the Year award. The contenders were rated in 6 categories — advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value and performance of intended function. When everything was winnowed down, the judges narrowed the field to nine finalists and three top picks — the Chevrolet Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica and Volvo S90.
Tesla seems to have quietly pulled the plug on its battery swap pilot program:
There was quite a lot of fanfare when Tesla first demonstrated its battery swap technology awhile back, but that doesn’t seem to have translated to the approach being more practical than it is, especially when you consider that Tesla seems to have now shut down the battery swap facility near the Harris Ranch Supercharger in Coalinga, California.
General Motors releases details about Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid:
Cadillac announced this week that the CT6 PHEV will have an electric only range of 30 miles and top speed of 78 mph. When combined with the onboard 2.0 liter gasoline engine, range increases to 400 miles and top speed goes up to 150 mph. For the American market, prices will start at $75,095 plus a $995 destination charge. Federal and state incentives can reduce the net cost to less than $70,000.
Volkswagen EV will feature an augmented reality navigation system:
The system is so important to the Volkswagen’s plans, it moved the electric motor to the rear of the car so it could push the dashboard forward by 200 millimeters to make room for the heads-up system. Bischoff says the new system will be able to project information and pictograms onto the windshield. The information will appear to be located about 50 feet ahead of the driver. Navigation information such as where to turn will appear as if it was on the surface of the road itself.
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