ZEBs part of aggressive approach to mitigating impacts of climate change

On a global scale, commercial and residential buildings account for 35 percent to 40 percent of total energy consumption, and while advances in energy-efficient buildings are reducing the energy consumption of many new and existing structures, the spread of zero energy buildings (ZEB) -- which generate as much energy over the course of a year as they use -- is a primary indicator of aggressive approaches to mitigating the impacts of climate change in the built environment, according to Navigant Research. 

Duke Energy accused of failures surrounding Edwardsport facility

The Sierra Club is accusing Duke Energy of failing to keep its promises to the State of Indiana in regard to the Edwardsport coal gasification power plant and Duke's claims that the plant would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect ratepayers from future carbon regulations.

Researchers find practical way to make biofuels from farm waste

A lot of progress has been made in turning specific types of waste into biofuels but wet and green types of waste, such as some agricultural byproducts, have been a more challenging task. Now, researchers at the University of Guelph have found a practical, economically feasible way to do it.

Westar goes ahead with wind purchase as renewables mandate comes under fire

As Kansas legislators get ready to consider repealing the state's renewable energy mandate next month, Westar Energy is preparing to buy more wind power to comply with it.

Idle nuclear reactors lead to power rate hike in Japan

It should be safe to assume that with Japan's nuclear reactors idle, electric rates will rise. And that assumption has held true. This week, Kansai Electric Power Co. said it would apply to the country's energy ministry for permission to raise household electric rates for the second time since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Update on regulatory frameworks for energy efficiency

State Electric Efficiency Regulatory Frameworks reveals that spending and budgets for customer-funded utility electric-efficiency programs continue to grow, driven, in part, by the evolution of state policies that allow utilities to pursue efficiency. In fact, utility company electric efficiency budgets totaled $7 billion in 2013, a 30 percent increase from 2010.

Energy and sustainability priorities shifting in 2015

Priorities in energy and sustainability management are shifting, according to an Ecova report that aggregates the findings from a survey of more than 500 C-suite executives, energy and facility managers, and finance and sustainability professionals at U.S.-based companies from a variety of industries. The second annual survey reveals an important shift in the way companies are approaching and viewing energy and sustainability management.

Underground hydrogen storage has advantages, study says

A recent study from Sandia Laboratories pointed to several advantages to storing gaseous hydrogen underground rather than above, particularly if demand for hydrogen fuel -- for fuel cell-powered vehicles, for example -- grows.

Irrigation district wants to take local power lines, transformers

It may sound like a strange thing to contemplate: A small irrigation district wants to get into the electric utility business, but plans to take local Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) power lines and transformers to do it. And this is not the first time -- the South San Joaquin Irrigation District tried the same tactic eight years ago.

Newest round of ARPA-E projects to focus on methane detection and thermal management

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)  has made available $60 million in funding for 22 new projects aimed at detecting and measuring methane emissions and developing localized thermal management systems that reduce the energy needed to heat and cool buildings. 

SC sets national net metering example

South Carolina is setting a national, and unprecedented, example with an agreement not to seek any solar specific charges until 2021, according to The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), a national group that helped with the negotiations.

Michigan trying to redefine renewable energy

A bill that passed the House on December 4 and was referred to the Senate Energy and Technology Committee on December 9 -- House Bill 5205 -- is causing an uproar among environmental groups in Michigan. The groups, which include the Sierra Club, want the Michigan Senate to defeat HB 5205, which would redefine renewable energy to include burning hazardous waste, tires and railroad ties.

Platts announces winners of Global Energy Awards

Platts Global Energy Awards winners have demonstrated that forging partnerships, developing technologies and thinking outside the box are central to meeting the challenges of geopolitical tensions, price volatility, changing trade flows and ever-evolving environmental considerations and climate change agendas.

Mass. legislators drop gas pipeline plan, want time to weigh options

A proposal to help alleviate the shortage of natural gas and the electricity price increases it has caused seems to have stalled. A new gas pipeline pushed for by a committee representing six states, and paid for by tariffs on customers' electric bills, had support but not enough.

Rural electric coops hammer EPA Clean Power Plan

While many voices have been heard blasting EPA's proposed emissions rule, the organization representing rural electric coops may have been one of the hardest hitting. When the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) described the proposed rules as an "ill-advised proposal," it was being relatively nice.

China drives solar with rush of year-end installations

Quarterly solar photovoltaic (PV) demand in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is expected to reach 10 GW for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to Solarbuzz, now a part of IHS, Inc., with annual APAC PV demand in 2014 forecast to grow 19 percent over the previous year -- driven mainly by a year-end installation rush in China, as well as strong growth in Japan.

TEP acquires natural gas plant, phasing out coal

Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) is purchasing a 413 MW share of the natural gas-fired Gila River Power Station in Gila Bend in an ongoing effort to diversify its generation portfolio. Built in 2003, Gila River Power Block 3, features combined cycle technology that improves fuel efficiency by capturing waste heat and using it to help generate additional electricity.

SC utilities propose new approach to solar net metering

A comprehensive agreement supported by utilities, solar organizations and businesses, and environmental groups has been filed by the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC). Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress support the proposal which outlines a balanced plan for solar net metering in the state.

SRP wants to impose solar tax on leasing companies, consumers

Arizona's Salt River Project has some not so good news for customers who want to generate their own electricity with solar power installations, and it follows that it applies to the solar leasing companies that provide the service as well.

Pacific Gas and Electric CEO supports cap-and-trade

Pacific Gas & Electric CEO Tony Earley Jr. thinks California's cap-and-trade program is a good example of the right way to reduce carbon emissions. Not only that, he also believes cap-and-trade would be an effective way to steer more consumers toward electric vehicles (EVs) which he sees as an advantage.