Renewable energy industry news roundup: June 20–26, 2016
A solar-powered plane hits a milestone on its journey around the globe, a new report maps out the ways utility companies can provide solar power to neglected communities, and the Feds end an "unjust" exemption for wind farms. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.
'Beautiful Flight' Across The Atlantic Is Major Milestone For Solar Plane
After 71 hours and 8 minutes of flight time crossing the Atlantic, Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Seville, Spain. This is a major step toward the team's goal of circumnavigating the globe using only solar power. They've now completed 90 percent of their journey. The team is still mapping out the remainder of the trip, which will end where it started in Abu Dhabi.
How Utilities Can Help Get Solar Power In Neglected Communities
A collaboration between the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Partnership for Southern Equity and the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development has resulted in a new report known as "Solar for All". The report examines three ways in which solar power can be made more accessible for Americans, particularly in lower-income areas and communities of color. Utility companies are encouraged to broaden the availability of solar power technology across their geographical area of service.
In the past, wind farms have not had to provide reactive power to the grid the way power plants run by natural gas and coal have, but last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) did away with this key exemption. Reactive power is necessary to ensure that the grid does not collapse. It used to be too expensive for wind technologies to provide the same reactive power services as other generators, but with wind power costs declining wind farms will now be held to the same standard as power plants in the electricity market.
The U.K. is now generating more than a quarter of its electricity from renewables. Michael Liebreich, the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance and one of the world's leading advocates of renewable energy has praised the U.K. for its offshore wind industry, which has brought more than 20 billion euros in investment to Britain in this decade. According to Liebreich, the U.K. is "the only European country to attract increasing amounts of investment in clean energy year-on-year."