Project proves electric vehicles can be reliable grid assets

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Electric vehicles can serve as reliable and flexible grid assets, according to the results of a pilot program conducted by BMW and a California utility. (Greentech Media)

ALSO:
• Ann Arbor, Michigan is developing a plan to purchase electric vehicles for its city-owned fleet and charge them with solar energy. (MLive)
• Tesla says it is “actively talking” with other auto manufacturers about opening up the company’s Supercharger network to other cars. (BGR News)

GRID: Energy Secretary Rick Perry emphasizes electric grid reliability during his testimony before a House subcommittee, and says the Energy Department’s controversial grid study will be available at the end of the June. (ThinkProgress)

SOLAR:
• An analysis looks at what caused California’s first quarter solar downturn and what it could mean for the rest of the country.

Big oil announces support for Republican-led carbon tax plan

CARBON TAX: Exxon Mobil and other oil industry heavyweights come out in support of a Republican-led plan to tax carbon emissions. (New York Times)

CLIMATE: In a rejection of established science, Energy Secretary Rick Perry tells a CNBC interviewer that man-made carbon dioxide emissions aren’t the leading cause of climate change. (Washington Post)

WIND: Atlantic coast states are competing to become the capital of America’s burgeoning offshore wind industry, as they seek to revive old ports. (E&E News)

SOLAR: New complaints accuse two Duke Energy utilities of stalling grid connections for solar projects. (Triangle Business Journal)

RENEWABLES:
• Academics are pushing back against a leading renewable energy roadmap developed by Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson, which claims the country can wean itself off fossil fuels entirely by 2055.

Nevada’s net-metering law could serve as national model

SOLAR: A law that reinstates net metering for residential solar customers in Nevada is the first time in U.S. history that consumers have been legally guaranteed the right to self-generate electricity, and it could serve as a national model. (Greentech Media, E&E News)

ALSO:
• For the first time ever, Virginia now has more jobs in the solar industry than the coal industry. (WVTF)
• Florida’s governor signs a bill implementing voter-approved tax breaks for solar. (News Chief)

WIND: Federal regulators refuse to kill a transmission fee that inflates the cost of wind energy. (Billings Gazette)

RENEWABLES:
• A host of new companies are investing in clean energy.

Analysis: More than half of U.S. nuclear reactors are losing money

NUCLEAR: A new analysis shows more than half of the nuclear reactors in the U.S. are losing money, with losses totaling about $2.9 billion a year. (Bloomberg)

ALSO
• U.S. House lawmakers advance legislation to allow nuclear project developers in South Carolina and Georgia to cash in on expiring tax credits. (The Hill)
• A clean energy group says the cost of Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear expansion is now estimated at $29 billion, which is $9 billion higher than before. (Reuters)

EMISSIONS: The Trump administration is seeking a two-year delay for oil and gas companies to follow a new rule requiring them to monitor and reduce methane leaks from their facilities. (Associated Press)

REGULATION: U.S. EPA chief Scott Pruitt tells Congress that a waiver allowing California to set tougher air quality standards than the federal government isn’t being targeted.

Report: Wind and solar generate 10 percent of U.S. power

RENEWABLES: Wind and solar accounted for over 10 percent of U.S. electricity generation for the first time in March, according to a new report. (The Hill)

WIND: An industry group is spending millions of dollars on a campaign to educate lawmakers and the Trump administration about the economic benefits of wind. (The Hill)

SOLAR:
• A solar-industry advocacy group has doubts about a renewable energy bill that is being considered by North Carolina’s Senate. (Public News Service)
• To combat California’s “duck curve” problem, the state is looking at battery storage, shifting demand time and integrating its grid with other western states. (InsideClimate News)
• The largest non-utility solar array in Kentucky is completed and will produce enough electricity to power 463 homes.

Report: Endangered DOE energy innovation program is working

POLITICS: The Trump administration wants to slash 93 percent of funding for the federal ARPA-E energy research program, but a new report shows the program has been successful and “is not in need of reform.” (Washington Post)

SOLAR:
• Utility-scale solar is helping rural Texas communities, with a typical 100 MW project producing about $30 million in property taxes per year. (Houston Chronicle)
• Google’s free online tool, Project Sunroof, now shows which homes have already installed rooftop solar panels. (The Atlantic)

STORAGE:
• Most of the top solar developers are incorporating energy storage into their business strategy as part of a new solar-plus-storage trend. (Greentech Media)
• Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are exploring the potential for “self-healing” energy storage batteries that could respond to deterioration after wear and tear.

Report: Cyber weapon could threaten U.S. power grid

GRID:
• A cyber weapon developed by hackers allied with the Russian government could be deployed against U.S. electric transmission and distribution systems, according to a new report. (Washington Post)
• A look at ways to reduce the cost of connecting distributed resources to the grid. (Greentech Media)

UTILITIES: Utilities must prepare for the rise of wind and solar power as coal and nuclear plants retire from the grid, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR: A French company will build the largest solar project in Washington state, totaling 20 megawatts. (Associated Press)

STORAGE: Energy storage installations grew 945 percent in the first quarter of 2017, but customer-sited storage was down 28 percent compared to last year.

Report: Scrapping efficiency programs will cost jobs and money

EFFICIENCY: President Trump’s plan to eliminate the Energy Star and Weatherization Assistance programs will hurt job growth and cost taxpayers money, according to a new report. (ThinkProgress)

SOLAR:
• The solar industry is continuing to grow under the Trump administration, thanks largely to state incentives, low prices and a solar investment tax credit. (Washington Post)
• A bill moving through North Carolina’s legislature promises to end the standoff between the solar industry and Duke Energy while tripling the state’s capacity, but critics question the long-term outlook. (Southeast Energy News)
• A solar bill being considered by the North Carolina Senate has a provision that says projects can be inside or outside the state, which would affect Duke Energy in South Carolina. (Charlotte Business Journal)

WIND: Some residents in central Illinois hope to halt construction on a 139-turbine wind project through litigation.

Report: Utility-scale solar prices hit record low, under $1/watt

SOLAR: The U.S. adds 2 gigawatts of solar in the first quarter of 2017, as utility-scale system prices drop below $1 per watt for the first time, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)

ALSO:
• Oregon solar installations are up 126 percent compared to the same time last year. (Portland Business Journal)
• U.S. solar installations are expected to drop 16 percent in 2017, according to a new forecast. (Reuters)
• Underlying demand from ratepayers is key to the success of utility-led community solar programs, according to an examination of programs across the U.S. (Utility Dive)
• Residential solar installer American Solar Direct files for bankruptcy, listing less than $50,000 in assets and up to $50 million in liabilities. (Greentech Media)
• South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.

Hawaii becomes first state to pass law committing to Paris climate goals

CLIMATE:
• Hawaii becomes the first state to pass a law committing to the goals in the Paris climate accord. (New York Times)
• Under the rules of the Paris climate agreement, the earliest any country can leave the deal is Nov. 4, 2020, meaning the U.S. can continue to participate in international talks. (New York Times)

RENEWABLES: Small clean energy business owners are confident that withdrawing from the Paris climate accord won’t hurt their bottom line, saying “it’s an economic decision people are making.” (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• Utah-based Vivint Solar will expand operations into Colorado.