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Nissan, Honda Tease New EVs With Grid Services Capabilities

Less than a decade has passed since modern electric cars started coming to market, and already these vehicles are being asked to do much more than move people from point A to point B emissions-free.

Today, electric vehicles (EVs) are being equipped to drive autonomously, connect with a myriad of other devices and even read human emotions to provide an enhanced mobility experience. EVs are also changing their relationship with the electric grid.

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Clean-energy backers rally for override of Hogan veto

The sponsors of legislation that would increase the amount of energy Maryland utility customers get from renewable sources called Thursday on the General Assembly to override Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of that bill.

The legislature could consider overturning Hogan's veto as early as next week, when lawmakers gather in Annapolis for their annual 90-day session.

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Battery Storage Poised to Expand Rapidly

The summer of 2016 was one of dire warnings for Southern California energy consumers.

A massive methane leak from the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility outside Los Angeles had drained the region's natural gas supply, and the word went out that gas shortages could disrupt the region's power deliveries by the summer of 2017.

Amid fears of rolling blackouts across the nation's second-largest metro area and beyond, utilities like Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric latched on to a solution that for years had been quietly deployed, but needed an event like a looming gas shortage to be thrust into prime time.

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Ohio Governor Vetoes Bill to Extend Freeze on Renewable Energy

Ohio Governor John Kasich rejected a bill to extend a freeze on a law that requires utilities in the state to buy more electricity from renewable sources including wind and solar power.

The bill would have extended for two years a delay on the state’s requirement that utilities get 12.5 percent of their power from renewables by 2027, slowing development of the clean energy technologies and threatening investment and jobs, Kasich said Tuesday in a statement. House bill 554 would also have made the goal voluntary.

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The most extreme geothermal plant in the world

The last time anyone in Iceland tried to drill this deep they ran into trouble. In 2009, Iceland’s Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) hit a snag a little over two kilometres down. The drill bit kept getting stuck. The team had already used explosives to sever the line connecting the drill to the surface. Another time they poured in hydrochloric acid to free it from the rock they thought must be trapping it. But they were making little headway.

When tiny shards of volcanic glass started flowing up the borehole everything became clear. The drill had not just got stuck in a tough layer of rock – they were drilling into a chamber of magma. It soon damaged the drilling equipment and the borehole collapsed.

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Latin America is set to become a leader in alternative energy

BESIDE the Pan-American Highway, almost 600km (375 miles) north of Santiago, Chile’s capital, lies El Romero, the largest solar-energy plant in Latin America and among the dozen biggest in the world. Its 775,000 grey solar panels spread out across the undulating plateau of the Atacama desert as if they were sheets of water. Built at a cost of $343m by Acciona Energía, a Spanish company, last month El Romero started to be hooked up to the national grid. By April it should reach full strength, generating 196MW of electricity—enough to power a city of a million people. A third of its output will be bought directly by Google’s Chilean subsidiary, and the rest fed into the grid.

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Ohio Senate freezes energy standards for 2 more years

The Ohio Senate last night voted to extend a freeze on the state's mandatory renewable and energy efficiency standards, choosing to make them voluntary instead of pushing the state to conserve and utilize more carbon-free energy.

The measure, which has also been approved by the House, now heads to the desk of Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who has threatened a veto. According to The Plain Dealer, Ohio Senators voted 18-13 to pass the measure, with five Republicans and eight Democrats opposed.

Renewable and efficiency standards were frozen in 2014 and are slated return to force next year unless Kasich signs the freeze.

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New Arizona proposal seeks to mandate renewable generation during peak demand hours

An unprecedented proposal from Arizona’s consumer advocate on how to improve the state’s renewables mandate could be a policy whose time has come throughout the nation.

In August, Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Chair Doug Little opened the first review of Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standards and Tariff (REST) in almost 11 years. His surprising suggestions to increase the state's 15% renewables mandate to 30% by 2030 and to include new technologies like energy storage were initially expected to be the most controversial topics in the proceeding (Docket E-00000Q-16-0289).

But a white paper just introduced last week by Arizona’s Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) would enhance the mandate in a completely new way by adding a mandate for renewables to meet peak demand.

While the idea is new, its immediate relevance to grid needs across the nation is already attracting attention of regulators, utilities, and important private sector players in other states.

“The Clean Peak Standard and the white paper address some of the things we want to and need to address in the review of the REST,” Chair Little told Utility Dive.

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As time runs out on bipartisan energy bill, senators propose 100% clean energy goal

The U.S. Congress is set to adjourn next week, but in the waning days of the legislative session, there is still debate on whether a bipartisan energy bill could yet be cobbled together.

Natural Gas Intelligence reports some senators are irked at reports coming out of House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-WI) office that indicate there will be no agreement, while other lawmakers believe there is still time.

Separately, two Democratic Senators this week introduced a resolution calling on the United States to use 100% renewable energy by 2050.

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Clean Energy ‘Moving Forward’ Despite Trump’s E.P.A. Pick, Experts Say

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice of a fossil-fuel advocate and climate-change denier to head the Environmental Protection Agency comes at a moment when the American energy market has already shifted away from the most polluting fossil fuels, driven more by investors and economics than by federal regulations.

Those market forces could make Mr. Trump’s promise to create at least half a million energy jobs a year in the nation’s coal mines and oil shale fields all but impossible.

But if Mr. Trump’s promised jobs are unlikely to materialize, the impact on the planet from his policies would be significant. Without additional government policies, energy and environmental experts say, the shift from coal, oil and natural gas will not be rapid or substantial enough to stave off the worst impacts of a warming atmosphere, including rising sea levels, more powerful storms, more devastating droughts and food and water shortages.

“The good news is that on its own, the U.S. economy has become less carbon intensive, and that trend will continue overall,” said Robert N. Stavins, the director of the environmental economics program at Harvard University. The bad news, he said, is that markets alone will not lower emissions enough to offset the worst impacts of global warming.

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