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In new QER, Moniz leaves path for Perry to follow at DOE

One by one, the heads of President Obama’s federal agencies are wrapping up their work, appearing wounded but resolute at final speeches across the city and laying out their wistful suggestions for the Trump administration in a series of exit memos. Obama himself plans to give his farewell speech this week in Chicago.

It all makes for a dour atmosphere in the nation’s capital, but outgoing Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz appeared comparatively upbeat for his curtain call last week.

Though it wasn’t billed as his final address, Friday’s release of the Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) was one of Moniz’s last significant acts at the agency’s he’s headed since 2013. The speech provided the MIT physicist with a platform to lay out critical electrical system issues for the incoming president and his DOE pick, former Texas governor Rick Perry, to address.

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The States Most Friendly to Rooftop Solar, Ranked

Solar research and advocacy group Solar Power Rocks released its 2017 ranking of the states most friendly to rooftop solar Friday, based on a compilation of state renewables policies and incentives. Massachusetts retained top honors, shaking off New York and New Jersey, which had split the gold three ways last year. Eleven states earned failing grades, with Oklahoma, Alabama and Mississippi rounding out the bottom three.

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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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