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Tidal Power Developers Bet on Sea Change in Indonesia Renewables Sector

A well-connected Indonesian marine renewable energy company and OpenHydro, a unit of French state-owned naval defense company DCNS, aim to be the first to plug into the vast untapped tidal energy potential of the world’s biggest archipelago.

Renewables have so far played little part in Indonesia’s power sector, despite the country sitting on the world’s biggest geothermal reserves and being bathed in sunshine, crowded out by an abundance of cheap coal and bureaucratic bottlenecks. But declining costs of renewable electricity and a new push by President Joko Widodo to develop renewables in the remote eastern parts of the archipelago are changing the picture.

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Amazon Brings on Five New Solar Projects to Power Its Cloud

Amazon Web Services is bringing on five new solar farms to help power its massive cloud data centers. The new solar facilities, all in Virginia, will bring 180 megawatts of power onto the grid by the end of next year, the company announced late Thursday. Those new facilities, along with Amazon’s existing plants, are expected to provide 580,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy annually.

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In Washington, DC, People Are Using Their Feet To Turn On The Lights

A new kind of populist movement is underfoot in the nation’s capital – and it has nothing to do with politics or the election. The movement – happening just blocks from the White House – is coming from thousands of commuters marching their way across Dupont Circle. Today, those rushing feet are finally being put to work. A few new chunks of high-tech sidewalk are opening up on the south end of the circle today that capture the energy walkers use to push their feet off the ground, and turn it around to power up LED streetlights.

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Tesla Seals $2 Billion SolarCity Deal

Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc. officially moved beyond cars and became a clean-energy company Thursday, as shareholders overwhelmingly approved the acquisition of SolarCity Corp. The deal, valued at about $2 billion, will integrate the maker of all-electric cars and batteries with the installer of rooftop solar panels. More than 85 percent of Tesla shares voted in favor of the merger.

The deal, which sparked controversy over debt and corporate-governance concerns, is a win for Musk’s vision of Tesla as one-stop shopping for consumers eager to become independent of fossil fuels. Now comes the task of integrating two companies that have a track record of fleeting profits and frequent fundraising needs--not to mention thousands of employees.

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DOE ups ante on Sunshot, targeting 50% solar cost cut between 2020 and 2030

The Department of Energy has upped the ante on its solar power cost reduction goals, aiming to cut the cost of solar-generated electricity by 50% between 2020 and 2030 as part of its SunShot Initiative. Sunshot now aims to reduce the average cost of utility-scale PV to $0.03/kWh, commercial PV to $0.04/kWh and residential PV to $0.05/kWh by 2030. In areas with above-average solar potential, targeted prices are even lower. The DOE says the SunShot program, started in 2011, is at 90% of its original goal of reducing solar costs to $0.06/kWh by 2020.

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FERC Proposes to Open Up Wholesale Markets for Energy Storage and Aggregation

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission just took its strongest step yet to initiate markets for energy storage across the nation.

The commission, which governs interstate power transmission and wholesale markets, proposed a rule Thursday that would require each regional transmission organization and independent system operator to create rules for energy storage to participate in wholesale markets. The new regulations would have to recognize "the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage resources," which differ from traditional grid infrastructure in that they can act as both a load and a generator, and perform a multitude of functions if given the chance.

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In last minute dash, Obama administration pushes global clean energy initiatives

The Obama administration has announced a broad range of global clean energy initiatives and investments, including financing in India and El Salvador, off-grid grants in Africa and a new report on the market for access to efficient appliances. The slate of announcements includes committing $125 million in financing for renewable energy projects through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The funding is a small drop compared to the $11 billion the United States has invested from 2010-2015 alone in internati

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Microsoft Announces Biggest-Ever Wind Energy Buy

Microsoft on Monday said it has inked its biggest deals yet to acquire renewable wind energy to power its massive U.S. data centers. Its two new contracts represent 237 megawatts of generating capacity, bringing Microsoft’s wind power total in the United States to more than 500 megawatts, the company said. Megawatt (or 1000 kilwatts) is a standard measurement of electricity production.

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IEA: Global Solar PV Capacity Surpassed 227GW in 2015

Last year was a record year for global PV installations, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest Trends in Photovoltaic Applications report, released last week. Worldwide installed capacity amounted to 51 gigawatts in 2015, up from around 40 gigawatts in the two preceding years.

After 20 years of PV development, the report finds there are now at least 227 gigawatts of PV installed around the world, making up more than 1.2 percent of global electricity demand. The latest GTM Research Global Solar Demand Monitor also puts the total at 228 gigawatts, down from a previous projection of more than 250 gigawatts.

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Why 'a lot has become the new normal' in state solar policy debates

The skyrocketing growth of distributed solar is keeping policymakers as busy as utilities and rooftop installers. There were over 100 separate solar policy actions debated by state regulators and legislators across the U.S. in the third quarter of 2016, according to a new report from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (CETC). That’s up significantly from just last year, according to Autumn Proudlove, senior policy analyst at the CETC and author of the “50 States of Solar” report. “When we first started tracking solar policy actions in Q1 2015, we had 70 policy actions, but in Q3 2016 there were 117 policy actions,” she said. “That is a lot of policy debates but a lot has become the new normal.”

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