The Conversation: Can the World's Biggest Factory Ever Be Fully Green?

Much has been made of the use of solar power at what is to become the largest factory in the world, the Tesla Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada, which will produce battery packs for cars and other applications. The “end-to-end” vision of using renewable energy sources to generate electricity for product manufacture and use is compelling, and one that has been forcefully made by Elon Musk. At an estimated cost of $5 billion (including $1.3 billion in tax incentives) and with factory floor-space intended to grow to some 1.2 million square meters by 2020, on 4 square kilometers of land, it is a monumental project.

Look beyond the hype, however, and there are major environmental questions that need to be answered, as the rhetoric and reality of green production are very different.

Fortune: Tesla Is Speeding Up Construction at Its Gigafactory

Tesla is working hard to finish construction on its Gigafactory by early 2017, slashing years off of its original timeline.

The company announced the launch of its Model 3 sedan in March, and Tesla wants the Gigafactory to be ready early enough to keep up with the high demand for the vehicle, The Wall Street Journal reports. The base price for the sedan is $35,000, approximately half that of the Model S.

The factory is being built on 3,000 acres of Nevada land, and construction began about two years ago.

Midwest Energy News: ‘Value of Solar’ Gains Another Foothold in Minnesota

Minnesota became the first state in the nation Thursday to adopt a “value of solar” approach for determining how community solar customers will be paid for the power the projects produce.

The state's Public Utilities Commission agreed to use the value of solar methodology -- currently voluntary for utilities -- as part of a ruling on changes proposed to the state’s community solar garden program.

Xcel Energy, the state’s largest electric utility, is managing one of the largest community garden programs in the country. The value of solar approach includes external factors such as avoided transmission investments, the favorable health and environmental impact of clean energy and the ability to help the electric grid meet large demand on sunny days when extra power is often needed.

PRI: This Republican Says His Party's Denial of Climate Science is 'Courting Disaster' With Voters

A "hoax." A "con job." "Bull----." These are among the phrases Donald Trump has used in recent years to express his contempt for the science of climate change.

But former Republican representative Bob Inglis of South Carolina says his party and its new leader are wrong on the science, the politics and the economics of climate change.

"We're courting disaster," Inglis says of his party. "We're basically pulling defeat down upon us by taking on this retro affect that says that climate change isn't real... [It's] out of step with where the science is and where the smart money is. [...] The smart money is already moving to act on climate."

Crain's Cleveland Business: FirstEnergy to Shut Down or Sell Several Coal-Fired Units in Ohio

Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. announced on Friday, July 22 that it will shut down or sell some of the operations at two of its coal-fired generation plants in Ohio.

The company said it will either sell or deactivate its 136-megawatt Bay Shore Unit 1 in Oregon, Ohio, and retire four units of its W.H. Sammis Plant in Stratton, Ohio.

The Sammis units are among seven the company operates at the Sammis plant, and the four units represent 720 megawatts of generation capacity, or about 4% of all the electricity FirstEnergy produces. The remaining three units at Sammis will continue to provide 1,490 megawatts of baseload power generation, the company said.