Arizona Republic: APS to Ask for Higher Solar Fees

Arizona Public Service Co. is preparing a request for state utility regulators that will further increase monthly fees on solar customers, officials said Friday.

"We are expecting a filing," said Rebecca Wilder, spokesperson for the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities.

APS would not confirm a filing is imminent, but APS officials have said they were watching closely as neighboring electric company Salt River Project raised rates on customers who installed solar after Dec. 8.

LA Times: Computers and Monitors Are Targets of Latest Energy-Efficiency Rules

California regulators are intensifying efforts to wring every possible electron out of common household devices.

This time, the focus is on cutting the use of electricity by power-hungry computers and monitors.

The California Energy Commission just released the latest in a long line of energy-efficiency standards that made the Golden State a world leader in saving electricity. Past targets have included refrigerators, air conditioners, flat-screen televisions, battery chargers and dozens of other appliances and electronic devices.

New York Times: SolarCity, a Vocal Critic of the Utility Industry, Joins It

As SolarCity, the rooftop solar system provider, has rapidly expanded its reach over the last few years, its executives have pushed hard against the utility industry, criticizing it as a hidebound monopoly standing in the way of change.

Now, SolarCity officials are trying a different tactic: moving into that business themselves.

On Monday, company executives announced a program aimed at cities, remote communities, campuses and military bases under which they will design and operate small, independent power networks called microgrids. While the move will not turn the company into, say, Con Edison overnight, it represents a step in that direction.

Venture Beat: Dyson Powers $20M Investment Into Solid-State Battery Company Sakti3

Dyson may be more famous for vacuum cleaners, hand dryers, and bladeless fans, but the British electronics giant is spreading its wings with the news that it’s investing $15 million in Michigan-based solid-state battery company Sakti3. Existing investors General Motors, Khosla Ventures, Beringea, and Itochu are also participating, taking the full value of the round to $20 million.

A spinoff from the University of Michigan, Sakti3 has now garnered $50 million in funding to date, having taken on a little over $11 million over two rounds back in 2010, in addition to a $2 million Series A in 2009, a previously unannounced $14 million Series B-1 in 2012, and a $3 million grant.

Guardian: UN Backs Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign

The U.N. organization in charge of global climate change negotiations is backing the fast-growing campaign persuading investors to sell off their fossil fuel assets. It said it was lending its “moral authority” to the divestment campaign because it shared the ambition to get a strong deal to tackle global warming at a crunch U.N. summit in Paris in December.

“We support divestment, as it sends a signal to companies, especially coal companies, that the age of ‘burn what you like, when you like’ cannot continue,” said Nick Nuttall, the spokesperson for the U.N. framework convention on climate change.