Arizona Daily Star: Arizona Utility Regulator Surrenders Phone for Examination

State utility regulator Bob Stump has surrendered his state-issued cellphone to see if long-deleted, and potentially improper, text messages can be retrieved.

A group called the Checks and Balances Project wants to see whether the texts indicate campaign finance laws were broken in last year’s Arizona Corporation Commission races.

But that organization will not be the ones examining the phone, commission attorney David Cantelme said.

Daily Record: Tesla's Gigafactory to Open in a Year, Officials Say

Nevada economic officials say work on a massive Tesla Motors battery factory east of Reno is going smoothly and it should be operational within a year.

Steve Hill, director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, told Nevada lawmakers Thursday that progress on the $5 billion factory was going slightly faster than the company expected.

Breaking Energy: Oregon Offshore Wind Project’s Troubles Leave the DOE 0-for-3 So Far

You can now add WindFloat Pacific, in Oregon, to the list of innovative, U.S. Department of Energy-backed offshore wind projects struggling to get built.

A year ago, the feds whittled their way from seven proposed projects, each of which had received $4 million in design and planning support, to a trio that would get as much as $47 million apiece to help fund construction. The goal was to have the projects up and running in 2017, but all three -- Fishermen’s Energy in New Jersey, Dominion Virginia Power’s VOWTAP and now WindFloat -- are facing potentially fatal cost-related challenges.

The 30-megawatt Oregon project has been tripped up by an inability to find a buyer for the relatively expensive power that would flow from a five-turbine array about 20 miles off Coos Bay.

Bloomberg: The Shale Industry Could Be Swallowed by Its Own Debt

The debt that fueled the U.S. shale boom now threatens to be its undoing.

Drillers are devoting more revenue than ever to interest payments. In one example, Continental Resources Inc., the company credited with making North Dakota’s Bakken Shale one of the biggest oil-producing regions in the world, spent almost as much as Exxon Mobil Corp., a company 20 times its size.

The burden is becoming heavier after oil prices fell 43 percent in the past year. Interest payments are eating up more than 10 percent of revenue for 27 of the 62 drillers in the Bloomberg Intelligence North America Independent Exploration and Production Index, up from a dozen a year ago.

Council on Foreign Relations: To Succeed, Solar Perovskites Need to Escape the Ivory Tower

The lack of awareness in the clean energy industry about solar perovskites, despite the commotion in the scientific community, demonstrates how scientific research can proceed in a bubble. Following the big announcement of a highly efficient solar perovskite from our research group in Oxford, hundreds of laboratories around the world jumped on the perovskite bandwagon, in many cases abandoning their research into other solar technologies. 

The race among labs to publish record solar efficiencies in the top journals involved international intrigue -- the U.K. banded with Italy, trading records with the Swiss-Chinese coalition, and everyone was eventually upstaged by the South Koreans when they reported a 20 percent efficient solar cell late last year (for reference, silicon solar cells have plateaued at 25 percent efficiency, a target solar perovskites should soon surpass). The excitement and drama reflect the gravity of the perovskite discovery -- time will tell, but many of us believe this is the field’s biggest breakthrough since the original invention of the solar cell 60 years ago.