New York Times: Catching the Sun Profiles Solar Energy Entrepreneurs and Activists

One notion underlying Shalini Kantayya’s winning documentary, Catching the Sun, is that solar power is not only a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels but can also effectively curtail unemployment. The film begins in Northern California, which has experienced at least one refinery accident, and where clean-energy initiatives -- Sungevity, Solar Richmond -- are hiring and training area residents.

With brisk, fluid concision, the film jumps to countries fast-tracking solar energy production: Germany and China, which is “now the leading country in terms of how fast they are implementing sustainable technology at really large scale,” according to Peggy Liu, chairwoman of the nonprofit Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy.

Utility Dive: NextEra-Hawaiian Electric Merger in Doubt

At the end of last month, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission made public the latest participant briefs in the proceeding that will decide the fate of the $4.3 billion merger of Hawaiian Electric Industries and NextEra Energy.

The filings revealed a group of power sector stakeholders still deeply skeptical of the merger that would hand over control of the state's dominant electricity supplier to the Florida-based company.

Only the two companies filed with unconditional support for the merger proposal. Of the 24 intervenors, 20 filed briefs opposed to the deal. Two took no position, and two environmental groups supported, but want to add conditions on the deal NextEra has already rejected.

Forbes: Coal Baron Blankenship Gets Maximum Prison Term. Judge Says It's About Respect for Law

Saying that she had given great consideration to the sentence and that she took no pleasure from handing it down, Judge Irene Berger said Wednesday that former coal baron Don Blankenship must spend a year in prison -- the maximum allowed under the law for the misdemeanor conspiracy crime for which he was convicted.

In arguing for such a penalty, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia had emphasized that a maximum sentence would convey that rules matter and save lives. Anything less would imply that the laws are meant to be broken, the office said.

MIT Technology Review: Foxconn Wants to Become a Global Force in Clean Energy

The primary reason for Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn’s acquisition of Sharp, the struggling electronics giant, is the iPhone supplier’s desire to begin producing high-end smartphone screens, in particular the organic light-emitting diodes that will be used by the next generation of Apple devices. But there’s another driver of the $3.5 billion deal as well: Foxconn, previously best-known in the West for employee suicides and toxic water pollution, wants to become a leader in China’s clean-energy revolution.

It’s not entirely clear what will become of Sharp’s solar business under Foxconn control. But Sharp has been dabbling in related energy technologies for years, such as energy management devices and energy storage systems. And it’s clear that Foxconn’s enigmatic CEO Terry Gou intends to bolster Foxconn’s energy business -- both in supplying clean energy for its own operations and developing solar projects overseas.

Bloomberg: Banks Embrace Energy Storage When It Has Long-Term Contracts

Energy storage may be an emerging technology, but that doesn’t necessarily mean banks and investors are scared of it.

“When you go to the banks, they say, ‘We can get comfortable with the technology,’” John Zahurancik, president of Arlington, Virginia-based AES Energy Storage LLC, said in an interview Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in New York. “Nobody wants to be at the back of the bus.”

Banks are looking for long-term assurance that the systems will bring in money, especially long-term contracts. “The revenue certainty is the question,” Zahurancik said. “When there’s more to do, you’ll see financing coming.”