European Transmission Operator: Solar Eclipse Is an Unprecedented Test for Europe’s Electricity System

European transmission system operators (TSOs) have been preparing for the March 20 solar eclipse for several months.

Under a clear morning sky on March 20, 2015, some 35,000 MW of solar energy, which is the equivalent of nearly 80 medium-size conventional generation units, will fade from Europe's electrical system before being gradually re-injected: all in the space of two hours while Europeans begin a normal working day.

Managing this event on the world's largest interconnected grid is an unprecedented challenge for European TSOs. Solar eclipses have happened before, but with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures, as was pointed out in ENTSO-E's Winter Outlook Report of last December.

Dow Jones: EU Opens In-Depth Probes Into GE Acquisition of Alstom

The European Union threw down a hurdle to General Electric Co.'s $17 billion acquisition of France-based Alstom SA's energy businesses, saying it would investigate in detail whether the proposed deal could lead to higher prices for large gas turbines.

Such in-depth investigations by regulators in Brussels aren't unusual and often don't significantly affect proposed tie-ups. But the move injects fresh uncertainty into GE's biggest ever deal, 14 years after EU regulators blocked the U.S. company's $43 billion bid for Honeywell International Inc.

Sun Sentinel: Nonprofit Pushes for Greater Role for Women in Solar

Rising concern over the limited role of women in tech industries has spilled into another fast-growing field: solar energy.

The new Florida chapter of nonprofit Women in Solar Energy hosted its first meeting Tuesday night in Fort Lauderdale, joining groups in 14 other cities nationwide to discuss ways to boost participation of women in all aspects of solar, from training to engineering and finance.

Civil engineer Raina Russo of Delray Beach, who for years has fostered social-media talks under the banner #solarchat, helped organize the local event, together with Alissa Jean Schafer, marketing and media director for US Solar, the Fort Lauderdale firm known for training and installation.

Reuters: Shell Shelves 200,000-bpd Oil Sands Mining Project

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) is shelving plans to build a new oil sands mine in northern Alberta, the largest such project to be deferred as producers struggle with low energy prices.

The company said on Monday it is withdrawing its regulatory application for the 200,000-barrel-per-day Pierre River project. Instead, it will concentrate on boosting the profitability of its existing 255,000-bpd oil sands operations.

Bloomberg: By the Time You Read This, They've Slapped a Solar Panel on Your Roof

The solar industry is growing up in ways that are leading to both lower costs overall and, as Greentech Media has reported, faster installations. Solar developers, banks, nonprofits, and other industry players are creating tools that are standard in mature financial markets.

These are the business practices that don't make for dramatic headlines but need attention if the industry is going to reach adulthood: credit ratings, due-diligence standards, and in general, cheaper ways to find and close deals. The easier these things become, and the more deals are done, the less risk investors face.