InsideClimate News: EU Utilities Vow End to Coal After 2020, as Trump Promises Revival

In a historic pledge, the European Union's electric utilities announced on Wednesday they will no longer build coal-fired plants after 2020, citing the need for action on climate change to guarantee "sustainability of the global economy."

The announcement came at an annual meeting of Eurelectric, the association representing 3,500 utilities across the EU. National energy companies in 26 out of 28 EU countries have joined the initiative, except for utilities in Poland and Greece.

"The power sector is determined to lead the energy transition and back our commitment to the low-carbon economy with concrete action," said Eurelectric president and chief executive of the Portuguese energy group EDP, António Mexia, in a press release. "With power supply becoming increasingly clean, electric technologies are an obvious choice for replacing fossil fuel-based systems, for instance in the transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Mashable: Here Are the Top 20 U.S. Cities for Solar Power

With the Trump administration targeting various government clean energy programs, we can think of no better time to celebrate the U.S. cities with the most installed solar energy.

A new report found the country has made some serious solar strides in 2016, particularly in 20 cities across the country.

America's "shining cities" helped the country attain 42,000 megawatts of solar energy capacity by the end of 2016 -- enough energy to power 8.3 million average homes and slash annual carbon emissions by 52.3 million metric tons, the Frontier Group and the Environment America Research and Policy Center reported.

Utility Dive: New NREL Report Provides Missing Metric for Valuing Solar+Storage Facilities

A new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory aims to provide a missing metric for what could become one of the fastest-growing segments in the storage market, the pairing of solar power and energy storage.

GTM Research estimates behind-the-meter storage applications will account for 50% of the U.S. storage market by 2021, as measured by megawatts installed, up from about 15% currently.

One of the things missing in that market – and something that could help drive the combination of solar and storage -- has been a ready means for customers to assess their investment, says Eric O'Shaughnessy, one of the authors of the report and a member of NREL’s markets and policy analysis group.

Forbes: A New Battery Could Be as Revolutionary as Fracking, Recent EIA Chief Says

"If somebody invents a battery that really works, that’s going to be revolutionary," former EIA Chief Adam Sieminski told a room packed with students and faculty at the University of Chicago. "It could have the same impact that shale technology had on oil and gas production. So, we’ll look for that one."

He might not have to look far, because the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago recently narrowed the pool of promising battery candidates down to two -- an organic flow battery for grid-level storage and a lithium-sulfur battery for cars and trucks. Lithium-ion batteries have already been marching onto the grid at improved efficiencies and lower costs, but Argonne is looking at improvements leaps beyond.

Microgrid Knowledge: Why Energy Blockchain Intrigues Big Players Like Siemens

Not so long ago energy blockchain technology had the futuristic feel of flying cars or colonies on Mars. But that has changed in recent months as credible players step in to test the transaction platform.

Among them is energy giant Siemens, which formed a partnership in November with a startup, LO3 Energy, to figure out how to make energy blockchain work for a Brooklyn microgrid -- and demonstrate it for the rest of the world.

Microgrid Knowledge recently interviewed Michael Carlson, president of Siemens Digital Grid U.S., for insight into why Siemens -- and now a lot of others in the power industry -- are intrigued by energy blockchain.