Carbon Brief: U.K. Solar Generation Tops Coal for the First Time

The U.K.’s solar panels have generated more electricity than coal in a full day for the first time ever, Carbon Brief analysis shows.

On Saturday 9 April, solar generated 29 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity, 4% of the total used that day and more than the 21 GWh output from coal (3% of demand). This pattern was repeated on Sunday, with solar (6%) outpacing coal (3%).

The milestone is largely symbolic. Solar output had already started regularly topping coal during the middle of the day. And it has yet to overtake coal across a full week, month or year.

MIT Technology Review: Stalled in the U.S., Solar Thermal Power Finds a New Market in China

Seeing its prospects falter in the United States, solar thermal project developer SolarReserve is teaming up with the world’s largest coal provider to find better prospects for the technology in China.

The company’s deal with Shenhua Group, which calls for 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity to be developed and built in the coming years, could be an important step forward in China’s effort to reduce its dependence on coal-fired power plants for electricity.

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Utilities Boost Investments in Wind, Solar Power

Large U.S. utilities are taking advantage of government subsidies to buy and produce more renewable energy in anticipation of tougher new regulations on carbon emissions.

Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co. and the energy unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. are among the utility companies that are investing more in solar and wind farms and ramping up purchases of clean power, spurred by renewable-energy mandates in more than half the nation’s states and expected federal limits on greenhouse-gas emissions.

Midwest Energy News: Tree Removal for Minnesota Solar Project Prompts Legislative Action

In addition to a countywide moratorium, a controversy over the removal of trees for a Minnesota solar project has prompted an amendment in the state legislature.

The amendment, offered by state Rep. Marion O’Neill, would prohibit solar projects if more than 75 percent of the trees in an area larger than three acres would have to be cut down. The bill to which her amendment was attached cleared the Minnesota House on April 27, though the Senate has yet to take it up.

Bloomberg: Big Oil Unexpectedly Backs Newest Non-Fossil Fuels

Big oil is dipping a few more toes into clean energy.

Exxon Mobil Corp. is partnering with a company to capture carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. Total SA, the French oil supermajor, announced a $1.1 billion deal Monday to buy the battery maker Saft Groupe SA, complementing its 2011 purchase of a majority stake in the solar-panel maker SunPower Corp. And the Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc. announced Tuesday it will pay $218 million for stakes in offshore wind farms as it attempts to double its low-carbon generating capacity.