Bloomberg: Former Google Vice President Starts a Company Promising Clean and Safe Nuclear Energy

Mike Cassidy, who was formerly vice president at Alphabet's X research lab and headed Project Loon, its high-altitude balloon-based internet access initiative, is ready to try the nuclear option.

Though Cassidy remains an adviser at Google, he has quietly started a new company, Apollo Fusion. On Friday, a website for the firm, which previously consisted only of a definition of the phrase “nuclear fusion,” was updated to include a vision statement that gives a tantalizing peek into Cassidy's plans.

“We're working on revolutionary hybrid reactor technology with fusion power to serve safe, clean and affordable electricity to everyone,” reads the site. “Apollo Fusion power plants are designed for zero-consequence outcomes to loss of cooling or loss of control scenarios and they cannot melt down.”

Guardian: Renewables Cut Europe's Carbon Emissions by 10% in 2015, Says EEA

A surge in the use of wind and solar energy helped Europe to cut its fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by about 10% in 2015, an authoritative new report has found.

Energy use from renewables rose to 16.7% of Europe’s total, up from 15% in 2013, and accounted for 77% of the continent’s new power capacity.

But the clean energy burst is still not moving fast enough to prevent a “lock-in” of already-commissioned fossil fuel capacity, which will otherwise transform into stranded assets.

It was also unevenly spread across Europe, with renewables expanding to take up 30% of the power load in many Scandinavian countries, but only 5% in Malta.

Vox: Here’s What Optimistic Liberals Get Wrong About Trump and Climate Change

Right after Donald Trump won the election, a number of observers worried that having a climate denier in the White House would be a crushing setback for efforts to tackle global warming. Here’s a sample hyperventilating headline from, uh, me: “There’s no way around it: Donald Trump looks like a disaster for the planet.”

Since then, though, there’s been a bunch of optimistic reappraisals suggesting that perhaps not all is lost. The U.S., these optimists point out, is in the midst of an unstoppable clean-energy transition, with coal in decline and natural gas, wind and solar on the rise. Power plant emissions are plummeting faster than anyone expected. States like California and New York are pursuing serious climate policies, as are countries like China. Even under Trump, this will all continue. Hence the hope. As Bloomberg put it, “Trump Can’t Stop the Energy Revolution.”

So who’s right -- the pessimists or the optimists? Both make decent points. But it’s worth taking time to square the two views, to understand what’s really at stake in the Trump era.

Crain's Detroit Business: A123 Systems to Close Romulus Plant, Build $40 Million Headquarters in Novi

A123 Systems LLC plans to build a $40 million headquarters in Novi as it prepares to wind down lithium-ion battery cell production.

The new facility, located on a 32-acre site near the Fountain Walk complex near I-96 and the Twelve Oaks Mall, will house a 150,000-square-foot campus including its corporate headquarters, more laboratory space and a battery assembly plant, the company said Monday in a news release. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year with a completion date by the end of 2018.

The investment comes at the expense of its cell production plant in Romulus, which will close as a result of the new build, CEO Jason Forcier said. The Romulus plant has a production capacity of 4 million battery cells, but produced fewer than 1 million annually, he said.

Utility Dive: The Top 5 States for Utility Grid Modernization and Business Model Reform

As utilities face the rise of distributed resources and face stagnant load growth, a number of states are looking to alter the traditional sector business model through regulatory dockets.

Under the traditional model, utilities make a rate of return for investments in the bulk power system -- plants, transmission lines and the like. But those revenues can be threatened in a world where customer efficiency and DER adoption slows load growth.

In response, a number of jurisdictions have adopted regulatory approaches to expand utility earning opportunities and broaden DER adoption through non-wires alternatives, data sharing and other initiatives. New York and California have long held the nation’s spotlight for their efforts, but other states are following suit.