Bloomberg: How to Make Electricity in a Disused Coal Mine

A coal mine that powered German industry for almost half a century will get a new lease on life when it’s turned into a giant battery that stores excess solar and wind energy.

The state of North-Rhine Westphalia is set to turn its Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine into a 200-megawatt pumped-storage hydroelectric reservoir, which acts like a battery and will have enough capacity to power more than 400,000 homes, said state governor Hannelore Kraft. The town of Bottrop, where people worked the 600-meter-deep mine (1,969 feet deep) since 1974, will keep playing a role in providing uninterrupted power for the country, she said.

Renewable Energy World: In Virginia Push for Pumped Storage Hydro, Questions Arise About Viability

In a bid to boost the economy in Virginia’s coalfield region, legislation to be signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe seeks to spur the development of pumped storage hydro electric power plants using water from abandoned coal mines.

While the companion bills in both the Senate and House of Delegates drew virtually unanimous support from both chambers, researchers, coal reclamation experts and even some renewable energy advocates say the idea is still unproven. While pumped storage facilities exist in Virginia and elsewhere, no plant drawing water from abandoned coal mines has been built anywhere in the world.

Linda Church Ciocci, executive director of the National Hydropower Association, said a recently licensed pumped storage project in Southern California by Eagle Crest Energy intends to draw on water from an abandoned mine east of Palm Springs and may bode well for similar approaches in Virginia.

Solar Daily: Revealing the Microscopic Mechanisms in Perovskite Solar Cells

A material with the perovskite crystal structure has become very popular for solar cells. While most perovskites are inorganic compounds, this new material is a hybrid of relatively inexpensive organic and inorganic materials. In just a few short years, researchers have achieved remarkable power conversion efficiency with these perovskites, comparable with the best photovoltaic materials available.

Now, researchers from Japan have revealed the physics for how an important component of a perovskite solar cell works -- a finding that could lead to improved solar cells or even newer and better materials. They describe their experiments in this week's issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters, from AIP publishing.

Forbes: Electric Cars Are Morphing Into Many Species

Small electric vehicles, also known as light electric vehicles (LEVs), are emerging as a result of increasing traffic congestion, poor air quality, and lack of transportation options around the world.

In contrast to most internal-combustion engine cars, small electric vehicles occupy less space and provide flexibility in travel and parking. Increasing urbanization, and a desire to move away from full-sized cars, are opening up the small electric vehicle market, including low-speed EVs and electric-powered 2- and 3-wheel vehicles.

In China, the most populous nation that could really benefit from EVs, the number of small electric vehicles is exploding as more consumers are demanding low-cost, fully enclosed vehicles that can actually carry cargo relative to 2-wheelers.

Alt Energy Stocks: 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2017

Earnings season began in earnest in February.  My 10 Clean Energy Stocks model portfolio gave back a little of its large January gains because a mix of good and bad earnings mostly offset each other. One pick (Seaspan Preferred) gave back its large January gains. Neither the original gain nor the loss were driven by news. Instead, they seemed driven by investors changing expectations for global trade in an uncertain political environment.

For the year to March 17, the portfolio and its income and growth subportfolios were all up 7.7%, 8.8% and 5.4%. Clean energy stocks in general also did well, with my three respective benchmarks up 7.0%, 6.6% and 8.0%.  (I use the YieldCo ETF YLCO as a benchmark for the income stocks, the Clean Energy ETF PBW as a benchmark for the growth stocks, and an 80/20 blend of the two as a benchmark for the whole portfolio.)  The Green Global Equity Income Portfolio (GGEIP), an income- and green-focused strategy I manage, returned 6.7%.