Mashable: Google Will Soon Send Solar-Powered Drones Into the Sky
Google is getting closer to officially launching its solar-powered drone program Project Titan and will send its first fleet into the sky sometime this year.
Sundar Pichai, the senior vice president at Google who oversees Android, Chrome and Google apps, took to the stage Monday at Mobile World Congress to outline how the company is working on three big programs aimed at connecting some of the 4 billion people currently without internet access.
Pichai said Project Titan will fly lightweight solar-powered airplanes to serve as remote satellites. The company -- which acquired Titan in 2014, following rumors that Facebook was pursuing the startup -- will use the drones to hover above certain areas and supply connectivity to locations below. It could also serve spots that have been kicked offline due to natural disasters.
Reuters: Spain's Iberdrola to Buy UIL Holdings for Around $3 Billion
Spanish utility Iberdrola SA will buy UIL Holdings Corp for about $3 billion to create a new listed power and gas company and expand in the United States, where it hopes to offset falling profits at home.
A world leader in wind turbines, Iberdrola joins other European companies seeking to grow via acquisitions outside sluggish domestic markets. Last year, German engineer Siemens agreed to buy U.S. turbine maker Dresser-Rand.
Iberdrola's earnings have been hit hard by Europe's economic crisis, as well as by energy reforms in Spain, where new power generation taxes and renewable cutbacks dented profits.
ClimateWire: California Bill Would Boost Green Power by Expanding Access to Utility Competitors
The biggest electricity users in California could buy power from a seller other than one of the three big utilities under legislation offered yesterday, which was framed as a way to expand renewable energy.
S.B. 286 from Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D) would lift a limit on the share of the Golden State's electricity market that can participate in a program called "direct access," where electricity customers contract with an energy service provider. The portion that could participate last year was capped at about 12 percent of statewide electrical demand.
Hertzberg said eliminating the cap would allow more businesses to take part in a system that's benefiting customers like Google and the University of California. He added that the legislation would allow energy users to reduce energy costs, make the state more business-friendly and increase access to renewable energy.
ValueWalk: Tesla Motors Inc Supercharger Network Grows To 2000 Worldwide
Tesla Motors Inc., in yet another milestone, has now installed a total of 2,000 superchargers around the world. These chargers are located at 400 different supercharger stations on four different continents. In the year 2014, the network expanded by approximately five times, and the goal is to double the figure in 2015.
In a blog post, the EV manufacturer noted the status of its fast-charging and state-of-the-art infrastructure network. Tesla’s supercharger network now runs from the East Coast of the U.S. to the West Coast, from the U.K. to continental Europe, from Southern China to Northern China, across the most densely populated parts of Europe, and throughout Japan and Australia. The company further noted that the supercharger is now the fastest-growing and largest fast-charging network in the world.
Gulf News: First Global Solar Flight Plans to Take Off on Saturday
The first solar flight on a global trip may take off from Abu Dhabi on Saturday (March 7), subject to weather conditions.
As part of the preparations for the planned takeoff, the two Swiss pilots successfully completed a training flight on Monday morning in Abu Dhabi, according to an executive of Solar Impulse, the organization that made the solar flight Solar Impulse-2 (Si2).
Si-2 will fly day and night, and land in 12 locations across the world in its five-month-long journey to promote renewable energy. They will travel 35,000 kilometers in the first attempt to fly around the globe without using a drop of fuel.
National Journal: Scientists Link Syrian War to Climate Change
Before civil war engulfed Syria, the Middle Eastern nation suffered through a punishing drought.
That drought -- Syria's worst in recorded history -- helped create a powder keg of civil and political unrest that erupted into violent conflict during the spring of 2011. And according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, climate change was likely a catalyst of the bone-dry conditions that played a role in the advent of the Syrian civil war.
"The severity of the drought, which was made more likely by climate change, added to other stressors, led to the unraveling of Syrian society," said Richard Seager, an author of the study and a climate scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.