Climate Progress: India Just Upped Its Solar Target Fivefold

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian Cabinet approved increasing the country’s solar target five times to a goal of reaching 100 gigawatts, up from 20 GW, by 2022.

The new solar capacity will be nearly split between residential and large-scale solar projects, with some 40 GW expected to be generated from rooftop installations and the remaining 60 GW coming from larger grid-connected projects, such as solar farms.

Capital: Top Energy Regulator Tied to Bidders for State Work

As New York’s top energy regulator, Audrey Zibelman is in a position to influence a market worth billions of dollars and help set the policy that governs it.

At the same time, Zibelman, who worked in the private sector before Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed her chairwoman of the state Public Service Commission in 2013, has unusually close ties to energy companies vying for work in New York.

Notwithstanding what experts say is an appearance of conflicts, there is no indication that Zibelman, her husband or any of the companies involved have done anything illegal or ethically improper.

Washington Post: Make Clean Energy a Default Setting

Researchers conducted a randomized, controlled trial of individuals who were buying a home electricity contract online. Individuals had the option of choosing a contract with a high or low level of service and whether or not they wanted 100 percent of their power to come from renewable sources.

But here’s where the experiment kicked in: Individuals were randomly assigned to one of two cases. In one case, the box presenting “100 % green” as an “optional choice” was already checked -- meaning, if you did not want green energy you had to actively uncheck it and opt out. In the other case, by contrast, the box was unchecked -- so if you wanted 100 percent green energy you had to actively check it and opt in.

Scientific American: Scientists Capture the Energy of Evaporation to Drive Tiny Engines

Harnessing the power from a fundamental process that’s happening constantly, all over the world, a team of scientists at Columbia University have devised tiny engines powered by evaporation. The devices generate electricity from the energy produced by bacterial spores known as Bacillus subtilis, which exhibit strong mechanical responses to changing relative humidity.

The spores expand when they absorb water and contract when they dry out. By controlling the moisture in the air, produced by evaporation, that the spores are exposed to, the devices grab the energy of these expansions and contractions to drive rotary or piston engines.

Quartz: Why We're Building an Energy Investment Fund to Back Solar in Africa

McKinsey estimates that $835 billion of investment is needed to meet sub-Saharan Africa’s energy needs by 2040.

The near-trillion dollar question is: what kind of power infrastructure should Africa build? Should it replicate the large-scale electricity grids of the developed world, or is there a shorter path to electrifying Africa?