The Hindu: India's Solar Power Capacity to Quadruple Next Fiscal Year

India may increase its solar energy capacity fourfold during the next fiscal year ending March 2017, Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Coal, Power and Renewable Energy says.

“Today our solar capacity is about 4,500 MW and the capacity addition target for this year is about 2,000 MW. During 2016-17, we are hoping to add 12,000 MW in the solar sector alone. Thus, including other renewable sources, there will be a total capacity addition of about 15,000 MW during next fiscal” year, he said.

The government is focusing on speed, skill and scale rather than subsidies to drive reforms and progress in the energy sector. The minister said water heaters that ran on solar energy had subsidy components some years ago.

Bloomberg: Coal Glut, Renewables Make EU Power Cheapest in Decade

Record-low coal prices and increased wind and solar generation that pushed European power prices to their lowest in a decade may cause further declines in 2016.

Average day-ahead electricity prices in Germany, Europe’s biggest market, fell 3.3 percent to 31.68 euros ($34.62) per megawatt-hour in 2015, the least since 2004 on the Epex Spot SE exchange in Paris. Northwest Europe coal fell 33 percent while the share of Germany’s energy demand met by renewable output increased by four percentage points to 30 percent, according to preliminary figures by utility lobby BDEW.

Vox: Electric Car Subsidies Are Hated by Economists, Loved by Activists. Why?

Earlier this month, over at the Energy Institute at Haas, economist James Bushnell had an interesting post on the way economists and climate hawks clash on the subject of electric cars. It also offered a window into broader clashes between those groups.

As Bushnell points out, economic research is generally not supportive of current subsidies for electric vehicles (EVs). It finds that the environmental benefits of EVs are, for now at least, marginal, and worth less than the subsidies paid for them. Current subsidies are also regressive, going primarily to upper-income taxpayers.

From the point of view of many economists, this makes electric-car subsidies bad policy. If the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, policy ought to seek out the cheapest reductions first. (And what's the best way to find the cheapest reductions? You guessed it: a price-based instrument like a carbon tax.)

Guardian: Major Offshore Wind Operator Plans £6B U.K. Investment by 2020

Dong Energy, the biggest operator of offshore wind farms in Britain, has said it plans to spend a further £6B in the U.K. by 2020, convinced that the government is serious about supporting wind power.

Vattenfall, another significant U.K. wind farm operator, says it too is “optimistic” about 2016 and is hoping to proceed with a turbine testing site off Scotland this summer.

The statements of intent are a major boost to Amber Rudd, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, who has been under fire for cutting subsidies to solar and other low-carbon sectors despite signing up to the Paris climate change accord.

REW: Xcel Energy Doubles Wind Generation Capacity in Power Portfolio

Xcel Energy recently doubled the amount of wind power generating capacity in its portfolio.

The utility in early December acquired the 150 MW Border Wind Farm in Rolette County, North Dakota. In addition, Xcel Energy’s 200 MW Pleasant Valley Wind Farm in Austin, Minn. came on-line in November.

“Adding these two wind farms to our system is a significant step forward in our work to cut carbon emissions and shows our commitment to deliver 35 percent renewable energy to our Upper Midwest customers by 2030,” Chris Clark, regional president of Xcel Energy, said in a statement.