Climate Central: Study Sees Ecological Risks as Solar Expands

A study published Monday shows that solar power developers in California have been using mostly undeveloped desert lands with sensitive wildlife habitat as sites for new solar power installations rather than building on less sensitive, previously developed open lands.

The study, by the Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University, shows the ecological footprint of solar power development could grow to more than 27,500 square miles -- roughly the land area of South Carolina -- if the U.S. were to adopt a more ambitious climate goal. When thousands of solar panels are built in undeveloped natural areas, the panels crowd out wildlife and destroy their habitats.

Washington Examiner: Probe Into EPA's Biofuels Standard

The battle over the Renewable Fuel Standard is heating up a little more than a month before the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to reduce the amount of biofuel required in gasoline and as an investigation begins into the agency's handling of the law.

On Nov. 30, the EPA is expected to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard, the annual requirement for refiners to blend corn-based ethanol and other biofuels into gasoline and diesel, for 2014, 2015 and 2016 from what Congress initially required.

The final rule is being challenged. On Wednesday, California's congressional contingent called for the EPA to reject its proposed rule and instead increase the amount of biofuels required to be put into gasoline.

Inside Climate News: Bill McKibben Wants Everyone to Know Why He's So Mad at Exxon

Climate activist Bill McKibben has already written editorials about recent revelations that ExxonMobil had deep knowledge of climate change as far back as the 1970s. He had taken to social media to spread the word. But last week, he felt that wasn't enough and decided to protest and get himself arrested at an ExxonMobil station in Burlington, Vermont.

That's how angry McKibben was that the energy giant had known for four decades that burning fossil fuels was changing the earth's climate -- and then chose to ignore it and fund efforts to deny it.

RMI Outlet: Hawaii Just Ended Net Metering for Solar. Now What?

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued a ruling ending net energy metering (NEM) for all new solar customers in the state. Now, new customers will have a choice to make between two new tariffs: a "grid-supply" option and a "self-supply" option. Neither is as favorable to solar PV as the net energy metering tariffs of today.

There is plenty of concern that this change will shrink Hawaii’s rooftop solar market, negatively impacting low- and middle-income customers in particular. These concerns are real. Grid-connected solar under the new tariff will be less valuable than it currently is; although, with export compensation still at $0.15 to $0.28 per kilowatt hour under the export option, solar is still a smart investment in nearly all of Hawaii.

However, these new tariffs could open the door for technology and business models that leverage demand flexibility and battery storage.

New York Magazine: Marco Rubio’s Ideas About Climate and Energy Are Terrifyingly Stupid

Marco Rubio delivered a speech on Friday explaining his energy policy. Actually, “explaining” might be giving Rubio too much credit. It would be more accurate to say that Rubio stated, or uttered, his energy policy. Rubio’s speech served to communicate his complete fealty to the most mindless iteration of drill-baby-drill extractivism.

And despite its extreme simplicity, Rubio’s argument for burning every carbon molecule that can be found, as quickly as possible, lacks the benefit of internal coherence. The speech is a persuasive demonstration of the irresponsibility of electing a figure as callow as Rubio to the presidency.