The Times-Picayune: Thousands in Limbo as Louisiana's Solar Tax Credits Dwindle

Michele Eichhorn thought she was making a wise investment in April when she and her husband opted to buy solar panels for their family home in River Ridge. She felt a sense of pride when she first saw sun glinting off the panels on her rooftop.

Today, she looks up and feels duped.

Eichhorn's family is among hundreds across Louisiana thrust into financial limbo after the state Department of Revenue warned in July it has run out of money to fund tax credits once meant to promote solar purchases.

It's been a year since Louisiana lawmakers decided to cap the solar tax credit program in the face of worsening budget woes. Not only did lawmakers impose a cap, they also widened it to cover to everyone who purchased solar in 2015, including those who bought their systems well before any changes were proposed.

Yale Environment 360: The New Green Grid

The tens of thousands of tons of natural gas that surged into the Southern California sky late last year were supposed to have fueled the region’s power plants and heated its homes. Instead, the massive leak at the Aliso Canyon storage site left California electricity providers racing to replace the lost supplies to avoid blackouts and recurring outages in the coming months.

But Los Angeles area utilities aren’t solely seeking more fossil fuels to fill the gap in natural gas. They are also turning to “virtual power plants”: sprawling networks of independent batteries, solar panels, and energy-efficient buildings that are tied together and remotely controlled by software and data systems. The goal of these virtual power plants is to collectively reduce customers’ energy demand at peak hours and provide renewable energy supplies in targeted areas. This would allow utilities to offset some of the needs for power from conventional sources and avoid disruption on the grid.

Deutsche Welle: How Eco-Friendly Are Electric Cars?

They do not emit climate-damaging CO2 or health-harming nitrogen oxide. They do not make any noise, and they are very easy to operate. Electric vehicles seem to have a lot of advantages over cars that run on gasoline or diesel. It is easy to see how they come in handy for the German government to reach its aim of a 40 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 1994. By then, there are to be 1 million electric cars on German roads, according to the government's plans.

However, the math has not been working out. With less than four years to go, there are only 50,000 electric cars registered in Germany. And they are barely having any impact on the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Reuters: Under Tesla's Wing, SolarCity's Future Is Uncertain

After four rocky years as a publicly traded company in the volatile renewable energy sector, SolarCity may now be wading into an equally uncertain future.

With a tentative agreement to be purchased by its sister company, Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity is going all in on a strategy that some analysts say is ahead of its time: pairing solar systems with the automaker's energy-storage batteries. The company has also said it will seek to build more solar systems for utilities -- a part of the market in which SolarCity has limited experience.

InsideClimate News: Massachusetts' Ambitious Clean Energy Bill Jolts Offshore Wind Prospects

Doubling down on its commitment to renewable energy, the Massachusetts legislature overwhelmingly passed a new energy measure that would create the nation's most ambitious offshore wind energy target.

The bill, approved in the final hours of the legislative session Sunday night, would require local utilities to get 1,600 megawatts of their combined electricity from wind farms far offshore -- roughly equivalent to three average-sized coal-fired power plants. The law requires the utilities to line up contracts for that energy by 2027. They also would have to arrange for even more clean energy from other sources, including hydropower, by 2022. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, is expected to sign it.

There's about 1,800 megawatts of renewable energy (mostly solar) currently installed in Massachusetts.