Bloomberg: Defective Panels Threatening Profit at China Solar Farms

Flaws found in some Chinese solar panels can drastically eat into their efficiency, reducing how much power the panels will produce as the country races to meet aggressive goals to hold the line on fossil fuel emissions.

The defects, found in products set to be used only in China, are in a coating that suppresses reflections on glass, allowing the panels to capture more light. About 23 percent of samples taken from dozens of Chinese companies failed to meet requirements, according to regulators in China. For samples from Jiangsu, the eastern province where much of the glass is made, the rate was as high as 40 percent.

Reuters: U.S. Trade Ruling Opens Way to Import Duties on Chinese Solar Products

The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Wednesday imports of solar products from China and Taiwan injure U.S. producers, clearing the final hurdle for import duties and prompting China to express "serious concerns."

ITC commissioners voted in favor of the complaint brought by the U.S. arm of German solar manufacturer SolarWorld AG in a bid to close a loophole that let Chinese producers sidestep duties imposed in 2012.

BBC: BP Chief Executive Says Oil Prices 'Low for Up to 3 Years'

The boss of oil giant BP, Bob Dudley, has said that oil prices could remain low for up to three years.

He added that could send U.K. petrol prices below £1 per liter.

He told BBC Business editor Kamal Ahmed in Davos that BP was planning for low oil prices for years to come.

That is expected to lead to job losses and falling investment in the North Sea oil industry and elsewhere, curbing supply and eventually forcing the price back up.

Huffington Post: Why It's Taking the U.S. So Long to Make Fusion Energy Work

Fusion scientists make an incredible proposition: We can power our cities, they say, with miniature, vacuum-sealed stars. According to those who study it, the benefits of fusion power, if it ever came to fruition, would be enormous. It requires no carbon drawn from the ground. Its fuel -- hydrogen harvested from seawater -- is inexhaustible. It emits no gases that warm the planet. And unlike its cousin fission, which is currently used in nuclear power plants, fusion produces little radioactive waste, and what it does produce can be recycled by the reactor.

The only hurdle, as many U.S. physicists tell it, is the billions of dollars needed before the first commercially viable watt of power is produced. Researchers lament the fact that the U.S. hasn't articulated a date for when it hopes to have fusion go on-line, while China and South Korea have set timetables to put fusion on-line in the 2040s.

Times Union: GE Scaling Back Its Battery Plant

General Electric Co. says it is dialing down production and headcount at its Durathon battery plant in Schenectady in the next few months and moving a “significant portion” of hourly workers at the plant to its steam turbine and generator operations nearby.

The move impacts roughly 400 jobs, although GE says there will be no layoffs.

The move appears to indicate GE has concerns about its energy storage enterprise, which had been considered a $1 billion business only two years ago.

GE said in a statement Tuesday that the market for its batteries is still “evolving” and customers are still evaluating the technology.

AP: TransCanada Takes Steps to Acquire Keystone Pipeline Land

The developer of the Keystone XL oil pipeline made good on its promise Tuesday to try to seize access to the Nebraska land it needs to finish the project -- the first steps it's taken since the state's high court removed a major legal barrier.

TransCanada employees said the company filed legal papers in nine Nebraska counties to invoke eminent domain for the land that's needed to construct, operate and maintain the pipeline. The filings come just before the company's two-year window closes Thursday.