AZ Central: Whistleblower Alleges Wrongdoing at Arizona Agency

A staffer at the Arizona Corporation Commission alleges he was offered a promotion if he kept silent about a Republican regulator's behind-the-scenes activities.

That allegation is one of several against former Commissioner Gary Pierce, who retired at the end of December, in a seven-page whistleblower letter written by a former executive assistant, who is now listed as a supervisor at the commission.

The letter was sent last Friday to the ACC and the Arizona Attorney General's office. It was obtained independently by 12 News, but did not contain the whistleblower's name. 12 News has verified the identity of the staffer who filed the complaint.

SolarServer: SunEdison, GRID Alternatives Announce Major Solar Workforce Initiative

SunEdison and GRID Alternatives are launching a two-year initiative called RISE to connect the solar industry's growing demand for skilled workers with communities that need jobs, and to build a more inclusive solar workforce.

Building on the successful 2014 SunEdison and GRID Alternatives partnership to bring more women into the solar industry, the RISE initiative will provide underserved communities with solar job training and job placement through GRID Alternatives' workforce development program. The $5 million contribution is both financial and in the form of solar PV panels.

PV Tech: U.S. Industry Ready for ‘Bare-Knuckle Brawl’ to Save Solar Tax Credit

The U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has responded angrily to an attack on solar by a conservative think tank, saying it is ready for a "bare-knuckle brawl" if necessary.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance published a report last week entitled Filling the Solar Sinkhole: Billions of Bucks Have Delivered Too Little Bang, which cited the danger of expanding the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and warned of an intense lobbying effort off the back of its inclusion in President Obama’s budget proposal. The ITC is set to fall from 30% to 10% at the end of 2016 but a reprieve has been floated by the president.

National Journal: Oil Price Drop Won’t Derail Climate Push, Says White House

Don't worry: The drop in oil prices is helping the U.S. economy without hamstringing the administration's drive to cut carbon emissions.

That's one conclusion of a broad new Council of Economic Advisers report released Thursday morning that takes stock of the nation's oil-and-gas boom and of policies aimed at driving up the use of green energy and reducing petroleum demand.

Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, put it like this in an interview: "You look [at] the Clean Power Plan, the fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles, and the range of other steps that the administration has taken on climate change, and they massively outweigh any change in carbon emissions that would result from changes in prices."

EurActive: Energy Union Looks to Create Capacity Markets to Boost Idle Plants

The European Commission’s overhaul of the EU electricity market will target national public support for renewables, while encouraging governments to pay energy companies in other member states for idle power stations.

Capacity mechanisms reward power companies -- mainly gas and coal stations -- for the amount of power they can produce, rather than by buying the energy they actually generate.

New legislation on capacity markets is part of the executive’s plan to create an EU-wide Energy Union, according to a paper leaked ahead of next week’s official launch of the project.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Jellyfish Attacks on Nuclear Power Plants Could Increase

Nuclear power plants increasingly face a new enemy: the humble jellyfish.

These aquatic animals -- and algae and other plants -- get caught in and block the cooling water intake pipes of nuclear power plants, preventing nuclear reactors from getting the huge amount of water they need every day to cool their reactor cores and associated equipment.

Usually, screens prevent aquatic life and similar debris from being drawn into the power plants’ cooling system. But when sufficiently large volumes of jellyfish or other aquatic life are pulled in, they block the screens, reducing the volume of water coming in and forcing the reactor to shut down.