Bloomberg: At OPEC, the Saudi Oil Minister Mainly Wants to Discuss Solar Power

Everybody wants to know what the oil minister for Saudi Arabia thinks. These days, it's all about solar power.

He's talking about it. A lot. Perhaps more than ever before. And some people in Saudi Arabia say it's for real this time. This matters, because it shows just how much renewable power is disrupting the traditional energy industry that's dominated for more than a century.

MIT: Team Designs Peer-to-Peer System to Enable Local Power-Sharing

An estimated 1.3 billion people around the world lack access to electricity, and as a result spend scarce resources on kerosene and other fuels for lighting. Now MIT researchers have developed a system to enable those in rural villages who can afford solar panels to share power with their neighbors, providing both income for the owners and much-needed power for the neighbors.

The key to the system, developed over two years of research and numerous trips to India, lies in a simple device the team developed that is smaller than a shoebox. The power management unit performs a variety of tasks, regulating how electricity from solar panels or other sources gets directed to immediate uses -- such as powering lights and cellphone -- or to batteries for later use.

Star Tribune: Regulators Give Green Light to Largest Minnesota Solar Energy Project

The biggest solar power project in Minnesota won approval Thursday from state regulators.

The $250 million Aurora Solar Project by Edina-based Geronimo Energy calls for the installation of ground-mounted solar panels at 21 mostly rural sites from Chisago County north of the Twin Cities to Waseca in southeast Minnesota. Geronimo plans to finish the project in 2016 and sell the power to Xcel Energy.

“This signals that something big is happening in solar energy in Minnesota,” said Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, a St. Paul nonprofit that advocates greater reliance on renewable energy.

Science Magazine: Mystery Company Blazes a Trail in Fusion Energy

Of the handful of startup companies trying to achieve fusion energy via nontraditional methods, Tri Alpha Energy Inc. has always been the enigma. Publishing little and with no website, but apparently sitting on a cash pile in the hundreds of millions, the Foothill Ranch, California-based company has been the subject of intense curiosity and speculation.

But last month Tri Alpha lifted the veil slightly with two papers revealing that its device, dubbed the colliding beam fusion reactor, has shown a tenfold improvement in its ability to contain the hot particles needed for fusion over earlier devices at U.S. universities and national labs.

ClimateWire: How Vermont Dairies Keep the Lights On With 'Cow Power'

David Dunn is no stranger to poop jokes. In fact, for Dunn, as the manager of a program that converts cow manure into energy, they are an occupational hazard.

"One [person] likened my name, Dunn, to cow dung. Another called me the King of Crap, the Prince of Poo and the Sultan of Shit," he explained.

The name-calling may be in good fun, but Dunn's work is serious business. Currently, the Cow Power Program at Green Mountain Power in Rutland, Vt., which he leads, provides electricity for 2,500 customers from large quantities of anaerobically digested manure.