E&E News: US Government Falls Behind on Efficiency Goals

President Obama's tweaked goals for reducing energy use within federal agencies in the next 10 years will give agencies some space to catch up, the Federal Energy Management Program head said.

The government fell behind some of the goals Obama set for 2016, including cutting the energy use per square foot in federal buildings by 30 percent compared to 2005, or an average of 3 percent per year.

The Federal Energy Management Program helps implement the rules. Director Tim Unruh spoke at an Association of Climate Change Officers roundtable yesterday about the government's overall progress.

Mail & Guardian Africa: Kenya Announces 1-Gigawatt Solar Energy Deal

Kenya's Energy Ministry and Canadiansolarenergy firm SkyPower Global are on course to sign an agreement that paves the way for the Toronto-based company to develop 1 gigawatt of solar power in East Africa’s biggest economy.

The developments will take place over five years in a deal that SkyPower values at $2.2 billion, the company said Friday in a statement.

Kenya currently gets about two-thirds of its electricity from renewable sources, chiefly hydropower and geothermal wells that account for 38% and 25% of supplies, respectively, according to Bloomberg News Energy Finance data. It has no solar developments of that scale to date.

Xconomy: MIT Stealth Spinout, Pi, Charges Up Wireless Power Competition

When you think of wireless power -- the ability to charge a device without a power cord -- most people in Boston think of WiTricity, the MIT spinout that has raised north of $45 million and has partnerships with Toyota and Intel.

But there’s a new kid on the block. Xconomy has learned of a new MIT startup called Pi, which is also pursuing wireless charging. The technology comes out of the lab of professor Dina Katabi at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The company’s co-founders include MIT Sloan School of Management grad John MacDonald, who is currently a research assistant in MIT’s Wireless Center, and CSAIL Ph.D. student Lixin Shi. Word on the street is Pi is about to close a funding round.

City Lab: The Environmentalist Case Against 100% Renewable Energy Plans

Right now, renewable energy accounts for just 13 percent of all U.S. electricity. A significant increase in that share would lead to a major reduction in air pollution and its attendant diseases, not to mention the costs of climate change-induced flooding or wildfires. The lives, time, and property saved could be put to work tackling other social problems.

But it's not entirely clear that a U.S. energy grid based on 100 percent renewables is the best way to achieve a zero-carbon future. On the contrary, there's a strong environmentalist case for approaching that goal with caution. Limiting a zero-carbon future to wind, water and solar means greater costs of storing this energy, discarding other existing zero-carbon sources like nuclear, and generally blanketing the earth with panels and turbines as a means to save it.

Washington Post: Outrage Over EPA Emissions Regulations Fades as States Find Fixes

States’ interest in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan has soared in recent weeks as the agency prepares to reveal the final contours of a proposal that was first announced more than a year ago. Administration officials have been meeting privately for weeks to craft a final version that will withstand legal and legislative challenges. One senior administration official said the revised plan will include provisions that will make it easier for most states to comply.

“The administration has made it clear that there will be changes that will increase flexibility to allow states to meet the standards,” said the official, who insisted on anonymity in discussing ongoing deliberations.

MIT Technology Review: In India’s Hot Summer, the Solar Market Overheats

The land rush in the India solar power market has officially begun. This year, analysts expect India to add 2 gigawatts of solar capacity, more than double the total added in 2014. Under the National Solar Mission, which calls for 100 gigawatts -- about the total electricity capacity of Spain -- of new solar power generation to be built by 2022, the government has begun to auction off 15 gigawatts of solar power projects across the country.

Early results from those auctions are striking. In Madhya Pradesh, Canadian developer Sky Power won the bidding with an offer of 5.05 rupees (about $.07) per kilowatt-hour. That auction, intended to bid out 300 megawatts of solar generation, attracted bids totaling 2,200 megawatts, at rates below 6 rupees per kilowatt-hour.