New York Times: Piles of Dirty Secrets Behind a Model ‘Clean Coal’ Project

The fortress of steel and concrete towering above the pine forest here is a first-of-its-kind power plant that was supposed to prove that “clean coal” was not an oxymoron -- that it was possible to produce electricity from coal in a way that emits far less pollution, and to turn a profit while doing so.

The plant was not only a central piece of the Obama administration’s climate plan, it was also supposed to be a model for future power plants to help slow the dangerous effects of global warming. The project was hailed as a way to bring thousands of jobs to Mississippi, the nation’s poorest state, and to extend a lifeline to the dying coal industry.

The sense of hope is fading fast, however. The Kemper coal plant is more than two years behind schedule and more than $4 billion over its initial budget, $2.4 billion, and it is still not operational.

Climate Home: Offshore Wind Costs Hit Record Low

Dong Energy has set a record-low price for offshore wind power in a winning bid to build two arrays off the coast of the Netherlands.

The Danish company committed to supply electricity at €72.70/MWh (US$80.40), not including transmission costs. The cables will add about €14/MWh, experts say.

That beats an industry goal of bringing costs below €100/MWh by 2020. The closest any rival had previously come was €103/MWh, achieved by Vattenfall in Denmark last year.

Las Vegas Sun: MGM Resorts Expands Solar Array, Now Nation's Largest

The nation’s largest rooftop solar array is now on the Las Vegas Strip.

After expanding a rooftop solar array atop the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, MGM Resorts International announced on Wednesday that its roughly 26,000 solar panels that span 28 acres set a record as the largest rooftop array in the United States.

At full production, the system will provide Mandalay Bay 25 percent of its energy.

MIT Technology Review: The Internet of Things Could Keep Dirty Coal Plants in Business

GE released its digital power plant system for gas plants last fall and for coal plants in June. For legacy coal plants, the company says, the technology can increase efficiency (in terms of the available energy in the fuel that’s captured for electricity production) from an average of 33 percent to 49 percent, and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 3 percent. It does so by optimizing fuel combustion, “tuning” the plant according to the properties of the coal being burned, adjusting the oxygen flow in the boiler, and by reducing downtime due to equipment outages. GE is one of several big companies, including IBM, Siemens, and Schneider Electric, that now offer some form of digitization for big power plants, including both renewable and fossil fuel plants.

Utilities have been looking at harnessing the “internet of things” for a decade, says Tim Riordan, vice president of engineering services for American Electric Power, but only recently has the technology advanced enough to justify the investment.

Forbes: Can the Modern Environmental Movement Save Nuclear Energy In California?

Could the protests held against nuclear energy in the 1970s be giving way to the current marches in favor of the carbon-free power source? With the announced closure of Northern California’s Diablo Canyon, the modern environmental movement has sent its foot soldiers to battle. But can they win?

Ever since Pacific Gas & Electric Co. agreed last week to close the state’s one remaining nuclear power plant, there has been a backlash against those environmental groups that have forced the shutdown that would occur in nine years -- a facility that now cranks out 2,160 megawatts of clean energy.