Miami Herald: Mystery Surrounds Largest Donor to Florida Solar Ballot Initiative

The biggest donor yet to a solar power ballot initiative backed by utility companies is a group that has never given campaign donations before in Florida and will not disclose its supporters.

A group calling itself “Let’s Preserve the American Dream” gave $200,000 to the utility-backed Consumers for Smart Solar, which was created seven months after a group supported by solar power companies and environmental organizations created Floridians for Solar Choice.

It’s the latest turn of events in the duel between two solar power initiatives with very different goals. Floridians for Solar Choice -- which is backed by solar power companies and the League of Women Voters -- wants to let out-of-state solar power companies sell solar power to homeowners and businesses in Florida, contending that the state’s existing utilities are not doing enough to promote that form of energy.

Washington Post: How Super-Low Natural Gas Prices Are Shaping the Way We Get Power

Oil isn’t the only fossil fuel that is selling at quite cheap levels at the moment, at least in the United States.

This week, U.S. natural gas prices plunged briefly below $2 per million Btu (British thermal units), lower than they have been since early 2012. It’s part of a long-term price drop that is closely tied to the fracking and shale gas boom, but also more immediately to high levels of natural gas storage and warm weather.

Meanwhile, Duke Energy, the nation’s single-largest utility company by market capitalization, purchased Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion, paying a premium for the natural gas distributor.

The two overlapping stories hint at one of the most important consequences of the natural-gas glut -- it’s already changing not only what we pay to heat our homes in winter but also how we get electricity across the board.

Business Standard: Tesla May Set Up Battery Unit in India

Tesla founder Elon Musk has said the company might set up a Gigafactory in India to make lithium-ion batteries. “Given the high local demand, a Gigafactory in India would probably make sense in the long term,” Musk tweeted.

The plan, if it materializes, will give a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to get Tesla to share battery technology for powering homes in rural India.

During his visit to the Tesla campus in Silicon Valley last month, Modi had discussed with Musk the potential of setting up a battery-making facility, as well as initiatives in other renewable energy technologies, to address India’s power woes. Modi has set an ambitious target of generating 100 GW of solar power by 2022.

Business Insider: China and Japan are Battling Over the Future of Electric Cars

Asia's two auto powerhouses, Japan and China, are jostling for supremacy in how future electric cars should generate their power -- from batteries or hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

In a potentially high-stakes clash reminiscent of Sony versus Panasonic in the Beta-VHS video war in the 1980s, the winner could enjoy years of domination if its technology is adopted as a global standard by other manufacturers.

Charleston Gazette-Mail: West Virginia Governor Will Submit Clean Power Plan Blueprint

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin intends to submit a plan for West Virginia to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in compliance with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, bucking calls from state and national Republicans to ignore the environmental regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan requires each state to cut carbon emissions from power plants by a certain amount, but leaves it to states to decide how to reach those goals. If states do not submit plans, they are threatened with the federal government implementing a plan for them, likely some sort of carbon cap-and-trade system.

Republicans, most prominently Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have called on governors across the country to refuse to submit state plans. Tomblin said West Virginia would not follow that advice.