Four years after the Block Island project first put wind turbines in American waters, the second U.S. offshore wind farm is about to rise 30 miles off Virginia Beach, and it’s happening in the middle of a pandemic.

With two turbines, the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is tiny; and with a price tag of $300 million, it’s expensive for a generation facility of its size. But Dominion sees the 12-megawatt Coastal Virginia pilot as a critical stepping-stone to its planned multi-gigawatt offshore wind empire in the Mid-Atlantic region, says Mark Mitchell, the utility’s head of generation projects.

After years of permitting and preparation, the installation of the turbines and their foundations

Siemens Gamesa on Tuesday launched the largest wind turbine ever publicly announced, a 14-megawatt model with a 222-meter rotor diameter meant for offshore wind farms.

Morten Pilgaard Rasmussen, head of technology at Siemens Gamesa, told GTM the company expects to confirm its first orders for the new turbine soon, with offers already out to a number of "global" offshore wind developers.

The launch puts Siemens Gamesa back in first place in the rankings for largest offshore turbines on the market. GE revealed its 12-megawatt Haliade-X platform in 2018 and secured its first orders the following year.

A 14-megawatt version of GE's Haliade-X has

For years, utilities have been offering discounts and rebates on smart thermostats to customers willing to turn them over to air conditioning load-shifting programs that reduce peak loads on hot summer afternoons. 

But there’s a big difference between discounts and straight-up free thermostat giveaways. At least that’s what Michigan utility Consumers Energy is hoping. 

On Tuesday, Consumers announced it has started giving away up to 100,000 Google Nest E thermostats to customers in a bid to boost energy efficiency as part of its 50 percent clean energy by 2030 goals. In exchange, customers must agree to let energy services provider Uplight remotely control their thermostats to reduce air conditioner loads up to four

Onshore wind is now the leading renewable energy technology in the U.S., and it's still knocking competitors out of the way. Last year wind overtook hydropower in total generation, and 2020 is on track to be a record year for new wind farm construction.

But all other energy sources are losing ground to solar these days, wind included. Solar accounted for 40 percent of new U.S. generation capacity in 2019, its largest share in history. After 2020, solar's lead over wind will widen rapidly in the U.S. market, Wood Mackenzie forecasts.

Large-scale solar is already cost competitive with wind in many states, and analysts

Pacific Gas & Electric has asked California regulators to approve seven battery projects totaling 423 megawatts, or nearly 1.7 gigawatt-hours of energy storage capacity, to meet its share of a statewide procurement that must be brought online by late next year to assure statewide grid stability. 

PG&E’s 2020 System Reliability Request for Offers, filed Monday with the California Public Utilities Commission, represents a huge new addition to the utility's battery fleet to meet the state’s resource adequacy (RA) needs starting in 2021. It’s the second major procurement from a California utility meant to comply with the CPUC’s order for 3.3 gigawatts of carbon-free resources to help meet grid reliability needs that will arise

Onshore wind is now the leading renewable energy technology in the U.S., and it's still knocking competitors out of the way. Last year wind overtook hydropower in total generation, and 2020 is on track to be a record year for new wind farm construction.

But all other energy sources are losing ground to solar these days, wind included. Solar accounted for 40 percent of new U.S. generation capacity in 2019, its largest share in history. After 2020, solar's lead over wind will widen rapidly in the U.S. market, Wood Mackenzie forecasts.

Large-scale solar is already cost competitive with wind in many states, and analysts

Germany's coalition government has ended an internal dispute that had threatened to eliminate as many as 20,000 jobs in the country's solar industry.

The government has now lifted a cap on its support for the smaller solar installations that dominate the country's market.

Under Germany's current system, solar systems smaller than 750 kilowatts receive energiewende feed-in tariffs, known as EEG payments. But the payments were on course to end for new projects when the country's cumulative solar capacity hit 52 gigawatts, which is expected this summer. That would have forced new systems to sell their excess power on the open market, making many uneconomic.

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