Commercial, Distributed Energy Resources, Industrial, Regulation, Distributed Generation, Solar, Wind  -  September 10, 2016

Weekend reads: Tesla's solar woes; 76-straight days of renewables; 'rolling coal' & more

Every Saturday, we'll bring you five most interesting — or quirky; it is the weekend after all — energy stories from the prior week that you may have missed from around the web. This weekend's reads: 

U.S. companies tout climate policies, fund climate skeptics (Reuters): U.S. companies that have expressed the most fervent public support for President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda are also funding its biggest enemies - the scores of U.S. lawmakers who are climate change skeptics and oppose regulation to combat it, according to a Reuters review of public records. Ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential and congressional elections, the donations from companies including PepsiCo, Dupont, and Google reveal a disconnect between how these companies present themselves to the public on environmental issues, and how they manage their political contributions to support business-friendly policy.

Costa Rica has gone 76 straight days using 100% renewable electricity (Vox): Costa Rica is pulling off a feat most countries just daydream about: For two straight months, the Central American country hasn't burned any fossil fuels to generate electricity. That's right: 100 percent renewable power. This isn't a blip, either. For 300 total days last year and 150 days so far this year, Costa Rica's electricity has come entirely from renewable sources, mostly hydropower and geothermal. Heavy rains have helped four big hydroelectric dams run above their usual capacity, letting the country turn off its diesel generators.

That SolarCity Spread Spells Trouble For Tesla (Bloomberg Gadfly): This is what disbelief looks like: SolarCity's stock now trades almost a fifth below Tesla's (reduced) takeover offer.  The question is: Disbelief in what, exactly? The straightforward explanation for a chart like this is that investors are losing faith in Tesla actually acquiring SolarCity. Why else would you be unwilling to pay more than $18.06 for shares that are, under the terms of the all-stock offer, nominally valued at $22.19 by Tesla?

‘Rolling Coal’ in Diesel Trucks, to Rebel and Provoke (The New York Times): There is a new menace on America's roads: diesel truck drivers who soup up their engines and remove their emissions controls to “roll coal,” or belch black smoke, at pedestrians, cyclists and unsuspecting Prius drivers. Sgt. Chris Worthington of the Montrose Police Department here is out to stop them. "You can hear those trucks across town, driving like idiots," he said on a recent Friday evening patrol. He is among the first law enforcement officers in the country to be trained at "smoke school" to pick up the skills to police the coal rollers.

Shell CEO: Red lights on path to greener energy (Op/ed, USA TODAY): It's no surprise that major oil companies are viewed as contrarians when it comes to climate change, even though all of them acknowledge the phenomenon and agree on the need for a response to one extent or another. After all, keeping temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels will require the world to wean itself off fossil fuels and turn to cleaner forms of energy, hardly an appealing proposition to the financial wellbeing of oil producers. But now the leader of one of the world’s biggest oil companies is telling his peers to accept the role unapologetically.

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