Weekend reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Regulation, Regulation, Solar, Wind  -  May 20, 2017

Weekend reads: EPA preps buyouts; Mercedes teams up on storage; DiCaprio backs efficiency startup & more

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

Renewables Advocates Respond to DOE Grid Report, Fearing Results Are Predetermined (Greentech Media): An alliance of clean energy groups has opted not to wait for the Department of Energy to finish its 60-day study on baseload energy resources before weighing in on the research, which could influence energy markets all across the country. "We thought, 'Let's not wait. Let's file a — we made up a word — a pre-buttal,'" said Abby Ross Hopper, the CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association. "I am concerned about [the study]," she said. "I am concerned it will be a predicate for other things that could be harmful to our industry." 

EPA to set aside $12 million for buyouts in coming months (The Washington Post): The Environmental Protection Agency plans to set aside $12 million for buyouts and early retirements in coming months, as part of an effort to begin "reshaping" the agency's workforce under the Trump administration. In a memo, the EPA's acting chief financial officer, David Bloom, said the move is how the agency plans to spend part of roughly $24 million in "carry-over funds" — essentially, money that was not spent in the previous fiscal year and is rolled over to the current one.

Mercedes-Benz Brings a New Model (of Battery) to U.S. Homes (The New York Times): Vivint Solar, a leading provider of residential rooftop systems, has tried many things over the years to gain an edge on the competition. Now it is hoping that offering customers a Mercedes-Benz for $5,000 to $13,000 will do the trick. But the offer is not for a car from the German automaker. Instead, it is for a sleek battery the size of a mini-fridge that will allow homeowners to take better advantage of the energy their solar power systems produce, whether to cut costs or to maintain a steady source of electricity during power failures.

Bird Radar May Help Reduce Wind Turbine Deaths (Bloomberg): The 200-megawatt Gulf of el Zayt wind warm is testing a system that uses radar to minimize bird-turbine collisions, according to BirdLife International, a U.K.-based conservation group. "There's a bottleneck at the Gulf of Suez, where all the birds pass," BirdLife's Edward Perry said Wednesday in a presentation on the Migratory Soaring Birds Project, at United Nations climate change talks in Bonn, Germany. "This happens to overlap with prime real estate for wind energy farms so there are significant challenges."

Bluon Energy Enlists Leonardo DiCaprio to Boost Energy Efficiency, Tackle Climate Change (Sustainable Brands): California-based startup Bluon Energy, creator of an energy-efficient replacement refrigerant for existing HVAC-R systems, has scored new investors and a board advisor to bolster its awareness and sales. This comes at a time when existing HVAC-R refrigerants used by the majority of the U.S. and the world are becoming obsolete due to federal regulation and global phase-outs.

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