May 13, 2009 | 5
Duke Energy wants to put a power plant on your house.
Over the next year, the utility plans to spend $50 million to plop a variety of photovoltaic panels on commercial buildings, the roofs of private homes, and other property in North Carolina.
Once installed, the 10 megawatts worth of solar panels are expected to produce enough alternating-current electricity to power 1,300 homes. But the utility’s main goals for the demonstration project are to gain experience with distributed generation—putting the power plant closer to the customer—and with integrating intermittent, renewable resources like sunshine into the grid.
Mar 20, 2009 | 11
International oil giant Shell announced this week that it plans to suspend funding and research into solar and wind alternatives to fossil fuels. Shell also said it does not view hydrogen as a viable energy alternative either, but that it plans to continue its work on biofuels, Reuters reports.
Energy analysts cite the huge drop in oil prices since last summer as the key reason that Shell pulled the plug on renewables research. “It’s not much of a surprise given the current oil price environment,” says Ian Nathan, senior research analyst at Energy Intelligence. "Shell, like any other oil and gas company, has shareholders it’s responsible to, and in an economic downturn, where revenues are under strain, it would seem to make sense for the company to focus its spending on its bread and butter business, which is oil and gas.”
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