U.S. Alternative Energy Correspondent
Nichola's Feed
Feb 23, 2015

Oscar hopefuls hit red carpet for Hollywood’s big night

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two small movies headed to a showdown for the biggest of all film prizes at the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday, in an evening ceremony likely to honor veteran actors along with feats of filmmaking.

Show business satire “Birdman” and the coming-of-age tale “Boyhood” are widely considered favorites in the battle for best picture and best director Oscars. But in one of the least predictable years in recent memory, the races were too close to call and there was room for upsets.

Feb 20, 2015

Bomb scare proves false alarm near Hollywood venue for Oscars

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A bomb scare triggered by an erratic motorist brandishing a propane tank at a shopping strip near the Hollywood venue for the upcoming Oscars show proved to be a false alarm on Thursday, but the man was detained, Los Angeles police said.

Bomb squad investigators cordoned off a row of storefronts and the front entrance of a hotel across the street after a man who was driving recklessly in the area emerged from his car with the propane cannister, according to police on the scene.

Feb 19, 2015

Blast at Exxon refinery in Calif. could hike gasoline prices

, Feb 18 (Reuters) – An explosion and fire
ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil Corp
refinery near Los Angeles on Wednesday, leaving
California with the threat of higher gasoline prices.

Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the
blast in Torrance, California, which occurred shortly before 9
a.m. PST (1700 GMT). Four contract workers were injured and sent
to Long Beach Medical Center for evaluation. Exxon said late on
Wednesday that three of the workers had been released.

Feb 18, 2015

Refinery blast at Exxon facility in Torrance, Calif., injures 4

, Feb 18 (Reuters) – An explosion and fire
ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil
refinery in Torrance, California, near Los Angeles on
Wednesday, slightly injuring four workers and shattering windows
of surrounding buildings, authorities said.

The cause of the blast, shortly before 9 a.m. PST (1700
GMT), was under investigation, but there was no evidence of foul
play, said Torrance Fire Captain Steve Deuel.

Feb 18, 2015

Germany’s “Sun King” seeks to rebuild empire from the U.S.

FRANKFURT/LOS ANGELES, Feb 18 (Reuters) – German solar
energy pioneer Frank Asbeck is betting that the United States
can rehabilitate him and his company SolarWorld,
which he rescued from the jaws of insolvency two years ago,
making himself an industry outcast in the process.

Asbeck, 55, pursued measures both imaginative and ruthless
to ensure that his solar panel company did not fall victim to a
crisis that claimed many of its German peers.

Feb 12, 2015

Apple deal, tax change could spark corporate solar stampede

By Nichola Groom

(Reuters) – Apple Inc’s deal to buy nearly $1 billion of power from a massive First Solar Inc plant could be the first of a stampede of contracts driven by the looming change in a solar tax incentive that makes such projects particularly attractive.

Together with a sharp drop in the cost of solar power and corporate efforts to rack up green credentials, the expiring tax subsidies have large energy purchasers taking a hard look at buying solar under big long-term contracts.

Feb 11, 2015

Apple in big solar power deal, market cap closes over $700 billion

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) will buy about $850 million of power from a new California solar farm to cut its energy bill, the iPhone maker said on Tuesday as its stock market value closed above $700 billion for the first time.

The First Solar Inc (FSLR.O: Quote, Profile, Research) plant, with the capacity to power the equivalent of 60,000 homes, will be used to supply electricity for Apple’s new campus in Silicon Valley, and its other offices and 52 stores in the state, Chief Executive Tim Cook said at a Goldman Sachs technology conference in San Francisco.

Jan 28, 2015

How these energy geeks are reimagining an old school utility

Orange County, Ca (Reuters) – Welcome to the utility industry’s future – or at least that’s what Southern California Edison is hoping.

    Here in a non-descript, 53,500-square-foot building, the $12 billion utility’s research team is testing everything from charging electronic vehicles via cell phone to devices that smooth out the power created by rooftop solar panels.

Jan 12, 2015

New shows ‘Transparent’, ‘The Affair’ take top TV Golden Globes

By Nichola Groom

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Reuters) – Two fresh new series, Showtime’s “The Affair” and Amazon’s “Transparent,” were catapulted into the spotlight on Sunday at Hollywood’s Golden Globe awards, taking home the night’s honors for best television drama and comedy.

Amazon.com Inc’s win for “Transparent” marked the first time an online streaming service took home a Golden Globe for best series. The show, about a transgender woman who comes out to her three adult children, won for best comedy series.

Jan 9, 2015

Oil price slump taking a toll on US alternative fuels

Jan 8 (Reuters) – With gas pump prices lingering near their
lowest levels in five years, greener, cleaner alternative fuels
are taking a hit.

Makers of biodiesel, a fuel made from vegetable oil or
animal fats, are slashing prices and margins in a bid to stay
competitive with the price of diesel fuel, which is down more
than 20 percent from a year ago.