New Mexico developer suing Tesla over lost electric car factory

Remember back in 2008 when Tesla decided to move the production of its Model S electric car from New Mexico to California? Well, so does the developer that was going to build the facility — they’re suing Tesla for breach of contract and fraud.

Next Up for Schwarzenegger: Tackling Federal Energy Policy?

Will California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger be the next Obama Administration energy policy official? It’s just one idea that Schwarzenegger, who will step down from the governor role in a couple weeks, kicked around in an interview with the L.A. Times on Friday.

Net Metering to Shine on in New York, California

Rooftop solar companies are breathing a sigh of relief – and are getting ready to install more projects in New York and California. That’s because legislatures in the two states have passed new rules that boost net metering, an arrangement that allows customers with small-scale solar and wind installations to get credit for the electricity they deliver back to the grid.

With net metering, as the arrangement is called, customers pay only for their net electricity usage. Their meters run forward when they are using more electricity than they are producing and run backward when they are producing more electricity than they are using. The absence of net metering could cut out much of the economic benefit of building solar systems, at least in places without other financial incentives, such as a feed-in tariff.
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Droid Does an Early Software Update

Although it was expected that Motorola Droid (s mot) would see an update around December 11, there’s a new mandatory software update available today. Information from the Verizon (s vz) support site for Droid breaks out the following fixes and enhancements in software version AP:ESD56/BP:C_01.3E.01P — which just rolls off the tongue, no? 😉

  • OS stability is improved.
  • Battery life is improved.
  • Camera auto focus functionality is improved, and time between shots is reduced.
  • Enhancements for three-way calling.
  • Audio for incoming calls is improved.
  • When receiving a call on call waiting, the speakerphone now remains on.
  • Bluetooth functionality is improved; background echo is eliminated.
  • Improved Bluetooth phone book transfer of contacts to in-vehicle Bluetooth solutions.
  • After closing a GPS application, the GPS icon will now automatically be removed from the notification panel.
  • Users can now receive SMS and MMS messages after an EMS message is received.
  • SMS and MMS may now be sent to seven-digit addresses.
  • Google contact merging has been updated to accommodate seven-digit numbers.
  • Visual Voice Mail notices now arrive instantaneously.
  • The corporate calendar widget user interface is updated.

Droid owners will need at least 40% or more battery power or at least 20% power availability if connected to a power source prior to performing the upgrade. Have at it when you see the update available and let us know if you see any other fixes that might have slipped in as well.

Lesson from Cali Clean Power Veto: Transmission Still a Choke Point for Energy Goals

Hundreds of bills escaped California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto power last night ahead of a midnight deadline to act on a mountain of legislation — but not a pair of long-debated clean energy bills. As expected, the governor killed two items, which would have required utilities in California to get at least a third of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, but with limits for how much of that goal they could meet with power generated out of state (at an Arizona solar farm, for example).

In Schwarzenegger’s view, those limits made the proposed laws overly “protectionist” and lacking in pragmatism, since development of renewable energy projects and transmission infrastructure within California has been relatively slow going. The governor’s veto last night, and the controversy over his executive order last month to have the California Air Resources Board (rather than the legislature) determine how utilities can meet the renewable portfolio standard, highlight a major choke point in the effort to clean up the national power supply: the approval process for transmission lines.
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Power Shift: Utilities Begin to Drive U.S. Solar Market

solargeneric5For years, the U.S. solar-installation market has been driven mainly by independent developers and contractors who initiated most of the projects to put solar panels on rooftops and on the ground. But now, as some have predicted, it looks like utilities are starting to take the lead. Sempra Energy (s SRE) and PG&E both announced large new solar commitments this week, with Sempra planning to build up to 500MW of its own new solar-power plants in the next few years and PG&E signing contracts to buy a whopping 830MW of new solar generation from developers.

These new commitments come on top of the large distributed-solar-generation projects both companies already have under development. PG&E wants to add 500MW of ground-mounted solar-power systems and Sempra subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric has applied for approval for 70-80MW of ground-mounted solar panels. Another California utility, Southern California Edison, has gotten approval to add 500MW of rooftop solar projects, and both SCE and PG&E have signed deals for huge solar-thermal projects, including 1.3GW and 1.31GW contracts from BrightSource, respectively.
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Schwarzenegger to Hand Wins to Big Solar, Nuclear, Hydro Power This Week

3tier-mapsIf California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has his way, utilities in the state will get at least a third of their energy from renewable sources by 2020 — and they’ll have free reign to import it from out of the state. The move, which has been under discussion for more than a year, would create the largest renewable portfolio standard in the country — with some caveats — and could be a major boon for big solar farms in the Arizona and Nevada deserts.
That provision for imports is part of what sets the executive order, which Schwarzenegger is expected to sign this week, apart from a bill approved this weekend in the California legislature. The Governor plans to veto that bill largely because of limits on how much energy can come from out of state to meet the renewable requirement.
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LIVE: Solyndra Breaks Ground on New Plant, Details $535M DOE Project

solyndra-eventUPDATED Solar startup Solyndra, which makes tube-shaped thin-film solar panels, already managed to break new ground this year — snagging the first loan guarantee under a long-delayed Department of Energy program. This morning, however, the groundbreaking is literal. Just up the freeway from its headquarters in Fremont, Calif., the company is showing off the site for the factory it’s building with the $535 million loan guarantee, and announcing details for the project along with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
So far, they’ve told us that the DOE has now finalized the loan guarantee (it was a preliminary commitment before). The federal funding will finance construction of the first phase of Solyndra’s factory, which they say will make 3,000 construction jobs eventually employ 1,000 workers. More to come.
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Google Wave Due Soon; Early Apps Are Arriving Now

When Google (s goog) recently announced its Google Wave initiative, there were a lot of posts going around the web characterizing it as earth-changing news, although some questioned the effort. Wave combines email, instant messaging, wiki features and more, conjuring up images of a next-generation communications tool. Now, the Google Wave team has posted an update on the project’s status, including information on how developers can start using it early, and when users at large can.

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