Greater Sandhill Solar Project in Colorado

Top 3 stories

1) Solar joint ventures, sunnier predictions for Europe and bird burn

An announcement by First Solar Inc and SunPower Corp that they were in talks to form a joint venture boosted shares by 10.4% and 11.8% respectively in after hours trading on Monday. The move is the latest in a growing trend in the renewables industry to create so-called yieldcos, or publicly traded entities that offer shareholder payouts.

Meanwhile, the Fraunhofer Institute has released a report declaring that solar power will be cheaper than coal or gas in sunnier regions of the EU by 2025. Also in Europe, there are warnings that a solar eclipse next month could disrupt Europe’s solar power supplies, which will be a test for the industry in the region.

Apple have announced that their £1.25bn European data centres in Ireland and Denmark will run entirely on renewable energy and leading UK developer of solar, Lightsource Renewable Energy, reveals a £125m, 1GW solar rooftop investment plan.

And 130 birds have been injured near Tonopah, Nevada, during tests for a new solar farm – but the project’s owners say they have found a way to reduce fatalities.

2) India coal auction point is to reduce tariffs for consumers

Bloomberg reports on the ongoing India coal block auction, with a comment from Coal Secretary Anil Swarup that the “whole purpose” of conduction the auction is to reduce costs for consumers.

India’s Economic Times covers companies’ share price reaction to bidding, complete with a handy table. The same outlet also reports on Scottish Cairn Energy’s sacking of 40% of its employees as it faces capital constraints over a tax dispute in the country.

3) Low oil price impacts rumble on

The BBC investigates whether low oil prices are here to stay, with a special report on the British oil and gas industry’s operating costs and potential tax concessions in next month’s budget.

From the US there are warnings over a faster-than-expected falling crude output as shale oil producers slash costs to cope with falling prices and competition from Persian rivals.

And Shell has shelved a 200,000 barrel per day oil sands mining project in the Athabasca region, citing low energy prices.

In other news

Duke Energy faces charges for dumping coal waste into North Carolina rivers.

The Smithsonian asks a legal watchdog to investigate climate skeptic Willie Soon’s disclosure practices.

Reinjection of fracking wastewater in Oklahoma caused 585 earthquakes with a 3.0 or higher magnitude last year.

The Guardian has a report on potential fracking in Bolivia, creating cause for concern amongst civil society.

And EurActiv reports on testing the use of cooking oil for aviation fuel.