California’s goal to increase the use of energy storage to complement solar energy generation will open up a new battle ground between utilities and renewable energy proponents. That tension is already present even though the state is just gearing up to be what its policy makers hope will be a testing ground and booming market for innovative storage technologies. Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, spoke at a panel discussion hosted by the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday. When he talked about how long it took a local utility to approve the grid connection of battery systems his company had installed, Elon Musk, chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla Motors responded, “The average wait is eight months? That’s crazy.”
China's online-search behemoth Baidu is doing what it must to stay competitive. But in a theme Chinese Internet investors should get used to, profit growth isn't going to be as bubbly as previously hoped. That was the company's message to investors Thursday. Revenue surged by 50% from a year earlier in the fourth quarter while profits were flat, as expected. But in a conference call with analysts, Baidu Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Li dropped a bombshell, saying the company doesn't expect any increase in profit this quarter.
U.S. stock futures slipped Friday, with the S&P 500 pausing after its run to record territory, as investors awaited a second reading on fourth-quarter economic growth. European markets were headed for a third-straight loss after data showing euro-zone inflation rose more than expected and the number of jobless increased for the first time in four months. About 10 minutes ahead of the open, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 15 points, or 0.1%, to 16257. On Thursday, the Dow rose 74 points, or 0.5%, and was on course for a fifth monthly gain in six months.
Euro-zone inflation was unchanged in February, easing pressure on the European Central Bank to take further action to support the financial system and growth when its governing council meets next Thursday. Consumer prices grew 0.8% in February from a year earlier in the euro zone, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said Friday, well below the ECB's target of just below 2%. But that was higher than expected, and ECB President Mario Draghi says confidently there is no deflation in the EU.