Renewable energy generation capacity expanded by 8.3 percent last year to 1,985 gigawatts globally, the fastest annual rate on record, data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) showed on Thursday. The strong growth was mainly due to a continued decline in technology costs. Overall, capacity has increased by roughly a third over the last five years, mostly fueled by new installations of wind and solar energy.
Wind energy developers say their industry has been shackled by state regulations that make it difficult to export electricity from Nebraska. State lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday that advocates say will allow the free flow of Nebraska wind power to out-of-state markets. And lawmakers predicted it would encourage aggressive private development of wind farms that would otherwise go to Iowa, Kansas or Oklahoma. “It’s going to happen somewhere,” said State Sen. Al Davis of Hyannis. “We can stand by and wring our hands, or we can take the plunge and move forward.” While Iowa had more than 6,200 megawatts of wind power capacity last year and Kansas had nearly 3,800 megawatts, Nebraska had 890.
I began the project in 2011. I have since driven 15,000 miles in the United States and returned to Scandinavia to take photographs. I have photographed on the side of the road, on the side of a mountain in 70 mph winds and in a tiny boat on the Baltic Sea during a storm. This project has brought me to places I would have never seen otherwise. I hope to return to Europe this year to photograph in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
While two years of crashing prices for oil, natural gas, and coal triggered dramatic downsizing in those industries, renewables have been thriving. Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015 and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels. One reason is that renewable energy is becoming ever cheaper to produce. Recent solar and wind auctions in Mexico and Morocco ended with winning bids from companies that promised to produce electricity at the cheapest rate, from any source, anywhere in the world, said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Twenty U.S. cities from the West Coast and Hawaii to New York-New Jersey, the Midwest and the Gulf Coast have emerged as urban leaders in solar power, according to data released this morning by the nonprofit group Environment America. In an analysis of solar adoption by U.S. cities, the Environment America Research and Policy Center found that 64 cities account for 1,700 megawatts of photovoltaic solar capacity — almost as much solar energy as the entire country produced in 2010.
Energy giant Dominion Resources Inc. is making a strong business case in favor of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, telling a federal appeals court that compliance with the rule to curb carbon emission from power plants is “feasible” and that “effects on power plants and customers can be successfully managed” with market-based tools. And in a rebuke to opponents of the EPA rule, led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Dominion said their “overly narrow interpretation of the Clean Air Act would be more disruptive to the power sector, and result in higher compliance costs for power plant owners and electricity customers.”
Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday implored business leaders to invest more of their money and influence into hastening a global clean energy transition, saying that “unless we harness the power of clean, renewable sources … the consequences will be absolutely devastating.” In his second major policy speech on climate change since nearly 200 nations reached a global climate agreement in Paris in December, Kerry told about 1,000 investors and other business leaders at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Future of Energy Summit in New York that a transition to low-carbon energy is critical.
n the global race to create more efficient and long-lasting batteries, some are betting on nanotechnology — the use of minuscule parts — as the most likely to yield a breakthrough. Improving batteries’ performance is key to the development and success of many much-hyped technologies, from solar and wind energy to electric cars. They need to hold more energy, last longer, be cheaper and safer.
Many of us enjoy a good social media-inspired “Throw Back Thursday,” a time to revisit amusing photos or memories of a past age when we were young and naïve, so to speak. Not many of us take it quite as literally, however, as the Koch-backed Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) did recently, when they published an anti-renewable energy hit piece in The Hill titled “Renewables are incapable of replacing hydrocarbons at scale.”
he collapse of SunEdison Inc. may be among the most resounding single downfalls in the history of solar. Yet the impact on the clean energy industry could be little more than a hiccup. The aggressive expansions and crushing debt load that pushed the Maryland Heights, Missouri, company to the brink of bankruptcy as it lost $9.2 billion in equity in nine months are not emblematic of the industry at large, according to clean energy analysts and executives interviewed at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in New York, which continues Tuesday. Rather, they said, the solar and wind industries remain on sound footing, poised to grow briskly in the years ahead.