Around the world, nearly 40 nations, including the 28-member European Union, and many smaller jurisdictions are engaged in some form of carbon pricing. In this hemisphere, British Columbia, Quebec, California and nine Northeastern states have raised the cost of burning fossil fuels without damaging the economy. Alberta, Canada’s biggest oil and gas producer, and Ontario have said they will adopt similar policies.
“Solar is poised to take off in Texas,” said Peter Sopher, a policy analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund in Austin. He compared it to wind power a decade ago, when turbines were popping up in West Texas. In 2005, wind generated 1.4 percent of electricity on ERCOT, the grid that handles most of the state’s electric load. For the first 11 months of 2015, wind’s share was over 11 percent. And in November, it was over 18 percent. Texas is easily the No. 1 state in wind, with more than twice the capacity of California.
Renewable advocates are eager to further expand the 30 percent investment tax credit that was extended for five years in the tax bill. Last year’s deal only extended the ITC solar credit, leaving out other qualifying sources, including combined heat and power systems, geothermal, small wind, and fuel cells. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said the extension for other renewables was “inadvertently” left out of last year’s tax accord and could be quickly resolved this year.
Denmark produced 42% of its electricity from wind turbines last year according to official data, the highest figure yet recorded worldwide. The new year-end figures showed a 3% rise on 2014, which was itself a record year for Danish wind energy generation.
The initial heavy lifting will have to be done by policy makers. I feel for them. It’s hard to take a tough stand on an important but long-term issue in the face of so many near-term problems, amid worries that reducing emissions will weaken our global economic position and fears that other countries may cheat on their emissions targets.Ultimately, though, it will be up to the engineers and industrialists of the world to save us. They must come up with the new technologies and the means of implementing them. The technical and organizational challenges of solving the problems of clean energy generation, storage and distribution are enormous, and they must be solved within a few decades with minimum disruption to the global economy. This will likely entail a major switch to nuclear, solar and other renewable power, with an electrification of our transport system to the maximum extent possible. These engineers and industrialists are fully up to the job, given the right incentives and investments. You have only to look at what they achieved during World War II: American technology and production catapulted over what would have taken decades to do under ordinary conditions and presented us with a world in 1945 that was completely different from the late 1930s.
Google expanded its Project Sunroof to metropolitan areas in nine states last month, enabling people in those hot spots to estimate whether solar panels are worth installing on a particular roof. The project launched last summer in Google’s home base in San Francisco; the creator’s home near Boston; and Fresno, Calif. Now, Project Sunroof is in metropolitan areas in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina.
Nevada regulators rejected a request to delay the implementation of new rooftop solar rates for net-metering customers. At a public meeting yesterday that saw dozens of homeowners request the action, the state Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to move forward with the new rates.
or the past five years, President Obama has denied the Republican charge that he is waging a war on coal. On Friday, with the Obama administration’s announcement that the Interior Department will halt new coal leases on public lands, Mr. Obama acknowledged that his climate change polices are hurting American miners and began offering ways to ease that economic harm.
Zichal, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, said she recently visited China and met with some business leaders. “They know the way they’re currently doing business is not sustainable. It’s not sustainable from a health perspective. It’s not sustainable from an economic perspective and it’s not sustainable from an environmental perspective,” said Zichal, a former adviser to President Barack Obama. “The entire business community is on board” to cut greenhouse gases that scientists say contribute to global warming. And the government is behind them, she said. “You don’t see businesses and government out there saying, ‘We’re behind new regulations.’
The Department of Energy released a new multiyear plan to modernize the electric grid in conjunction with up to $220 million in planned investments. Speaking at a utility control center in Miami, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the financial awards would support research and development over three years in advanced storage systems and other grid modernization projects at DOE’s national laboratories and their partners. About half of the money is available now, with much of the rest contingent on annual congressional appropriations, according to a DOE spokesman.