In last night’s speech, the president broadly touted job growth in renewable energy industries and said making “technology work for us” to solve urgent issues like climate change is among the top four questions facing the country. Obama asked, to some applause in the House chamber: “Why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?”
As recently as last summer, Nevada was the nation’s No. 4 market for solar power and claimed the nation’s No. 1 ranking for solar sector employment on a per-capita basis. Today, the state’s status as a solar leader is in free fall as a result of a new net-metering ruling adopted by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last month
Getting to 100% renewable energy in the US by 2050 is a goal that is gaining traction among the US public. Reports from many environmental organizations have been written on how to get to this target, including from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Foundation. After last year’s COP21 conference, the momentum has gotten stronger in order to keep global temperature within the 1.5°C threshold to avoid dramatic climatic change on the Earth.
Many of the world’s major oil and gas companies are still grappling with how to respond to the international climate change agreement that 195 nations struck in Paris last month, interviews with several industry officials revealed. Asked to discuss the U.N. deal to slash global greenhouse gas emissions — which could threaten the very existence of the traditional energy industry — top multinational oil corporations shared few details. Most were vague and some were nonresponsive to questions about how and whether the agreement will affect their long-term business plans.
Iowa generates nearly 30 percent of its electricity from wind, far more than any other state. The goal is to increase that to 40 percent by 2020. Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Gov. Terry Branstad, said developing the industry is a benefit for the state’s other economic-development efforts. “Every turbine you see driving across the state of Iowa means three things,” he said. “It means income for farmers, it means revenue for local governments, and it means jobs for Iowa families.”
Climate advocates are urging President Obama to use his final State of the Union address today to make a strong economic case for renewable energy amid Republican criticism of the administration’s climate agenda. White House aides have promised a “nontraditional” speech, laying out a broad vision for the future of the country rather than specific policy provisions.
Emily Heaton says clean energy from the 12-foot tall miscanthus she grows at an Iowa State University farm can help cut the carbon that’s warming the planet. “I should be able to start my truck or turn on my lights at home, and it makes the air cleaner,” said Heaton, a 37-year-old agronomy professor who is researching how to use perennial grasses to cost-effectively generate electricity and fuel.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called last week for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution and roll back what he called overreach by the executive branch and the Supreme Court. Abbott, a Republican, cited U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the Endangered Species Act as prime examples of “government run amok.” His “Texas Plan” proposed nine changes to the Constitution that he said would put power back into the hands of the people.
SolarCity Corp. released a statement Wednesday that it plans to cut 550 jobs in Nevada and shift operations to more “business-friendly” states after regulators approved higher utility fees for rooftop solar. That chunk of workforce includes a Las Vegas training facility and nearly all of SolarCity’s Nevada workers, though, company spokeswoman Chandler Sherman said, “We will keep some staff in the state to service existing customers.” This is SolarCity’s first major layoff.
The U.S. has enough installed solar energy capacity to power 4.6 million homes. Solar energy accounted for 32 percent of total new power generation in 2014, exceeding coal and wind energy but lagging behind natural gas. In just nine years, the installed cost of solar energy has fallen by more than 73 percent – setting up the industry for explosive growth.