As German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama meet this week in Washington, they are surveying the world’s energy future through a window that Germany opened — one with a spectacular view of the low-carbon horizon. For decades, Germany has been a first mover in clean energy. After suffering contamination from the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986, the nation walked away from nuclear power, and it slammed the door shut after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011. Now, the country is saying auf wiedersehen to coal, on the way to reducing its carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2020.
America leads the world in wind power — and it’s doing so with one arm behind its back. Today, 39 states, have utility-scale wind turbines. Combined, these 39 states generate more wind energy than any other country in the world. The federal Production Tax Credit, first signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, has spurred the growth of wind power — and generated billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs in the process.
A federal appellate court is grappling with whether Colorado’s renewable energy standard (RES) unconstitutionally limits power generation and other commercial activities in other states in a case that could be a key test for whether states can adopt similar requirements in order to comply with EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for power plants.
Developers installed 11.8 gigawatts of wind turbines in Europe last year, accounting for almost half the power-generation capacity added, as the region continues to shift away from fossil fuels, according to the European Wind Energy Association. Germany was the top wind market with about 45 percent of the total, the Brussels-based trade group said Tuesday in a statement. It was followed by the U.K., Sweden and France, with the four countries accounting for more than three-quarters of the industry.
Apple Inc. is building an $850 million solar energy farm in Monterey County, Calif., that will generate power for all its California facilities, Chief Executive Tim Cook announced yesterday. Speaking at a technology conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, Cook described the 1,300-acre plant as one of the company’s most ambitious projects yet
State legislative leaders for California yesterday pitched an ambitious climate change agenda as a job-creating vehicle. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D) unveiled an ambitious package of bills that would extend the state’s greenhouse gas targets to midcentury, expand the state’s renewable electricity target to 50 percent, cut petroleum use by 50 percent, require all new and existing commercial buildings to be twice as energy efficient and require state employee pension funds to divest from coal.
While Obama is known to be aggressive in seeking to retain staffers contemplating departures, sometimes even making in-person appeals to their spouses, White House officials say Podesta has been spared that hard-sell. The only message for Podesta, McDonough said, was that he wanted to “get him as long as I could.”
The new bill, S.B. 32, would set a target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Another bill, by De Leon and Sen. Mark Leno (D), would address electricity, buildings and petroleum use. Another De Leon bill would require the state’s massive public pension funds to divest from coal, while one by Sen. Ben Hueso (D) would form a commission to invest money in creating jobs tied to clean energy.
Top California state senators Feb. 10 unveiled a package of bills intended to extend the state’s current climate and clean energy program beyond their current 2020 expiration, including measures that seek to set greenhouse gas (GHG) targets through 2050 and others that would codify Gov. Jerry Brown’s plans for increases in renewable energy and reductions in oil use.
Timothy D. Cook, the company’s chief executive, said at an investors’ conference on Tuesday that Apple planned to build an $850 million solar farm that would power its California operations, including its new Cupertino campus, stores and a data center in Fremont. Apple said it teamed up with First Solar, a solar-energy equipment supplier, to construct the solar farm in Monterey County. The farm is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, First Solar said.