Kathy Reinhart bought a new home in north Los Angeles County last year, picking it for its single-story design, new construction upgrades, and extra bedrooms for visiting children and grandchildren. She also liked the shiny solar panels on the tiled roof of the beige and brown house. Reinhart, 61, didn’t realize at the time that the builder had been required to add solar, part of a city mandate for new homes. At the time the city of Lancaster passed the mandate, it was the first of its kind in the nation. It was also at the front of a trend.
A new initiative slated for the ballot in Washington state next month would create the first-ever carbon tax to be implemented in the United States. But while the initiative promises to fight climate change by making it more expensive to emit greenhouse gases, it’s caused an unexpected controversy among environmentalists. Despite the endorsement of dozens of climate scientists and economists, many environmental groups have refused to support it at all, citing concerns about the proposal’s revenue projections, its approach to the involvement of disadvantaged communities, and a lack of true investment in clean energy.
Former top administration officials from both Republican and Democratic presidents today called for the next White House to create a new federal body to coordinate the nation’s disparate energy policy. The Center for New American Security released a blueprint for the first 100 days of the next administration that includes the creation of a “mechanism” to convene various federal agencies handling all aspects of energy and environmental matters and develop policy for the next president.
The Department of Energy is pushing back against critics who say its loan program office spawned useless renewable spending and led to bankruptcy flops like Solyndra. In a new report, DOE notes its loan guarantee office supported the first five utility-scale solar projects in the United States larger than 100 megawatts. When Obama took office, there were no large-scale solar photovoltaics projects of that size in the United States. That initial financing “demonstrated the technology’s success” and fostered a private market, according to DOE.
Wind power could supply as much as 20 percent of the world’s total electricity by 2030 due to dramatic cost reductions and pledges to curb climate change, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said in a report released in Beijing on Tuesday. If last year’s Paris climate accord leads to a worldwide commitment to the decarbonization of the electricity sector, total wind power capacity could reach as much as 2,110 gigawatts (GW) by then, nearly five times its current level, the industry group said.
Iowa consumers could save $12.6 billion over 25 years by doubling the amount of wind generation in the state, advocates say in a new report. Pushing the amount of wind generation in Iowa to 20,000 megawatts would save the average Iowa household $3,200 on its electric bills over 25 years, according to an American Wind Energy Association report. Industrial customers would save $825,000 over two decades.
U.S. electric car maker Tesla says it plans to start working with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. on solar energy. Tesla’s said on its corporate blog Monday that the companies have signed a non-binding letter of intent to begin collaborating on Panasonic’s production of photovoltaic cells and modules at a facility under construction by San Mateo, California-based solar-panel company SolarCity Corp. in Buffalo, New York.
A ballot measure in Washington state seeking to impose the first carbon tax in the United States faces an uncertain future due to an unlikely source of opposition: environmentalists. The rancor among Evergreen State greens threatens to sink a long-standing priority of U.S. climate activists. A recent poll showed those in favor of a tax with a 5-point lead, 42 percent to 37 percent, but fully 21 percent of Washington voters remain undecided.
A California company says it intends to spend billions of dollars to build the largest solar power plant in the world on a sprawling 25-square-mile plot in the sun-baked Nevada desert about 225 miles northwest of Las Vegas. SolarReserve chief executive Kevin Smith outlined a plan Tuesday to create a 10-tower concentrated solar array dubbed Sandstone Energy X near the Nye County city of Tonopah.
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the state of California on Thursday held the first meeting of the California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force in Sacramento. The task force will facilitate coordination between BOEM, local authorities and other federal agencies with respect to potential renewable energy leasing offshore California, BOEM said in a statement. It will also seek to identify areas that may be suitable for research or commercial renewable energy development. The creation of the task force was requested in May by California governor Jerry Brown.