For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist, and they’re both wrong. Like many jokes, this one is funny (to economists, anyway) because it’s true. What isn’t so funny is its application to the biggest challenge of the 21st century: How to shed a fossil-fuel energy infrastructure that seems hell-bent on destroying us. There are several camps trying to decide how much we must spend to avoid environmental disaster. Consensus on a grand total is a matter of degree, with estimates varying by as much as $8 trillion.
Granholm, now a top adviser in Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s transition team and a rumored pick to lead the Energy Department if Clinton is elected, proposed a clean energy policy modeled after the Department of Education’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top. The competitive grant program, which Granholm called a powerful policy and a game changer, helped foster innovation and reforms in state and local K-12 education
The funding will support three offshore wind research projects to identify industry workforce training and safety requirements, and establish a multi-university partnership focused on cost-effective Massachusetts’ offshore wind power. The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced $700,000 in funding for nine academic and research institutions across Massachusetts to advance studies relating to offshore wind development, building on the Commonwealth’s existing nation-leading offshore wind innovation activities.
General Electric Co. is joining an energy research program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the goal of tapping new thinking on cutting carbon emissions and replacing fossil fuels, showcasing the kind of partnerships the industrial behemoth is seeking as it relocates its headquarters to Boston. The company will become a member of the MIT Energy Initiative and is donating $7.5 million for its research efforts, particularly in the areas of solar power, energy storage, advanced power grids, and carbon sequestration, officials said.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the author of the original wind energy tax credit in 1992, said a hypothetical President Trump wouldn’t be able to get rid of wind power in the U.S. as long as he’s alive. The GOP nominee has railed for years that wind farms are “ugly,” “obsolete” and “terrible for the environment,” among many other criticisms. “If he wants to do away with it, he’ll have to get a bill through Congress, and he’ll do it over my dead body,” Grassley said Tuesday in an interview with Yahoo News.
In a fast-developing industry teeming with technologies that promise to be the next big thing, energy storage appears to be the biggest. Its supporters not only sing its praises but also tout what they say is its inevitability.“We’re going to have 10 times as much energy storage on the grid by the end of this decade and that is going to impact every facet of the energy industry,” said Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Assn., an industry trade group.
The installed price of solar energy has declined significantly in recent years as policy and market forces have driven more and more solar installations. Now, the latest data show that the continued decrease in solar prices is unlikely to slow down anytime soon, with total installed prices dropping by 5 percent for rooftop residential systems, and 12 percent for larger utility-scale solar farms. With solar already achieving record-low prices, the cost decline observed in 2015 indicates that the coming years will likely see utility-scale solar become cost competitive with conventional forms of electricity generation.
Even as Rhode Island makes history as the first U.S. state with an offshore wind farm, its people are not so fond of wind turbines sprouting up on land near where they live. Dreams of a wind-powered nation sparked by the pioneering Atlantic Ocean project are running aground back on shore, where conventional battles over aesthetics and property values have stymied wind projects here and around the country. Ruth Pacheco said she didn’t expect so much hostility when she invited a developer to build a giant wind turbine atop a forested hill at her 52-acre family farm in rural North Smithfield.
The biggest utility in California will soon learn whether it can install as many as 7,600 electric vehicle charging stations, a controversial plan that would be the single largest deployment of plug-in spots in the country. Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s proposal would have ratepayers foot the $160 million cost. The utility would partner with charging companies but largely would build and maintain the infrastructure. PG&E would prioritize placements at workplaces and multifamily housing, including apartment buildings. A portion would go in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
On a blustery February night, the Texas electricity market hit a milestone. Nearly half the power flowing onto the grid came from wind turbines, a level unimaginable a decade ago in a place better known for its long romance with fossil fuels. The Lone Star state still embraces its oil and gas, leading a revolution in innovative “fracking” technology. Yet an equally startling energy bonanza here has gone almost unnoticed—the rise of renewables. Texas has added more wind-based generating capacity than any other state, with wind turbines accounting for 16% of electrical generating capacity as of April. Now Texas is anticipating a huge surge in solar power.