On Friday, the California Legislature passed SB 350 requiring utilities to procure at least 50 percent of their electricity from eligible renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by 2030. This legislation, which is expected to be signed into law later this month by Governor Jerry Brown, is a historic step in the state’s groundbreaking plan to cut climate-warming pollution, and ranks among the most significant environmental bills in California history.
Koch-funded Kathleen Hartnett White’s Aug. 31 commentary on the Clean Power Plan ignores how low-cost wind energy helps states cost-effectively and reliably cut carbon pollution.
Unable to criticize American wind energy, among the lowest-cost and most productive in the world, White instead focuses on Germany. Her argument has little relevance as U.S. wind plants are nearly twice as productive as those in Germany, allowing the cost of wind in the U.S. to be a fraction of what it is in Europe.
The Bureau of Land Management has released a draft regional mitigation strategy designed to help solar power developers offset environmental damage caused by building commercial-scale projects across western Arizona. The focus of the draft mitigation strategy centers on three federally designated solar energy zones (SEZs) on the state’s west side. The goal is to reduce industry uncertainty by identifying mitigation strategies upfront, thus enticing energy developers to build utility-scale solar projects inside the three zones.
Texas earned a top 10 ranking in cumulative U.S. solar power capacity through 2014, but the state didn’t crack the top 20 in a per-capita calculation, according to a new study. The report, written by representatives of the Frontier Group and Environment America Research and Policy Center, was released last week and touted in the Lone Star State by Environment Texas.
Heading south on U.S. Route 95 from Las Vegas, drivers gradually become aware of a vast, shimmering presence far off in the distance. Continue on a few miles farther down into the valley, and the source of the shiny apparition becomes apparent. Tucked between the highway and the peaks of the McCullough Range is the Copper Mountain Solar complex, a sprawling collection of panels stretching across 3,000 acres of this high-desert valley. By catching the sun’s rays — and it’s almost always sunny here — the facility generates enough electricity to power 142,000 homes in nearby Southern California.
Wildfires are increasing and wildfire season is getting longer in the Western United States. As the global climate warms, dry areas are becoming drier due to higher spring and summer temperatures and earlier snowmelts facilitating drought. These conditions have increased the intensity and long-burning wildfires currently occurring throughout Washington state. This disaster should serve as a wake-up call to everyone who refutes the existence of climate change.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and state lawmakers are giving up their plans to reduce petroleum use by 50 percent by 2030. The mandate was included in S.B. 350, a bill being shepherded through the Legislature by Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D) in the waning days of the state’s legislative session. The goal was perhaps the most ambitious of the three that Brown announced upon taking office in January for his fourth term. The other two — to increase the state’s share of renewable energy to 50 percent and to double the efficiency of existing buildings by 2030 — still remain in the bill, which must pass the Legislature by today.
The USA’s Top 10 solar states are not those blessed with the most sunlight according to a new report, but those that have adopted strong support policies to encourage home owners to go solar. That’s the key conclusion of “Lighting the Way III: The Top States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2014”, from research group Environment Massachusetts, in conjunction with the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The U.S. solar industry is on course for a new growth record in 2015, according to a new report that finds that solar photovoltaic installations now exceed 20 gigawatts in capacity and could surpass an unprecedented 7 gigawatts this year alone across all segments. A gigawatt is equivalent to 1 billion watts and can power some 164,000 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
If you want to see how U.S. utilities could lose control of the electricity industry, keep an eye on Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, which spent a week in the dark after Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012. Red Hook is planning to use a mix of solar panels, battery storage and small wind turbines to create a “microgrid” that can power local apartment buildings, businesses and a community center, as well as ensure the neighborhood can successfully endure another big storm.