Global renewable energy capacity increased 8.3 percent in 2015, with a record 152 gigawatts of new power coming from wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal resources, findings from the International Renewable Energy Agency show. The surge comes against a backdrop of record low oil and gas prices, IRENA noted, a condition experts attribute to the renewable energy sector’s maturity and resilience to shifts in fossil fuel prices, traditionally the major driver in electricity markets.
An unprecedented number of countries plan to sign the Paris climate deal when it opens for signatures April 22, increasing the odds that the accord will enter into force before 2020. The United Nations announced last week that more than 130 countries will be on hand in New York City to sign the landmark climate deal, more than have ever signed a U.N. agreement before in its first day.
A representative from Koch Industries Inc. said CEO Charles Koch believes that man-made climate change is occurring. Sheryl Corrigan, Koch Industries’ environmental, health and safety director, told an audience in California that the company was focused on free-market policies to address climate change, rather than on whether climate change is real. “Charles has said the climate is changing. So, the climate is changing,” Corrigan said. “I think he’s also said, and we believe, that humans have a part in that. I think what the real question is … what are we going to do about it?”
The longest-serving chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is taking on a new role as chief policy officer of SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar provider. Jon Wellinghoff will advise the California-based solar installer on federal and state policy and will oversee regulatory and legislative affairs, according to a press release. He will report directly to SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, cousin of Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, who is SolarCity’s chairman.
An Italian company has begun construction on a large wind farm that will dot southwest Kansas with 200 turbines, generating enough energy to power nearly 150,000 households — with internet giant Google snatching up half the output. The wind farm, spanning 60 square miles, will have a 400 megawatt capacity. Corporate executives and Gov. Sam Brownback announced the $610 million project Friday.
The Ivanpah solar tower plant in California’s Mojave Desert has doubled the amount of power it’s making versus a year ago, putting it on track to hit the total it promised the state, operator NRG Energy Inc. said yesterday. The largest power tower project in the world, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System last month received a six-month extension to reach the electricity total in a power purchase agreement (PPA) with utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
Climate change poses an urgent public health risk, the White House announced yesterday in a sweeping new federal report the administration touted as the most exhaustive assessment ever done of the links between rising global temperatures and disease. The report, “The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment,” formally unveiled at the White House, finds that devastating heat, more miserable allergies and air that’s harder to breathe loom in the future if greenhouse gases continue to rise.
State policies that promote advanced energy technologies could stimulate more than 160,000 new jobs annually in the Southeast and establish long-term economic stability for states from Florida to Virginia, new research from the American Jobs Project shows. In Rust Belt states Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, advances in wind and solar power, along with smart buildings and energy efficiency, could drive the creation of an additional 50,000 high-wage jobs annually, the Berkeley, Calif.-based group found.
A state energy board Wednesday officially denied Cape Wind’s request to extend its permits for two power lines necessary to connect the offshore energy project to the mainland. The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board said extending the permits to May 1, 2017 would be “unreasonable” because the agency believes the project is years away from ever getting started.
Renewable energy generation capacity expanded by 8.3 percent last year to 1,985 gigawatts globally, the fastest annual rate on record, data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) showed on Thursday. The strong growth was mainly due to a continued decline in technology costs. Overall, capacity has increased by roughly a third over the last five years, mostly fueled by new installations of wind and solar energy.