Stunning is how one renewable energy group described a decision by the state of New York to build the nation’s largest offshore wind farm. Kit Kennedy, the director of energy and transportation initiatives at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said New York was setting the bar high with its wind energy commitments to 2030.
Hawaiian Electric Co Inc is seeking information from developers about potential onshore wind projects on the island of Oahu that can take advantage of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The company wants to obtain projects that will lower costs for customers and help it achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy, it said last week as it issued the Request for Expressions of Interest (EoI).
President-elect Donald Trump may question the need to use more renewable power, but a growing number of Internet companies don’t.
A report issued Tuesday by the Greenpeace environmental group finds that many of the world’s largest Internet companies — including Apple, Facebook and Google — have made major progress powering their online operations with renewable energy. Almost 20 have committed to running their data centers and other facilities on 100 percent renewable energy as a way to fight global warming, although they differ on timetables and details.
As Donald Trump prepares to assume the presidency next week, it is appropriate to take a moment to appreciate the remarkable progress that the renewable energy sector has made, even in just the past year, as well as what opportunities may lie in the future. 2016 marked the inevitable emergence of clean energy as a major player in the nation’s energy market, evidenced by stunning growth and advances in technology, coupled with significant – and ongoing – drops in the cost of production.
Adam Ezzamel had a very busy fall. The project director of the Aberdeen Bay wind farm off the east coast of Scotland supervised preparatory work of an onshore substation, the ordering of steel, contracts for cable supply, and the final design of 11 wind turbines. One thing Ezzamel claims he did not do was think about Donald J. Trump. “I have so much on my plate in delivering this project in the constraints we have that the U.S. presidential election didn’t enter into the mix at all,” Ezzamel said in a recent interview. “It has been business as usual. I really don’t see why he [Donald Trump] would have any implication.”
Minnesota’s solar energy capacity is skyrocketing after a breakthrough year. It took about 10 years to go from virtually nothing to 35 megawatts of capacity in 2015, but last year that jumped to 250 megawatts. State officials don’t expect the pace to slow. Within the next two years, they expect solar panels scattered throughout the state will be capable of producing as much electricity as a coal-fired power plant.
Progressive groups are seizing on a new pro-Scott Pruitt group (see below) as evidence that Republicans are worried Pruitt’s EPA nomination is more vulnerable than had been thought. In a talking points memocirculated over the weekend and obtained by ME, environmentalists and others are encouraged to “drive a narrative that the nomination is in trouble and the polluters are coming to the rescue with millions in undisclosed dirty money to fund a secret campaign to force Pruitt.” That includes noting Pruitt’s previously reported “secretive alliance” with oil and gas companies to fight EPA regulations.
If Trump is going to “make America great again,” one of his biggest challenges will be West Virginia (population 1.8 million), and his necessary ally will be Justice. The state is starting from rock bottom, or very near it, in a dismaying array of socioeconomic categories. Only 53 percent of its adults are working or looking for work, the lowest rate of labor force participation in the country, according to West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics. The state’s per capita personal income of $36,758 ranks 49th; only Mississippi’s is lower.
Vermont’s new Republican governor said Monday he would stick with his Democratic predecessor’s long-term goal of getting 90 percent of the energy needed in the state from renewable sources by 2050. But Gov. Phil Scott, highlighting the construction of a new solar power project in the parking lot of a Montpelier food cooperative, said he believed new technology would be needed to make it happen. In his farewell address last week a day before Scott took office, Shumlin said Vermont had the highest per capita number of people working in clean energy jobs in the country. He said the state also had 12 times more solar panels than when he took office and 25 times the wind power.
At a time of heightened focus on U.S. cybersecurity risks, the Energy Department released a comprehensive report on the nation’s rapidly changing electrical grid Friday that calls for new action to protect against evolving threats. The agency urged policymakers to grant regulators new emergency powers should threats become imminent, among other recommendations.