Move over, Wal-Mart. For the first time ever, retail giant Target Corp. is the top corporate installer of solar power in the United States. The discount chain surged from 11th to first in annual rankings from the Solar Energy Industries Association of the largest business adopters of solar in terms of overall installed capacity. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. dominated the top spot for the past four years.
A survey of big companies that have invested heavily in renewable energy has found that wind farms are their top choice, mainly because they pay for themselves more quickly. The study also found that most of these companies have set concrete targets for electrifying themselves with renewable energy, with a majority having goals to do so in less than a decade.
A new report says homes and businesses that turn to solar energy tend to provide more benefits to the electric grid than they receive from net metering. The document, released yesterday by the Environment America Research and Policy Center, relied on 16 other analyses to form a counterargument to utilities that say solar owners aren’t paying fair amounts.
They may not get it this year, but boosters of energy storage technologies want their sector to get the same tax credits that the federal government extends to the wind and solar industries. “It would be a good economic investment for us as a government and as a nation to invest in advancing these technologies,” said Matt Roberts, executive director for the industry’s trade group, the Energy Storage Association. Under a bill introduced by Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., qualifying energy storage technologies such as batteries, thermal energy storage and regenerative fuel cells would get a 30 percent investment tax credit.
Wind turbines could supply 20 percent of the world’s electricity as countries invest billions in low- and zero-carbon energy sources to comply with international treaties on greenhouse gases and climate change, according to new projections. In its latest biennial “Global Wind Energy Outlook” report, the Brussels-based Global Wind Energy Council said wind power could account for more than 2,100 gigawatts of generation capacity by 2030. That would attract roughly $220 billion in annual investment while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3.3 billion tons per year.
The Grain Belt Express Clean Line wind energy project has made significant steps towards getting the final green light from the Public Service Commission. After it stalled in July, the PSC last week gave the go-ahead to finalize a public hearing schedule, which means that a final order on construction of Clean Line could happen as early as next spring. In other words, the case has officially started with the commission.
The third presidential debate, scheduled for Wednesday, might seem like a rerun. Chris Wallace, the moderator and an anchor for Fox News, has chosen topics familiar from previous debates, including debt, immigration, foreign affairs, the economy and the Supreme Court. Notably missing is any mention of climate change, which was also almost ignored in the earlier debates.
If House Democrats can complete a long-shot-but-not-out-of-reach takeover of the House in next month’s election, expanding environmental protections and increasing the use of renewables are expected to be centerpieces of their legislative agenda. “You can’t guarantee anything, but this is looking like it’s building up to be a wave election,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told E&E News in a recent interview.
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.