By Stephen E. Morgan, CEO of American Clean Energy & Todd Foley, ACORE's SVP of Policy & Government Relations 8/26/13
At this moment, the U.S. can reinvent how we produce, store, transport, and consume electricity. With an abundance of domestic energy, our country is on its way to becoming “energy independent” by the end of the decade. But powering our homes and businesses with natural gas or other fossil fuels does not mean a reliable, clean, and affordable flow of electricity will follow.
In order to capitalize on recent energy advances, states, regulators, and the federal government must bring the inherent benefits of generating power from on-site renewable energy — what’s called distributed generation — to more Americans. Transitioning our grid to one supplied with more distributed generation in the forms of all types of renewable energy is essential to attaining The U.S.’s true energy independence; independence that allows for the most reliable, affordable, and cleanest energy to flow to every American.
Looking back at 2012, one thing is certain in the sea of the year’s uncertainty; renewable energy experienced significant growth. The U.S. solar industry grew at a rate of 13.2%. A global oversupply of solar panels lowered prices for American consumers, resulting in higher demand and greater profits for solar installation companies. SolarCity’s IPO proved to be successful despite claims that its stock would immediately plummet. And even with excessive political attacks by opponents of renewable energy – over $250 million spent in the 2012 election – the industry has gained strong public support across the country. Industries such as wind, biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, electric transportation, and solar have achieved success in 2012 but the next step in supporting growth is creating a more stable policy landscape.
**Originally published in The National Journal's Energy Expert Blog
By ACORE CEO and President, Vice Admiral Dennis V. McGinn
With the election behind us, let’s hope this is the end to an ugly era of polarization in American politics. Over the past few years, Americans have listened to political bickering across almost every spectrum of policy on the state and national level. Despite many differences between our two parties, bipartisan support for renewable energy is growing and policymakers should take note. Many different points of view are constantly being expressed on which programs and policies work best, but politicians should understand that Americans expect our government to bring more renewable energy to scale. If Congress extends the Production Tax Credit, one of the most notable renewable energy tax credits by the end of the year, this will be a valuable indication that Washington has the ability to work together to achieve bipartisan policies for the good of the nation.
If there were any doubts about the global potential for renewable energy, Michael Lewis, COO at E.ON Renewables, quickly put them to rest. Opening up Thursday's keynote at this years RETECH conference in Washington, D.C., Lewis told the audience renewables will continue to expand, with global capacity expected to increase three-fold by 2020. "When people ask me if renewables are just a niche, I show them the data we've put together," he said.
Lewis expects the industry to grow between seven to fourteen percent leading up to 2020. And he thinks investment dollars will follow, citing the seventeen percent year-over-year growth for renewables in 2011. He explained that in spite of the natural gas surplus in the United States, renewables like solar bring predictability to pricing, which reduces volatility in wholesale and retail utility markets.
October 11 -- On Thursday Google announced its 13th investment in a clean energy project over a three year period — the clean energy from all of these projects, like solar and wind farms, is enough to power 500,000 (U.S.) homes and Google has put in over $1 billion into these ventures. This time, the project is a large solar panel farm that’s being built in the Imperial County in California, and Google is investing $103 million into it. When fully constructed the solar panel farm, called Mount Signal Solar, will provide 265.7 MW of power, or enough for 80,000 homes. Utility San Diego Gas & Electric will buy all of the power from the project, and the farm is owned and will be operated by Silver Ridge Power (previously called AES Solar). >>View Article
September 10 -- It is one of the most iconic ports in the world, the dramatic backdrop to everything from ancient Roman sailing ships to World War Two military vessels and gas-guzzling speedboats.Now London's historic River Thames has played host to a new generation of boat -- one which could revolutionize not just the future of nautical design, but scientific research on the high seas. Introducing MS Turanor Planet Solar -- the world's largest solar-powered boat. >>View Article
August 29 -- Clean energy and clean transportation companies churned out some 38,600 new jobs in the second quarter of 2013, according to Environmental Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit that tracks cleantech. >>View Article
August 27 -- Apple Inc.’s second solar farm for its server operation in Maiden is expected to start operating in October, according to a filing the Cupertino, Calif., company (NASDAQ:AAPL) has made with the N.C. Utilities Commission. >> View Article
August 26 -- Solar stocks were long derided as underperforming dogs, sucker bait for idealists. But now several are having their day, and Exxon Mobil is the one in the doghouse. >>View Article
August 26 -- When it comes to renewable energy, Texas is a prime candidate to lead the way in many sectors, such as solar, which means jobs. To meet this need for trained personnel and staff to fill the host of positions, Houston Community College is kicking off its new solar energy program this fall at its central campus. >>View Article