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Wind Grows as Power Source in Kansas

March 20 -- After installing the second most new wind capacity in the United States in 2013, following on the third most in 2012, Kansas has blown past a number of states in its percentage of electricity generated from wind.

Based on its potential, however, the state has a long way to go. >>View Article

Efficiency Mark Helps First Solar Stock Rise

March 20 -- Wednesday was a good day for First Solar Inc.

First, the company announced it had set a world record for thin-film module efficiency at its Perrysburg Township plant.

Then the firm revealed its financial expectations for the next few years, which caused its stock price to soar.

The company announced that it had produced a cadmium-telluride photovoltaic module that achieved 17.0 percent total area module efficiency in tests performed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. >>View Article

Renewable Energy Isn't the End of America's Old Guard Utility Companies

March 20 -- A world with widely available clean energy is no longer part of some far-off future. Long dismissed as too expensive, too intermittent, or both, subsidies and technology improvements have made solar and wind energy more competitive with fossil fuels. U.S. capacity for wind-generated energy reached 61 gigawatts at the end of 2013—up from basically zero a decade before—while solar capacity reached 13 gigawatts, nearly 15 times 2008 levels. No longer a mere annoyance to the energy industry, clean energy sits on the precipice of double-digit market share: Credit Suisse predicts that renewables’ market share will rise from some 5 percent in 2012 to around 12 percent in 2025. >>View Article

Transforming Our Energy Future: Why It Matters

March 19 -- Several years ago Boulder voters authorized their City Council to explore the potential creation of a local electric utility. Since then staff, consultants and community experts have explored both costs and benefits. To date, these analyses have shown that a local utility is possible and would provide city customers a greener energy supply, higher reliability, better rates and a stronger voice in decision-making.

As this discussion has unfolded, some may have gotten the impression that the city wants to take over Xcel's business because we think we can run their business better than they do. What has gotten lost is clarity about the actual motivation.

We do not want to replicate Xcel's business. We want to transform it. >>View Article

Proposed Lake Erie Wind Farm Catches a New Breeze, Secures Key Green Support

March 19 -- Windmills may evoke images of swaying tulips and verdant hills, but those spinning blades cut a dash in the environment -- especially near the water...

That's why the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. is expressing relief and gratitude that its plans to erect the first wind farm on the Great Lakes has won the endorsement of leading environmental groups. >>View Article

From Putin, A Blessing in Disguise

March 19 -- There are a lot of people who seem intent on restarting the Cold War — in both Moscow and Washington. I am not one of them. But if we’re going to have a new Cold War, then I have one condition: I want a new moonshot.

The Space Race and the technologies it produced weren’t purely an offshoot of the U.S.-Soviet missile competition, but they were certainly energized by that competition. Well, if we’re going to go at it again, this time I want an Earth Race. I want America to lead in developing an energy policy that will weaken the oil-and-gas-autocracy of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and, as a byproduct, produce the technologies that will mitigate climate change, make America a global technology and moral leader and ensure that the next generation can thrive here on Earth. >>View Article

Innovating for an Uncertain Energy Future: Interview with Siemens Energy CEO Randy Zwirn

March 19 -- A lot can change in the energy sector over the span of a decade. Just ask Randy Zwirn. As President and CEO of Siemens Energy, Inc. and CEO of the Energy Service Division of Siemens AG, Zwirn has to peer into the future every day as he manages the decade-long development cycles typical of the company’s new energy products.

“If you go back here in the United States just to 2007, I think 135 coal-fired power plants were planned,” Zwrin reminded me, as we sat down for an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the MIT Energy Conference on February 21st. >>View Article

State Energy Chairman Talks About Selling Efficiency

March 19 -- Richard Kauffman, the Cuomo administration’s point man on energy policy, knows that energy efficiency and green energy can be a tough sell, mainly because of the upfront costs and long payback periods.

But Kauffman, the state’s chairman of energy and finance, thinks green energy would be an easier sell if its advocates paid more attention to what motivates consumers to spend. >>View Article

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