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Pennsylvania Focuses on Renewables in Latest Energy Plan

December 9 -- Pennsylvania’s path to a lower carbon future will include a significant expansion of renewable energy; fewer methane leaks from natural gas pipelines and coal mines; more efficient use of energy to power homes and businesses; new forest preserves; and more waste made useful as energy.

That vision, described in a new draft update to Pennsylvania’s climate change action plan, is a compilation of dozens of steps the Department of Environmental Protection says the state can take to help limit the damage caused by rising global temperatures, which the report calls “one of the most serious issues facing the world.”

Pennsylvania is the third largest emitter of energy-related carbon dioxide in the country. DEP is updating its strategy for reducing the state’s share of greenhouse gas emissions as representatives from around the world meet in Paris to reach a climate deal on the broadest scale. >>View Article 

Military Takes Clean Energy Seriously, and It’s Not Alone

December 9 -- Clean energy isn’t just for tree-huggers anymore.

Once upon a time, folks who talked about the environment fit a stereotype: they wore Birkenstocks, had long hair and smelled a … shall we say, particular way. They were very nearly cartoon characters imagined by those opposed to clean energy or unconcerned about climate change; they were unserious, and often championing pie-in-the-sky causes.

As a veteran of the Army, I don’t exactly fit that stereotype. And neither do an increasing number of Americans, all across the country, who are seeing the dangers of climate change and the benefits of clean energy. >>View Article 

Oregon Should Reap the Benefits of Offshore Wind Power

December 9 -- Oregon must be strategic in plotting steps for how we can best prepare our state for the economies of tomorrow. Like the rest of the world, our state is changing and we must leverage opportunities presented by the new economy to benefit our state's jobs and industries. As representatives from both labor and business communities, we sometimes have differing viewpoints on how to best approach our economy. But there is one area in which we are in clear agreement: Opening our energy market to the innovative offshore wind industry is a smart move our state should take now, to create clean, renewable energy for Oregon's future and support a strong job economy for Oregon workers. >>View Article 

Maine’s Emphasis on Clean Energy, Environment Pays Off

December 9 -- As world leaders gather in France, it is clear climate change poses challenges and unique opportunities for the United States. Here at home, there are few places where this is as readily apparent as the state of Maine, where environmental stewardship is directly tied to citizens’ way of life. From the state’s picturesque coastline and its maritime industries to its working forests and recreational landscapes, it is the environment that truly serves as the primary economic driver in the Pine Tree State. Thankfully, Sen. Susan Collins’ actions in support of domestic, affordable, clean energy solutions represent responsible approaches that will help ensure a better quality of life for future generations.

This year, the Clean Power Plan was announced as a national policy aimed at achieving a 32 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by the year 2030. As is often the case in Washington, political pressure has spurred division on the plan, along with efforts to block its implementation. Instead of seeking to terminate the plan in its entirety, Collins has worked to bring the federal plan in line with the work already being accomplished by government, private industry and energy consumers in Maine to address greenhouse gas emissions. >>View Article 

State's Largest Solar Array Now Generating Power at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport

December 4 -- Minnesota’s largest solar power project is now generating electricity atop two parking ramps at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The 3 million-watt system containing 8,705 solar panels went online Tuesday, and is expected to supply 20 percent of the electricity used in Terminal 1 and to cut carbon emissions by nearly 7,000 tons per year, airport officials said.

“It is a big deal for us,” said Dennis Probst, executive vice president for the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

The $20 million solar project is the first of two at the airport. The commission recently approved a plan to install a 1.3 million-watt solar array atop a parking ramp at Terminal 2, at a cost of $8.5 million. Construction is expected to begin next year. >>View Article 

Capitalism Can Survive Cutting Carbon

December 4 -- It has been a source of enormous pleasure for me during the past five years to see the solar power skeptics proven wrong. Back in 2010, I almost never saw articles about solar's potential to replace fossil fuels as our primary energy source. Then, in early 2011, futurist Ramez Naam posted one of the most important articles in recent history. The post, titled "Smaller, cheaper, faster: Does Moore's law apply to solar cells?", demonstrated how solar power prices had been declining exponentially at a steady clip for decades.

Naam quickly brought media attention to the solar revolution, and the floodgates opened. Suddenly, everyone -- including me -- was writing starry-eyed pieces about how solar would not only save us from Peak Coal and usher in an era of energy abundance, but might even save us from global warming in the bargain. >>View Article 

Long a Leader in Wind Power, Xcel Sees Advantages in Owning More Wind Farms

December 4 -- Top executives of Xcel Energy, long a national leader in wind power, said Thursday that they see further investment opportunities in wind farms, including acquisition of older projects whose electricity the utility now purchases under long-term agreements.

“It’s a great deal,” Ben Fowke, chief executive of the Minneapolis-based electric and gas utility, said about wind energy. >>View Article 

Al Gore To Investors: Invest In Renewables Or Risk Stranded Assets

December 4 -- PARIS—Investors should move their assets from fossil fuels to renewable energy not just for social or moral reasons, former Vice President Al Gore said here moments ago, but for their own financial health.

“Investors need to look at the pattern that is unfolding lest they be trapped holding stranded assets,” Gore told about a thousand reporters and diplomats gathered at COP 21, the Paris Climate Conference.

Smart investors already know, Gore said, there are many pathways to stranding. The UN climate effort is one, the effort by provinces that have launched carbon markets is another, and economic inevitability is the third:

“Another pathway to stranding is precisely this dramatic cost down-curve for renewable energy that is competing directly with carbon sources.” >>View Article 

UC Davis Obtains Largest Solar Power Plant on a U.S. College Campus

December 4 -- On Nov. 20, UC Davis and renewable energy company SunPower Corporation announced the completion of a 16.3-megawatt solar power plant. The project, which started in fall 2014, will provide 14 percent of the campus’ electrical needs and is the largest solar power plant on a U.S. college campus.

“This is a compelling example of how, with partners such as SunPower, we at UC Davis are reducing our carbon footprint,” said Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi in a press release. “By taking steps to aggressively reduce our carbon emissions, we can set an example to the nation and the world of what can be achieved when we combine political will with science and innovation.”

The plant is located on a 62-acres of land on the south side of Interstate 80 and is owned and operated by SunPower, who sells the energy to UC Davis. Along with the solar and hydroelectric energy the university already uses, the plant is part of UC Davis’ plan to acquire 60 percent of its energy from renewable and carbon-free sources by 2017. >>View Article 

Google Just Announced a Gigantic New Clean Energy Purchase

December 4 -- Due to the ongoing Paris climate conference, we’re in a season of major clean energy announcements — from Bill Gates’ coalition of billionaires pledged to support breakthrough technologies to stunning plans for Africa to install 300 gigawatts of renewable capacity by 2030.

And now Google, the company that has in many ways been the leader of corporate clean energy purchasing, has announced its biggest new move yet.

With the ultimate goal of powering everything that it does with clean energy, Google has been signing global “power purchase agreements” to buy clean energy, usually wind, in long term contracts. This electricity can then be used, either directly or indirectly, to power its data centers, which are major consumers of power. Thus, your Google searches, e-mails, and more are increasingly powered by wind and solar. >>View Article 

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