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Paris Climate Deal Seen Taking Effect Two Years Ahead of Plan

The global climate change agreement brokered in Paris in December by 195 nations will come into effect two years earlier than originally planned, the top United Nations climate diplomat predicted. “You heard it here first: I think that we will have a Paris Agreement in effect by 2018,” Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said during a question-and-answer session after delivering a lecture Monday at Imperial College London. The prediction suggests that countries may initiate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions earlier than expected, and increases the chances of meeting the pact’s ultimate goal of limiting the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since industrialization began.

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America’s Shining Cities 2016

Cities are a driving force behind the U.S. adoption of solar energy. According to Environment California, the United States currently has 27 GW of installed solar capacity, and much of that comes from more than 780,000 rooftops around the nations. Cities are not just centers of demand, but are also potentially major providers of electricity. Those are a few of the facts found in America’s Shining Cities 2016.

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SolarCity Closes $338 Million Round for Commercial Solar and Energy Storage, Plus Residential

SolarCity closed two major rounds of funding this week that will give a boost to its residential and commercial solar businesses, and could possibly breathe new life into a languishing commercial and industrial (C&I) solar market. On April 7, the California-based company announced it had closed the second round of financing as part of its renewable energy tax equity investment program with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and another investor. The program will finance approximately $188 million in solar projects, covering the upfront cost of the solar equipment and installation.

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Report: State renewable energy standards succeeding, at little cost

States with renewable portfolio standards have been highly successful at meeting their targets, with a handful of states setting higher targets within the past year while at the same time average compliance costs added an average of 1.3 percent to customer bills. Those are among the findings of an annual report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that looks at the mandatory renewables policies in 29 states and the District of Columbia. "RPS policies are just one part of the larger renewable electricity pie," said Galen Barbose, the research scientist who authored the report, which is presented as a graphics-rich slide deck. "Which is to say there is a lot of renewable energy development happening outside of these programs. But that's not to say these programs haven't been impactful and a critical driver for some of that growth," he said in an interview.

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More than 130 countries will sign climate deal on Earth Day

The United Nations says more than 130 countries have committed to sign the Paris climate change deal during a kickoff ceremony on April 22, Earth Day. In a statement, the U.N. said representatives of the nations, including 60 world leaders, will meet in New York in two weeks to sign the landmark climate deal, hatched by negotiators in Paris in December.

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Offshore wind needed for New York's 50% energy goal, energy czar says

Offshore wind development will be necessary for New York to achieve its 50% renewable energy goal by 2030, according to the state’s Energy and Finance Chair Richard Kauffman, recently appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to help reform the state's energy system. Though offshore wind has struggled to compete with other energy sources on cost, Kauffman told Bloomberg the ability to tap high-capacity-factor wind energy near the coast of New York could help the resource compete with other central station renewables, many of which would require large transmission projects to deliver energy to the state. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) last month officially designated a 127 square mile tract off the New York coast as a wind energy development area.

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Maryland Senate passes 25% RPS in clean energy jobs bill

Maryland senators yesterday voted 31-14 to expand the state's renewable energy goals, boosting targets solar and wind targets to 25% by 2020.The higher goals would would make Maryland's renewable target the sixth highest nationally, behind Vermont, California, Hawaii, New York, and Connecticut.

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Wind and Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels

Wind and solar have grown seemingly unstoppable. While two years of crashing prices for oil, natural gas, and coal triggered dramatic downsizing in those industries, renewables have been thriving. Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015 and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels.

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Banks Pledge $7 Billion to Scale Up Clean Energy Investment

A group of eight banks and investors pledged $7 billion to join Bank of America Corp’s initiative that plans to raise at least $10 billion for investments in clean energy and sustainable development.HSBC Holdings Plc, Credit Agricole SA, AllianceBernstein Holding LP, Babson Capital Management LLC and Mirova, a unit of Natixis SA, are among those to join the Catalytic Finance Initiative, according to a joint statement by the banks Wednesday. Bank of America created the initiative in 2014 to stimulate at least $10 billion of new investment in clean energy projects through improving financing structures that could reduce the risk of investing in low carbon infrastructure. Today’s announcement takes the total raised to $8 billion, according to a spokesman for HSBC.

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Study: State-driven energy policies can establish economic stability

State policies that promote advanced energy technologies could stimulate more than 160,000 new jobs annually in the Southeast and establish long-term economic stability for states from Florida to Virginia, new research from the American Jobs Project shows. In Rust Belt states Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, advances in wind and solar power, along with smart buildings and energy efficiency, could drive the creation of an additional 50,000 high-wage jobs annually, the Berkeley, California-based group found.

"Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on industrial clusters can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced energy industries that dovetail with a state's own strengths," Hank Love, project manager for the American Jobs Project, said of a series of new reports focused on job growth in 10 states.

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