Wind power is cheap, renewable, doesn't harm the environment, and is expected to become one of the fastest growing sources of energy in the world. That means that the iconic wind turbine will become increasingly visible worldwide. And as is the case with anything iconic, the question is worth asking: why does it look the way it does? Why does it have three blades?
Everything is about to change for a small area in Southwest Florida as Kitson & Partners unveiled today their development of the world’s first solar powered town.
Babcock Ranch, when finished, is not only the nation’s largest development currently underway, but will also be the first town primarily powered by the sun.
“Babcock Ranch will exemplify what it means to be a town of the future, offering residents a highly unique balance of the most technologically advanced infrastructure and amenities, with ready access to a rich natural environment and a true sense of community,” said Syd Kitson, Kitson & Partners Chairman and CEO.
All of the Apple iMessages you send from your iPhone or Mac are powered by renewable energy, Apple says in a new ad launched for Earth Day.
In an ad titled “iMessage—Renewable Energy,” Apple explains how whenever a person sends a message, including text and emojis, to another person via iMessage, they run through the company’s data centers. The iMessages are then directed to the recipient from Apple’s data center.
“Every time you type ‘what’s up’, it makes its way here: to an Apple datacenter,” the company says in the ad, which combines graphics and text to make its point. Apple added that all of its data centers are completely powered by renewable energy, including solar and wind.
The United States used less energy in 2015 than in 2014, and it did so with less waste, according to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's annual examination of the country's demand, TreeHugger reports. LLNL estimated U.S. energy consumption in 2015 was 97.5 quadrillion BTU. For reference, 3,600 BTU is equivalent to about 1 kWh. The largest change from year to year was a 12% decline in coal, almost entirely attributable to the electric power sector, LLNL said.
Installing solar panels on your roof is not just for tree-hugging environmentalists. The increasing ease of the process and the financial returns have made going solar practically mainstream. Washingtonians are embracing solar power in a big way. In the District, residential solar installations have tripled since 2011, said Chelsea Barnes with EQ Research. “By the end of 2020, the amount of installed solar capacity will be 300 percent higher than today,” said Dan Whitten, vice president of communications at the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Nationwide, it grew 10 times between 2008 and 2015.”
The U.S. Senate acted in a bipartisan fashion to pass a sweeping energy bill, touching on everything from cybersecurity for power plants to the future of the grid. The bill resulted from collaboration between Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Washington Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell.
The solar power industry is about to get a big boost in San Francisco. On April 19, the city’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to become the first major US metropolitan area requiring that new buildings install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on their roofs. California already mandates that new buildings with 10 floors or less designate at least 15% of their rooftop area (pdf, p8) as being ready for solar panel installation. The city of San Francisco now requires that builders actually install solar panels in these areas (at a minimum) starting in 2017. Larger buildings are exempt for now.
The District of Columbia is sailing ahead on wind energy, having signed the largest wind power deal ever made by an American city. That agreement means a Pennsylvania wind farm will generate 35 percent of the city government’s electricity over the next 20 years.
The sharply divided U.S. Senate is poised to pass comprehensive energy legislation for the first time in nearly a decade, forging a rare bipartisan compromise -- even if the result is far less ambitious than energy packages of years past. "It’s probably not going to be known for the sweeping changes it makes to the U.S. energy system," said Sarah Ladislaw, director of the energy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "But it is a big deal because it shows bipartisan energy policy is still possible. In this Congress, in energy policy, that matters."
A new analysis released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) shows that strengthening Michigan’s clean energy policies, together with a national carbon emissions-trading program, provides a sensible way for the state to deliver significant health and economic benefits to residents and comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
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