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Chuck Hagel: Climate Change Is a National Security Problem

December 2 -- Paris could succeed where Kyoto failed: It is remarkable that French security forces are taking on the international climate change conference in Paris in the shadow of the recent attacks. Then, the city reminded the world of the threat of terrorism. Now, it offers a promise for world leaders to address another national security challenge: climate change.

The agreement in Paris is expected to feature all countries voluntarily committing to reduce their emissions, and ensuring that their commitments are transparent and verifiable. >>View Article 

Mass. lean energy Sector Grows 12 Percent in 2015, Report Says

December 2 -- The Massachusetts clean energy sector enjoyed its strongest growth in 2015 since the state began tracking these jobs in 2010, with the local clean energy workforce expanding this year by nearly 12 percent to 98,900, according to a new report.

The quasi-public Massachusetts Clean Energy Center released its annual report on the industry on Tuesday, showing that jobs have grown consistently for five straight years: The number of jobs in the sector has risen 64 percent since 2010.

Employment growth in the sector occurred throughout the state this year, although in Western Massachusetts jobs increased by only 2.7 percent. The sector now represents 3.3 percent of the state’s entire workforce, according to the report. Slightly more than half of the companies have 10 or fewer employees. >>View Article 

Power Grid Becoming More Stable as Gas, Solar, Wind Boom

December 2 -- Fears that Texas might not have enough electricity in the years ahead have all but been extinguished by a flood of new gas turbines and solar and wind farms, the state’s grid operator said Tuesday.

In a report examining the grid’s power supply and consumer demand over the next decade, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said its reserve margin – the percentage of electricity available above what is used – will exceed 20 percent by 2017. The current minimum reserve level is 13.75 percent, a standard ERCOT almost failed to meet in the summer of 2014.

One of the principal drivers is a sudden boom in solar energy development in West Texas. Only expected to account for 295 megawatts next year – on a grid with a capacity of more than 79,000 megawatts – solar should account for almost 1,789 megawatts by 2017, ERCOT said. >>View Article 

The Falling Costs of Renewable Energy: No More Excuses

December 2 -- Historically, cost was cited as one of the primary barriers to switching from fossil-based energy sources like oil, coal and gas to renewable energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal.

But the narrative has now changed. Plummeting costs for renewable energy technologies are making a global energy transition not only possible, but actually less expensive than the alternative.

We already know the world's renewable energy resources are abundant, eternal and have the potential to fully meet global energy needs while reducing emissions and mitigating climate change. What many do not yet realize however, is that renewable energy technologies are increasingly beating both fossil fuels and nuclear energy on costs. While some renewable energy sources -- hydropower, geothermal and some forms of modern biomass -- have been broadly competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear energy for some time, solar photovoltaics (PV) and onshore wind energy have also now emerged as cost-competitive options. >>View Article 

The Silicon Valley Idea That's Driving Solar Use Worldwide

December 2 -- Silicon Valley has something to offer the world in the drive toward a clean energy economy. And it’s not technology.

It’s a financing formula. In a region that spawned tech giants Apple Inc. and Google and is famous for innovators and entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, a handful of startups began offering to install solar panels on the homes of middle-class families in return for no-money down and monthly payments cheaper than a utility bill. This third-party leasing method -- which made expensive clean energy gear affordable -- ignited a rooftop solar revolution with annual U.S. home installations increasing 16-fold since 2008, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research. >>View Article

Wind, Solar Power to Supply More Energy Than Shale, Goldman Says

December 2 -- New wind turbines and solar panels worldwide will provide more energy over the next five years than U.S. shale-oil production has over the past five, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The leading renewable-energy technologies will add the equivalent of 6.2 million barrels of oil a day to the global energy mix, exceeding the 5.7 million barrels a day pumped from U.S. shale oil wells since 2010, analysts including Brian Lee and Jaakko Kooroshy said in a research report Monday.

The findings come as world leaders gather in Paris to negotiate a global agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. While countries are setting targets for emission reductions in 2030 and 2050, Goldman Sachs said the biggest shift will occur over the next decade as demand for renewable energy, LED lighting and plug-in vehicles accelerates. >>View Article 

Ray Lewis Launches Clean Energy Non-profit

December 2 -- Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis announced Monday he is leading a new clean energy non-profit organization that aims to expand access to renewable energy in low-income communities.

The non-profit, Power52, aims to build clean energy projects in low-income areas of Baltimore and produce energy that can be used by people living in them.

The projects will help provide job training in the renewable energy sector for people in the communities, the non-profit announced. It also aims to give college or trade school scholarships for low-income people.

"Power52 will not only give people opportunities, but it will also educate people so that they can understand the importance of energy independence while cutting their utility bill," Ray Lewis said in a statement. >>View Article 

Airbnb Hosts Could Get Incentive for Going Solar

December 2 -- A solar energy company is rolling out a program that will offer incentives to Airbnb hosts to install rooftop solar panels on the spaces they rent through the home sharing service.

NRG Home Solar, a residential solar company a division of Houston and New Jersey-based NRG Energy, and San Francisco-based Airbnb, announced the new partnership to increase the adoption of solar energy on Monday.

The companies will provide incentives to existing and new members of the Airbnb community and travel credits to encourage individuals to experience home sharing system, which they companies call a more sustainable way to travel than hotels. >>View Article 

Bill Gates Expected to Create Billion-Dollar Fund for Clean Energy

November 30 -- Bill Gates will announce the creation of a multibillion-dollar clean energy fund on Monday at the opening of a Paris summit meeting intended to forge a global accord to cut planet-warming emissions, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

The fund, which one of the people described as the largest such effort in history, is meant to pay for research and development of new clean-energy technologies. It will include contributions from other billionaires and philanthropies, as well as a commitment by the United States and other participating nations to double their budget for clean energy research and development, according to the people with knowledge of the plans, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the fund.

The announcement of the fund, which has the joint backing of the governments of the United States, China, India and other countries, the people said, is intended to give momentum to the two-week Paris climate talks. >>View Article 

Unilever Aims to Use Only Renewable Energy by 2030

November 30 -- Consumer goods maker Unilever said it would switch to using only renewable energy by 2030 and would stop using energy from coal by 2020, as businesses jostle to highlight their green credentials ahead of a global climate summit.

World leaders were set to meet in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 to agree on a plan to curb global warming.

Unilever was among 81 companies, along with rivals Nestle and Procter & Gamble, that have signed up to set emissions targets for their businesses with the aim of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman is a leading advocate for the idea that there is a business case for sustainability even as his company's sales have slowed under the weight of a weak margarine business and slowing emerging market economies. >>View Article 

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