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States Are Leading Winds Of Change In U.S. Renewable Energy Revolution

Today, states are at the epicenter of America’s renewable energy revolution. And, because we have 50 state energy markets, big positive advances in state policy can accelerate the pace of this historic shift.

Consider that New York, the 3rd-largest U.S. state economy, has now committed to meeting 50 percent of its power needs from clean, reliable, low-cost energy sources such as wind by 2030. That makes it the 5th state to commit to a 50 percent or more target for clean power, joining Oregon, Hawaii, California and Vermont. Other states such as Kansas, whose wind energy production has nearly tripled in the past five years, have voluntary aims to achieve up to 50% of their electricity needs through wind energy.

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States review clean energy projects for New England region

Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts officials are joining with electric utilities to evaluate more than 50 solicitations from companies to build plants that would generate clean energy for all three states.

The states are hoping to leverage their combined purchasing power and attract projects they possibly couldn’t lure on their own. The goal is to ultimately lower consumers’ utility costs in a high-price region of the country, while also meeting respective clean energy and environmental goals in fuel cell, solar and hydropower election generation.

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Is blue the new green? Wave power could revolutionize the renewable-energy game

Unless you’re a surfer, a sailor or the owner of beachfront property during hurricane season, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about the power of waves. That may be changing soon.

Like a large, slowly building swell miles from shore, the wave-power revolution has quietly and gradually gained momentum. And this month it began the crest: The Department of Energy announced it would allocate as much as $40 million in funding to develop of the nation’s first open-water wave-energy-testing facility in a location to be determined.

When it comes to tapping the commercial viability of this renewable resource, we could be on the cusp of a tidal change. For decades wave energy has lagged behind wind energy and solar, in part because harnessing it is so complex. It involves a number of factors — the speed, height, direction of a swell and the intervals between swells — and more variables equal higher costs.

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Renewable Energy Generation Breaks Records Every Month in 2016

Electricity generation from wind, solar and other renewable energy technologies have set monthly records every month so far in 2016, based on data through June released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Wednesday.

"Both hydroelectric and nonhydroelectric renewables have contributed to this trend, but in different ways. After a lengthy West Coast drought, hydro generation has increased and is now closer to historical levels. Nonhydro renewable generation continues to increase year-over-year and has exceeded hydro generation in each month since February 2016," the EIA said.

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How Will a Clinton or Trump White House Affect Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy has made significant inroads into the U.S. energy system and even in the era of low fossil fuel prices, costs for solar and wind installations are down dramatically.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar industry trade group, costs to install solar panels fell by more than 70 percent over the last 10 years and during that time, solar saw a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 60 percent. The trade organization for the wind energy industry, the American Wind Energy Association, said costs are down more than 90 percent since the early 1980s.

Federal tax policy and renewable energy mandates from various states spurred much of the rapid development. With a new presidential administration set to take office in 2017, how much further federal renewable energy policy may expand, or if it may contract, could be determined by whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is elected.

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Colorado launches first low-income rooftop solar project

The Colorado Energy Office (CEO), Energy Resource Center (ERC), and Colorado Springs Utilities announce the installation of a 2kW rooftop solar power array as part of the state's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). The CEO WAP provides free, cost-effective energy efficiency measures to income-eligible households in all of the state's 64 counties. Historically, the WAP has only allowed energy efficiency measures, but the Department of Energy recently authorized CEO to be the first state to integrate rooftop solar into weatherization services. This project with ERC and Colorado Springs Utilities will demonstrate the feasibility of combining energy efficiency measures with rooftop solar energy offerings to help reduce utility bills for residents most in need—those paying more than 4 percent of household income on energy costs.

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Apple Becomes a Green Energy Supplier, With Itself as Customer

The words are stenciled on the front of the Apple Store, a glass box sandwiched between a nondescript Thai restaurant and a CVS pharmacy in downtown Palo Alto: “This store runs on 100 percent renewable energy.”

If Apple’s plans play out, it will be able to make that claim not only for its operations throughout California but also beyond, as the company aims to meet its growing needs for electricity with green sources like solar, wind and hydroelectric power.

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Offshore wind farm a green-energy milestone

The first offshore wind energy farm in the USA is up and nearly ready to go, marking a new chapter in the nation’s changing electricity grid. Thursday, workers finished installing the last of five turbines off Rhode Island’s coast, a little more than a year after the Providence-based developer Deepwater Wind first put steel in the water. “A lot’s happened over the last year,” said Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind. “I feel like the industry has really turned the corner.” As Grybowski spoke, a Norwegian ship called the Brave Tern and two other vessels mounted General Electric turbine nacelles — the housing for the generating equipment — on 270-foot towers in state waters 3 miles southeast of Block Island. Now that all the turbines are installed, the next step is commissioning and testing the equipment, which will take several weeks.

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Analysis Finds Wind Could Replace 6,000 Gigawatt-Hours of Coal in Colorado

In 2004, Colorado voters passed an initiative establishing, for the first time, a renewable energy standard (RES) through a popular vote. The legislative declaration for the initiative, Amendment 37, started with: “In order to save consumers and businesses money” and concluded with the idea that renewable energy should be developed to the “maximum practicable extent."

Colorado voters bet on the outcome of costs dropping for wind and solar energy as they were used more -- and it looks like the initiative’s promise is coming to fruition.

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Offshore wind farm completes construction

The nation’s first offshore wind farm completed construction Thursday when the final turbine blade was installed.

Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind, tweeted about the milestone Thursday afternoon at the Block Island Wind Farm, which the company is building off the coast of Block Island in Rhode Island.

When the project starts operation later this year, it will be the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the United States.

The $300 million Block Island project has five turbines with a total generating capacity of 30 megawatts — enough to power about 17,000 homes.

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