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5 Drivers Making 100% Renewables Possible

December 4 -- Five years ago, it was a reality of the electricity sector that companies and governments could not expect to be powered by 100% renewable energy, except under exceptional circumstances.

The first U.S. municipality to get to 100% renewables was Greensburg, Kansas, in 2010, and that was because the city was wiped out by a tornado and rebuilt from its foundations.

But now, five factors are coming together in the energy industry to transform that reality, outlined in a new report from Clean Edge and SolarCity, the nation's leading rooftop solar installer. >>View Article 

Opinion: The Clean Power Plan Would Make the Air Latinos Breathe Significantly Cleaner

December 4 -- Coloradans know all too well the importance of the environment for our state’s tourism industry and the jobs it supports. But our families’ health is also deeply intertwined with the state of our environment. Hispanics suffer disproportionately from the carbon pollution that fuels the problem. For us, climate change is not a distant future event — it’s affecting us now.

As the world’s leaders gather in Paris to discuss a coordinated global agreement to roll back climate change, we need to keep in mind the immediacy of this issue for our community. >>View Article 

There’s a Workable Plan for Lowering Global Emissions by 40% in 20 Years

December 4 -- The long-anticipated United Nations Climate Change Conference began Nov. 30 in Paris and will continue through Dec. 10—yet there is almost no chance that it will produce an agreement anywhere near adequate for achieving the climate stabilization targets set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for 2050 or an intermediate target for 2035.

Despite significant pledges on behalf of their countries, political leaders throughout the world simply do not want to make major cuts in their consumption of oil, coal, and natural gas, which is the major source of global carbon dioxide emissions. Even putting aside the obvious self-interest and political power of both public and private fossil-fuel companies, most political leaders remain convinced that significantly cutting fossil-fuel consumption will slow economic growth and cost jobs—a price they are unwilling to pay. >>View Article 

City Deal Will Increase D.C. Government’s Solar Energy Capacity by 70 Percent

December 4 -- The District will soon install solar panels on the roofs and parking lots of 34 government-owned facilities, bumping the city government’s total solar energy capacity by about 70 percent, according to an announcement from Mayor Muriel Bowser this week.

Bowser hailed the project as one of the largest municipal onsite solar projects in the United States. The D.C. Department of General Services struck the agreement last week to purchase the power — known as a Power Purchase Agreement — with Nextility Inc., a D.C.-based energy company.

Officials estimate that it will save taxpayers $25 million over the deal’s 20-year term. >>View Article 

How Tech Is Pulling Ahead Of Politics In The Fight For Our Future

December 2 -- The future has yet to be decided -- and there's no reason to sit around and wait for bureaucrats to make all the necessary choices.

World leaders have converged in Paris for COP21, a conference on climate change that will, for the first time, work toward "a legally binding and universal agreement" to curtail the threat of global warming. With any luck, the 25,000 delegates from governments and agencies around the world will arrive at an accord that could mean better days are ahead for our planet.

Meanwhile, technology companies and entrepreneurs have already plowed forward, enabling substantial change that isn't tethered to a slow political process. >>View Article 

GE, MetLife Back Wind Farm That Will Run Microsoft Data Center

December 2 -- General Electric Co.’s energy financing unit and MetLife Inc. agreed to invest in an Illinois wind farm that will run Microsoft Corp.’s Chicago data center.

Microsoft agreed to buy the output from the 175-megawatt Pilot Hill project under a 20-year contract in its biggest wind deal to date, the companies said in a statement Tuesday. Terms weren’t disclosed.

The agreement comes as world leaders gather in Paris to negotiate a global agreement on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and shows that renewable energy is becoming cost-competitive with power produced by burning fossil fuels. For insurance companies like MetLife, investing in wind provides steady, long-term returns at a reasonable risk, said Stuart Ashton, director of the company’s lease and tax-equity investment group. >>View Article 

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 

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