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Renewable Energy Continues to Beat Fossil Fuels

Clean energy grew at a record pace as the United States added 22GW of capacity — the equivalent of 11 Hoover Dams — to the grid from renewable sources last year, significantly trumping new fossil fuel additions, according to a new report.

The report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) cites the declining cost of wind and solar power, largely due to advances in technology, as prime reasons for the rapid adoption of renewables. The cost of building large utility-scale solar photovoltaic power plants for example has been fallen by 50% in just five years.

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Offshore Wind Moves Into Energy’s Mainstream

When engineers faced resistance from residents in Denmark over plans to build wind turbines on the Nordic country’s flat farmland, they found a better locale: the sea. The offshore wind farm, the world’s first, had just 11 turbines and could power about 3,000 homes.

That project now looks like a minnow compared with the whales that sprawl for miles across the seas of Northern Europe.

Off this venerable British port city, a Danish company, Dong Energy, is installing 32 turbines that stretch 600 feet high. Each turbine produces more power than that first facility.

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Renewables Made Up Majority Of New U.S. Capacity – Again

Renewable energy dominated new U.S. electrical generation put into service during 2016, according to nonprofit SUN DAY Campaign.

Citing stats from the latest issue of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update” report, SUN DAY says newly installed capacity from renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind) equaled 16,124 MW, or 61.5% of all new U.S. capacity added in 2016. SUN DAY says that exceeds newly installed capacity from natural gas (8,689 MW), nuclear power (1,270 MW), oil (58 MW) and coal (45 MW) combined.

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U.S. Electric Vehicle Sales Soared In 2016

Final numbers for electric vehicle (EV) sales in the U.S. were recently released for January. The 70% year-over-year increase in monthly sales continued the strong momentum from 2016. Following a 5% decline in sales from 2014 to 2015, U.S. EV sales jumped by 37% in 2016.

By year-end there were about 30 different EV offerings, with total sales of 159,139 vehicles. Five different models sold at least 10,000 units in 2016: Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Ford Fusion Energi.

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Md. House votes to override Hogan’s veto of stronger renewable-energy goals

Maryland’s House of Delegates voted 88 to 51 on Tuesday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill calling for stronger renewable-energy standards, leaving the Democratic-majority legislature one key vote away from enacting the legislation without approval from the Republican chief executive.

The Senate, which passed the bill last year with a veto-proof majority, is expected to vote on overriding the veto on Thursday.

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Two-thirds of Americans give priority to developing alternative energy over fossil fuels

President Donald Trump is promising major changes on climate and energy policy, including efforts to increase production from fossil fuel energy sources such as coal. But a new Pew Research Center survey finds that 65% of Americans give priority to developing alternative energy sources, compared with 27% who would emphasize expanded production of fossil fuel sources.

Support for concentrating on alternative energy is up slightly since December 2014. At that time, 60% said developing alternative energy sources was the more important priority.

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Tesla will power its Gigafactory with a 70-megawatt solar farm

Tesla plans to power its Gigafactory in Nevada with a 70-megawatt solar farm, according to a company investor relations document obtained by Electrek. The document, which The Verge confirmed was genuine, was given to analysts at a tour of the Gigafactory last week. At the same time, Tesla announced that it had started production of battery cells at the facility.

The 70-megawatt solar array installation planned for the roof is the biggest news, and Tesla claims it will be seven times larger than the world’s next biggest rooftop solar installation. The plan is for the Gigafactory to not directly consume any fossil fuels, and for the solar installation to provide most of the power needed by the facility. Any excess power generated during the day will be stored by Tesla Powerpack power storage batteries for use at other times. It’s likely that the solar panels will be produced by SolarCity, which Tesla acquired late last year.

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640 companies to Trump: Stay the course on clean energy

A total of 640 businesses and investors sent a letter to President-elect Trump and Congress on Tuesday, strongly urging continued investment in the clean energy sector. The letter, coordinated by the nonprofit group Ceres, which works with investors and companies to promote sustainability, contains big tech names like Adobe, SalesForce, eBay, HP, SolarCity, Symantec and Tesla.

In addition, the list includes many skiing companies, which are worried about losing their business in a warming world, eco-aware retailers like Patagonia and Levi Strauss & Company.

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New York State Plans 2400 MW of Offshore Wind by 2030

In a stunning development for clean energy in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that New York plans to build enough offshore wind capacity by 2030 to power 1.25 million New York homes, starting with a 90-megawatt project 30 miles off Montauk on Long Island’s South Fork.

This new commitment to 2400 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power came in his Long Island regional State of the State speech one day after he announced that the troubled Indian Point nuclear facility in Westchester County will close by 2021 and that the state plans to replace its power with clean energy and low-carbon energy resources.

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Report: Benefits of state renewable energy policies far outweigh costs

A new report from the national laboratories examined states’ renewable energy goals and found that, while renewables add costs, they more than make up for it in avoiding pollution and saving water.

For the first time, researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory took a look at state renewable energy portfolios and projected their costs and benefits decades into the future, as far as 2050.

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