Lt. Governor Tina Smith and the Minnesota Department of Administration has announced a new partnership with Xcel Energy called the Renewable*Connect Government Pilot Program. The new initiative will ensure that 33% of the base energy used at the State Capitol Complex comes from renewable sources. If approved by the Public Utilities Commission, the program will provide a reliable and stable supply of solar and wind energy on a long-term basis, and serve as a template for other government customers to purchase utility scale renewable energy packages.
While legal experts are debating EPA’s Clean Power Plan in Washington next Tuesday, the U.S. business community is galloping ahead on the clean energy future. From General Motors to Bank of America to Apple, dozens of iconic companies are now fully committed to running their companies with 100 percent renewable energy. The writing is on the wall: clean energy has arrived and fossil fuel power generation is fading. And a favorable Clean Power Plan ruling will hasten this transition, benefiting both our global climate, which is over-heating due to carbon pollution, and businesses that want policy certainty in dealing with this threat. By enacting this rule, all 50 states will be on the path to lowering the carbon footprint of their electric power plants.
According to a new report published by the World Energy Council in partnership with CESI S.p.A., renewables, including hydro, now account for over 30% of the total global installed power generation capacity and 23% of total global electricity production. In the past 10 years, wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) have witnessed an explosive average annual growth of 23% and 50% respectively, although their combined contribution to the global electricity supply is currently only 4%, according to “Variable Renewables Integration in Electricity Systems 2016 – How to get it right”. The Report draws upon 32 country case studies, representing about 90% of installed wind and solar PV capacity worldwide. Renewables have become big business: in 2015 a record USD 286 billion was invested in 154 GW of new renewables capacity (76% in wind and PV), by far overtaking the investment in conventional generation to which 97 GW were added.
Off the coast of Hawaii, a tall buoy bobs and sways in the water, using the rise and fall of the waves to generate electricity. The current travels through an undersea cable for a mile to a military base, where it feeds into Oahu's power grid — the first wave-produced electricity to go online in the U.S. By some estimates, the ocean's endless motion packs enough power to meet a quarter of America's energy needs and dramatically reduce the nation's reliance on oil, gas and coal. But wave energy technology lags well behind wind and solar power, with important technical hurdles still to be overcome. To that end, the Navy has established a test site in Hawaii, with hopes the technology can someday be used to produce clean, renewable power for offshore fueling stations for the fleet and provide electricity to coastal communities in fuel-starved places around the world.
Nikola Tesla, the engineer for whom the Tesla Motor company was named, once worked for Thomas Edison. In 1885, Tesla left Edison's company, prompting the famous "War of the Currents," but it looks like their "descendants" have buried the hatchet in an effort to build a greener, more prosperous future. Tesla recently announced that the company has signed a contract with Southern California Edison. Tesla will provide Edison with twenty megawatts worth of Powerpacks, with a capacity of 80 MWh, to reduce the state's reliance on "peaker" electric plants that run on natural gas. This is part of a larger trend to use batteries in place of peaker plants; California alone hopes to install 1300 MW of battery power over the next four years. This will have ramifications for related industries such as renewable energy, electric vehicles, and even consumer electronics.
General Motors Co. said Wednesday it is committing to power all of its global operations completely by renewable energy by 2050. The Detroit automaker said its goal is to generate or source electrical power for 350 facilities in 59 countries with renewable wind, sun and landfill gas energy during the next three-plus decades. This year, GM expects to have 3.8 percent of electricity use come from renewable resources. “Establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal helps us better serve society by reducing environmental impact,” GM Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “This pursuit of renewable energy benefits our customers and communities through cleaner air while strengthening our business through lower and more stable energy costs.”
LAS VEGAS — Discussion is picking up on the Energy Choice Initiative, with more people taking public positions on the ballot measure that aims to deregulate electrical service in Nevada. Here are things to know about Question 3:
HOW DOES IT WORK?
If the measure passes the statewide ballot in November and again in 2018, it will enshrine in the Nevada Constitution the right for customers to choose their energy provider and to produce their own power to sell to others. It directs the Nevada Legislature to pass laws authorizing an open, competitive electricity market by mid-2023.
A “yes” vote supports changing the constitution; a “no” vote keeps it the same.
Nevadans for Affordable, Clean Energy Choices, the PAC backing the measure, announced last week that it’s assembling a team of experts to research how 14 other states have transitioned to open energy markets. Deregulation can take many forms and has had mixed results in the states where it was implemented. Experts say the devil is in the details as Nevada designs its plan.
As part of a last-minute $900 million cap-and-trade revenue allocation deal, $133 million in new funding for the state’s clean energy vehicle program has been approved by the Californian legislature and Governor Jerry Brown, according to recent reports.
This is good news for those who thought it prudent to put their names on the waiting list for the program, despite it being out of funds as of late. There are changes being made to the program in conjunction with the new funding that may affect some people, though. In particular, eligibility will be limited to those who have an income below $150,000 (single filers) or $300,000 (joint filers). The previous limits were $250,000 for single filers, and $500,000 for joint filers.
The changes will go into effect on November 1st, according to the Department of Finance.
BOSTON - U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced the publication of a collaborative strategic plan to continue accelerating the development of offshore wind energy in the United States, the National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the United States, which could help enable 86 gigawatts of offshore wind in the United States by 2050. The strategy details the current state of offshore wind in the United States, presents the actions and innovations needed to reduce deployment costs and timelines, and provides a roadmap to support the growth and success of the industry.
Costa Rica is pulling off a feat most countries just daydream about: For two straight months, the Central American country hasn’t burned any fossil fuels to generate electricity. That’s right: 100 percent renewable power. This isn’t a blip, either. For 300 total days last year and 150 days so far this year, Costa Rica’s electricity has come entirely from renewable sources, mostly hydropower and geothermal. Heavy rains have helped four big hydroelectric dams run above their usual capacity, letting the country turn off its diesel generators.
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