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Report: Michigan, Minnesota among clean energy ‘success stories’

Michigan and Minnesota are exemplar Midwest states when it comes to state-level policy pushing for clean energy development, according to a recent report from the Georgetown Climate Center. Michigan is credited largely for its commitment to energy efficiency, which has been emphasized by Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration as state lawmakers craft sweeping energy policy reform. The administration has also been proactive in modeling the state’s electric-generation future in the context of the Clean Power Plan as well as the state’s largest utilities’ closing several coal plants. Meanwhile, the report credits Minnesota for reducing in-state carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 28 percent between 2005 and 2013 due to strong renewable energy and efficiency standards. The state’s Climate Solutions and Economic Opportunities project also identifies chances for more clean energy advancement, such as a 50 percent renewable energy standard and more investment in energy efficiency.

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The new Tesla is powering an entire island with solar energy

SolarCity, the company Tesla officially acquired on Monday, is powering nearly the entire island of Ta’u in American Samoa with solar power.

SolarCity developed a microgrid with 1.4 megawatts of solar generation capacity — enough to power nearly 100% of the island, according to a SolarCity blog posted on Tuesday. The microgrid is enabled by 60 Tesla Powerpacks, the company's large commercial battery, which can store solar energy at night. The solar array is composed of 5,328 solar panels that can run the entire island on solar energy for three days. The system can fully recharge with just 7 hours of daylight.

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EPA head: Clean energy train ‘has already left the station’

The outgoing head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is cautioning against going back on President Obama’s climate agenda. EPA chief Gina McCarthy didn’t mention President-elect Donald Trump by name at a National Press Club event on Monday, but repeatedly warned against the pitfalls of ignoring climate change or reversing what Obama has done to fight it. “Science tells us that there is no bigger threat to American progress and prosperity than the threat of global climate change,” McCarthy said. “And if you take absolutely nothing else from my speech today, take this: The train to a global clean energy future has already left the station.”

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Clean Energy Is Powering American Jobs, Health And Security

The clean energy economy is taking off. It’s bringing new opportunities for U.S. businesses, entrepreneurs, investors and consumers. If President-elect Trump is serious about his promise to create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, then he should push America toward a strong, clean energy future.

Clean energy means will bring more predictable and lower energy costs for U.S. manufacturers, cleaner air and water for American families, and a more secure country, with more energy choices for every American home. It would also create economies of scale for cost-competitive, American-made clean energy products to be exported abroad.

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How Electric Vehicles Are Becoming a Tool for Grid Stability

A high penetration of renewables has started to cause resource-planning issues for some states, such as California and Hawaii. Not only do grid operators have to prepare for a spike in electricity usage in the late afternoon, they also have to account for negative pricing and potential over-generation in the late morning and early afternoon -- an issue commonly known as the duck curve.

Electric vehicles (EVs), if managed properly, could offer a solution. The increasing complexity on the grid caused by renewables has created the need for more flexible resources. A recent set of reports from GTM Research identify EVs as an important part of the integrated resource planning process with the ability to mitigate duck curve issues. “The EV market is moving toward minimizing its impact, and actually producing some positive feedback for the grid,” said Timotej Gavrilovic, analyst at GTM Research and author of the EV reports.

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Tidal Power Developers Bet on Sea Change in Indonesia Renewables Sector

A well-connected Indonesian marine renewable energy company and OpenHydro, a unit of French state-owned naval defense company DCNS, aim to be the first to plug into the vast untapped tidal energy potential of the world’s biggest archipelago.

Renewables have so far played little part in Indonesia’s power sector, despite the country sitting on the world’s biggest geothermal reserves and being bathed in sunshine, crowded out by an abundance of cheap coal and bureaucratic bottlenecks. But declining costs of renewable electricity and a new push by President Joko Widodo to develop renewables in the remote eastern parts of the archipelago are changing the picture.

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Amazon Brings on Five New Solar Projects to Power Its Cloud

Amazon Web Services is bringing on five new solar farms to help power its massive cloud data centers. The new solar facilities, all in Virginia, will bring 180 megawatts of power onto the grid by the end of next year, the company announced late Thursday. Those new facilities, along with Amazon’s existing plants, are expected to provide 580,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy annually.

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In Washington, DC, People Are Using Their Feet To Turn On The Lights

A new kind of populist movement is underfoot in the nation’s capital – and it has nothing to do with politics or the election. The movement – happening just blocks from the White House – is coming from thousands of commuters marching their way across Dupont Circle. Today, those rushing feet are finally being put to work. A few new chunks of high-tech sidewalk are opening up on the south end of the circle today that capture the energy walkers use to push their feet off the ground, and turn it around to power up LED streetlights.

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Tesla Seals $2 Billion SolarCity Deal

Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc. officially moved beyond cars and became a clean-energy company Thursday, as shareholders overwhelmingly approved the acquisition of SolarCity Corp. The deal, valued at about $2 billion, will integrate the maker of all-electric cars and batteries with the installer of rooftop solar panels. More than 85 percent of Tesla shares voted in favor of the merger.

The deal, which sparked controversy over debt and corporate-governance concerns, is a win for Musk’s vision of Tesla as one-stop shopping for consumers eager to become independent of fossil fuels. Now comes the task of integrating two companies that have a track record of fleeting profits and frequent fundraising needs--not to mention thousands of employees.

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