2016 is shaping up to be a milestone year for energy, and when the final accounting is done, one of the biggest winners is likely to be solar power. For the first time, more electricity-generating capacity from solar power plants is expected to have been built in the U.S. than from natural gas and wind, U.S. Department of Energy data show. Continue reading.
Photo: A solar power plant in San Antonio, Texas. Credit: Duke Energy / Flickr
In the U.S. today, wind power accounts for about five percent of all electricity generation, but a new project aims to change that. A $300 million installation off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, takes the renewable energy technology out to sea. Gov. Gina Raimondo anticipates the project is the beginning of a new industry, but some locals are skeptical. Mike Taibbi reports.
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Fossil Fuel Divestments Now Represent $5.2 Trillion, Climate Central Investing heavyweights are moving their assets and funds out of fossil fuels at a record pace. A network of local governments, pension funds, faith organizations, philanthropies and wealthy individuals representing $5.2 trillion in assets have committed to — and in some cases already started — divesting from fossil fuel companies, according to a report released on Monday.
The wind resource in Iowa is so productive and the cost of wind energy has been falling so precipitously that the value of wind now far exceeds its cost there, according to an industry study released this week. The analysis, conducted by the American Wind Energy Association at the request of the non-profit Wind Energy Foundation, also claims that doubling the state’s installed wind capacity would lower the cost of power so much that the typical residential customer’s monthly bill would fall, possibly by as much as $10. Continue reading.
Kansas City Power & Light has opened its first solar farm, which will produce enough electricity to power nearly 440 homes. Located in Greenwood, Mo., the 12-acre-plus solar facility is nearly 100 times larger than KCP&L’s solar array at Kauffman Stadium. Click to read more.
Photo: Kansas City Power & Light’s first solar farm. Credit: John West
If a new electric power plant is built in the U.S. these days, chances are it’s renewable — either wind or solar.
That’s the gist of a report the U.S. Department of Energy released this week showing that, together, wind and solar accounted for nearly two-thirds of all new electric power plants built in 2015. It’s a trend expected to continue through 2016, even with low natural gas prices likely to keep utilities building plenty of gas-fired power plants, too. Click graphic to enlarge it.
This graph shows how much wind, solar and natural gas electric power generating capacity was built in 2015 compared to the previous year. Credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration
By Claire Trageser, NET Nebraska / Copyright KPBS-FM
San Diego is the largest city in the country to commit to using only renewable energy, a goal that political parties, environmentalists and business groups hope to meet over the next 20 years . . . Everybody’s on board now, but there could be trouble brewing on the horizon. The problem is whether to set up an alternative energy program that would put the city in charge of buying electricity instead of the power company. It’s called community choice aggregation. “Imagine if you only had a single option for wireless service,” says Ty Tosdal, an energy regulation lawyer. “It wouldn’t present any kind of competitive pressure on companies to bring their prices down.” Continue reading.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Study: Grid For Renewables Key to Cutting Emissions, by Bobby Magill, Climate Central Carbon dioxide emissions from generating electricity could be cut by 78 percent within the next 15 years if the country makes the same Herculean effort to expand solar and wind technology that it did to build the Interstate Highway System. That’s the conclusion of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study published Monday in Nature Climate Change, which shows that a new system of transcontinental transmission lines connected to wind and solar farms nationwide is the key to dramatically reducing emissions from the nation’s power plants. Photo Credit: Lollie-pop/Flickr