By Rob Davis, Director, Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy
Driven by rapidly declining costs and 100 percent clean energy commitments from corporations and municipalities, demand for large-scale solar energy development is surging. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) forecasts farmers and other landowners will lease 2-3 million acres of land for ground-mounted solar arrays by 2030, a 10-fold increase from 2020.
This rapid bloom in leasing land to produce solar energy isn’t just a lifeline for farmers looking to stabilize on-farm income, it’s also a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create habitat at scale to help species critical to agriculture and ecosystem health. Climate change and loss of habitat pose significant threats to honey bees, bumblebees, monarch butterflies and a wide variety of pollinators. A recent global analysis found that 40 percent of pollinator species may be at risk of extinction in the coming years. Continue reading here,
Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy: ENGIE project in Vermont
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
- Inside Clean Energy: Here Is How Covid Is Affecting Some of the Largest Wind, Solar and Energy Storage Projects, by Dan Gearino. Today, I’m going to zero in on what’s happening with some of the country’s largest wind, solar and battery storage projects that were previously scheduled to be completed this year. I asked developers for updates. The companies that responded are reporting, at worst, small delays, which add up to no more than a few months of lost time. This is good news, signaling that while the economic disruption caused by the virus is great, major projects are still going forward.
- A New Response to Coronavirus: Giving Solar Away for Free, by Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media. Solar companies are offering unprecedented deals to homeowners and businesses. Is it enough to revive wilting sales?
- Michigan’s largest batch of wind turbines is up and running, more to come this year, Detroit Free Press
- A new vision for farming: Chickens, sheep, and … solar panels, Christian Science Monitor
This story was published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story..
- Regenerative Farming/Carbon Sequestration: Four decades of no-till study proves nature knows best, Midwest Messenger Reporter
AWEA INTO THE WIND BLOG POSTS
American wind power supports COVID-19 relief efforts in communities across the country
Our society and economy continue to grapple with the unprecedented challenges COVID-19 presents. Ensuring the wind energy workforce’s safety and protecting U.S. wind jobs remains the top priority, and when the economy can safely reopen, wind power stands ready to play a leading role in the recovery. However, communities across the country are struggling right now, and the U.S. wind industry is doing its part to aid in the recovery effort.
Fact check: New Michael Moore-backed documentary full of errors, fundamentally misunderstands electric system. A new Michael Moore-backed documentary has been released that examines the climate crisis and the lack of progress made so far in combating the problem. Unfortunately, and somewhat strangely, the filmmakers chose to focus much of their attention erroneously critiquing a leading climate solution—renewable energy. Let’s set the record straight on where this film gets it wrong. See this article for an in-depth look at the film’s problematic portrayal of solar power.
FROM WIND EXCHANGE – DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWSLETTER
The wind industry needs a broad range of workers, including turbine engineers, project developers, and supply chain managers, to support growth. Unfortunately, employers report difficulty hiring well-qualified candidates to support this growth, while graduates have also had difficulty finding jobs. Follow these tips from wind energy professionals to help narrow this gap and learn how to breeze into the wind energy workforce.
Rooftop Wind Power Might Take off by Using Key Principle of Flight, by Scientific American, EcoWatch
Solar panels perched on the roofs of houses and other buildings are an increasingly common sight in the U.S., but rooftop wind systems have never caught on. Past efforts to scale down the towering turbines that generate wind power to something that might sit on a home have been plagued by too many technical problems to make such devices practical. Now, however, a new design could circumvent those issues by harnessing the same principle that creates lift for airplane wings.
Image: An artist’s rendering of AeroMINES along the edge of a roof and combined with solar arrays. Sandia National Laboratories
Google Tests Load-Shifting at Data Centers to Capture the Grid’s Peak Clean Energy Hours, Greentech Media. In its quest for 24/7 renewables, Google tries scheduling “non-urgent” computing tasks at times of maximum wind and solar output.
Previously Posted: Google is a member of two regional transmission organizations: Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).