In the last decade, clean energy in the U.S. has grown by leaps and bounds. Technologies that were once novelties – solar panels, wind turbines, LED light bulbs and electric cars – have become everyday parts of America’s energy landscape.
According to a new report by Environment America Research and Policy Center, the U.S. generates nearly eight times as much electricity from the sun and the wind than it did in 2007 – enough to power more than 25 million homes – and the average American uses 10% less energy than he or she did 10 years ago.
The report also cites a 20-fold increase in battery storage of electricity and the meteoric rise in sales of electric cars – from virtually none in 2007 to nearly 160,000 last year – as evidence that a clean energy revolution is under way across the U.S., according to Environment America.
A new Reuters report summarizes the the dark clouds hanging over the vibrant solar industry. The potential tariffs resulting from a trade dispute that could be placed on imported solar modules might potentially disrupt the robust job growth seen in the solar industry across the United States, and in particular might impact the growing market here in the Southeast, ironically the home for the Suniva, the solar module manufacturer based in Atlanta who's trade complaint started the imported solar module review by the Administration.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has developed a Solar PILOT Toolkit to assist the state’s municipalities in understanding and negotiating payment-in-lieu-of taxes (PILOT) agreements for solar projects larger than 1 MW, including community solar projects. Based on feedback from local government officials and solar industry representatives, NYSERDA developed the toolkit in response to the need for greater information on PILOT agreements as solar projects develop throughout the state.
States’ authority to enact clean energy policy was significantly bolstered last week in an important federal district court decision. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a challenge from fossil fuel companies that objected to an Illinois program to support nuclear generation because it hurt their bottom line. The case is important far beyond the nuclear context because it demonstrates that states have many strong tools to dictate their energy mix (including advancing renewable energy) without violating the Constitution or federal energy laws.
The leaders of some of the nation’s largest investor-owned utilities have a message for President Trump and his Department of Energy: Stay out of our grid planning.
Utility executives convened this week in Boston for the annual conference of the Edison Electric Institute, the trade group for U.S. IOUs. During panel appearances and interviews, they expressed hope that the DOE’s pending review of baseload generation would reaffirm that changes to the U.S. power mix do not threaten reliability.
“We have one of the most reliable generation fleets in the world,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, CEO of PNM Resources and the incoming chair of EEI. “Hopefully the study takes into account good utility planning and … will show what we've known for a long time, which is that we know how to plan the grid.”
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Wind and solar produced 10 percent of the electricity generated in the United States for the first time in March, federal energy officials said Wednesday. The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) monthly power report for March found that wind produced 8 percent of the electricity produced in the U.S. that month, with solar producing 2 percent.
The two sources combined to have their best month ever in terms of percentage of overall electricity production, EIA said. The agency expects the two sources topped 10 percent again in April but forecasts that their generation will fall below that mark during the summer months.
President Trump has promised to revive the coal industry and double down on fossil fuels, creating “so many energy jobs,” but he has not focused on the increasingly important role of renewable power in America’s energy economy.
Last year, the solar industry employed many more Americans than coal, while wind power topped 100,000 jobs.
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