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Innovation: Key to Reducing Carbon Emissions

July 16 -- Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled a proposal to reduce carbon emissions aggressively -- by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. It will create economic opportunities, improve public health especially among children and seniors, and curb the harmful impact of dirty power plants on the environment. It also avoids a potentially clumsy federal "one-size-fits-all" approach, by requiring and empowering each state to craft its own pollution reduction strategy. When each state is a laboratory, we are most likely to find the best practices. >>View Article

UMass prof: farmland, solar arrays can co-exist

July 16 -- SOUTH DEERFIELD — What if you could use open space to generate solar electricity and farm it at the same time?Stephen Herbert, a professor of agronomy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says this is more than a pipedream. A demonstration plot at a research station in South Deerfield is doing just that. >>View Article

Don't Let Big Oil Rig the Renewable Fuel Debate

July 15 -- The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which passed with strong bipartisan support in 2005, is a forward-looking policy that drives down the price of gasoline at the pump, creates jobs, provides investment in rural areas and reduces pollution in our air and water. >>View Article

Ky. Leaders' Coal Obsession Pushing Young to Relocate

July 15 -- While recently in Letcher County, I spoke with a young man who described the economic realities of living in Central Appalachia. He told me he had to choose between "going into the coal mines and destroying the land I love, going into military service and being forced to leave my family, or illegally selling prescription drugs."

Nearly a week earlier, I had spoken with a student from duPont Manual High School in Louisville who had decided he would leave Kentucky to go to college because he wanted to study software engineering for renewable energy infrastructure. >>View Article

Solar power sets a record in California

July 14 -- This factoid came across my desk a few weeks ago:

On June 1, California recorded a record hourly peak of 4,767 megawatts of solar electricity to the grid, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported.

In short, the folks who supply electrical power, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), are using record amounts of utility-generated solar, even if it is only about 5,000 MW out of a summer demand of 35,000 MW. >>View Article

How one island powered itself with a volcano

July 14 -- The eastern Caribbean island of Montserrat has suffered more than its fair share of natural disasters.

In 1989, Hurricane Hugo struck the island, causing massive destruction with more than 90 percent of the island’s structures damaged. In 1995, just as the island started to recover, the island’s Soufrière Hills volcano burst into life, entering a cycle of eruptive activity that continues to the present day. The eruption had an enormous impact on the island, killing 19 people, leaving two-thirds of the island nation uninhabitable and in 1997 completely burying the capital city, Plymouth, under yards of volcanic rock, ash and mud. More than half the island’s population of around 10,000 were compelled to emigrate.

Today, however, Montserrat is putting this violent geological heritage to good use. Known as the “Emerald Isle” of the Caribbean because of its historical ties with the Irish, Montserrat (in fact a British dependent territory) is poised to become one of the world’s few metaphorically “green” and sustainable islands. The same geological forces unleashed by the Soufrière Hills volcano are being harnessed to power the island’s electricity grid from a geothermal source. >>View Article

UPDATED: Iowa Supreme Court rules in favor of Eagle Point Solar

July 14 -- The Iowa Supreme Court ruled today that a local solar energy company did not act as a public utility when it attempted to enter a third-party power purchase agreement with the city of Dubuque.

In a split decision, the court ruled, 4-2, with one abstention, in favor of Eagle Point Solar, filing as SZ Enterprises, against the Iowa Utilities Board. The court found that the power purchase agreement (PPA) didn’t infringe on Alliant Energy’s exclusive operating area. >>View Article

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