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Clean Power, Off the Grid

July 18 -- STANFORD, Calif. — AFTER years of hype, renewable energy has gone mainstream in much of the United States and, increasingly, around the world.

Enormous wind projects are moving ahead in oil- and gas-rich Wyoming, utility-scale solar projects are sprouting up in California and Nevada and tens of thousands of homeowners nationwide are installing affordable solar panels on their rooftops.

But many communities that need small-scale renewable energy remain out in the cold — literally and figuratively. >>View Article

Gov. Dayton: Minnesota should eliminate coal use

July 18 -- MINNEAPOLIS – Gov. Mark Dayton challenged energy policy and business leaders Thursday to find a way for Minnesota to eliminate coal from the state's energy production.

Dayton, who has spoken of his aim to eliminate coal before, said it's time to start talking details so that Minnesota can lead the nation. >>View Article

Paulsboro could benefit from leases for off-shore N.J. wind-energy projects

July 18 -- A federal government announcement on Thursday regarding leases for wind power projects off the New Jersey coast could be good news for Paulsboro.

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Thursday proposed sale of leases for nearly 344,000 acres offshore New Jersey for commercial wind energy projects.

U.S. Rep. Rush Holt says the leases could eventually generate enough electricity to power 1 million homes. >>View Article

Bringing Life to Renewable Energy

July 18 -- Renewable energy has struggled to take off in the country. Fed up of federal inaction, 30 states and the District of Columbia have instituted a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). That, of course, leaves 20 states that have not done so.

An RPS makes it incumbent upon a state, or even a country, to procure a certain amount of power from renewable sources, typically within a defined time frame. One of the most stringent standards can be found in California, where one-third of all electricity needs must be met by renewables by 2020. Arizona, on the other hand, has a much more relaxed regime. It aims for just 15 percent of generation through renewables, and that too only by 2025. >>View Article

Skyscrapers reach for greener energy goals

July 18 -- Owners of some of Chicago's most prominent buildings have committed to join an effort to slash energy use, after early participants reported a 7 percent reduction in less than two years.

Though the name of the game in building skyscrapers is to make them taller and grander, for those that sign on to Retrofit Chicago, the goal is to do more with less — cut energy consumption by 20 percent within five years.

"There are some buildings that did their entire five-year commitment in the first two years," Rebecca Stanfield, the Natural Resources Defense Council's deputy director for policy for the Midwest. "One of the big barriers we see to an uptake in energy-efficiency services is that while saving money may be high on a building executive's list, this isn't always the stuff they're paying attention to." >>View Article

A Bright Opportunity: Soft Cost Reductions for PV Installations

July 16 -- Solar energy is the most abundant source of energy available on the planet, and it has been harnessed in the conventional form of photovoltaic (PV) cells for over half a century. The improvements in efficiency and reductions in hardware costs in recent years have resulted cost decreases of over 40% and have led to significant increases in installments worldwide. In fact, 29% of electricity generation capacity added in 2013 came from solar installments. But staying ahead of climate change will take more significant adoption of renewables. Fortunately there are still plenty of opportunities to continue driving costs down and encouraging more widespread deployment. >>View Article

Biofuels industry amping up, report shows

July 16 -- Commercial airlines and ships are increasingly using biofuels to power flights, and that usage could grow even further in the coming years.

Biofuels will make up 6.1 percent of the United States' aviation and marine fuel market and generate $7.8 billion in revenue by 2024, according to a report released Tuesday by Boulder-based Navigant Research. >>View Article

Colorado and Denver land in the top 10 for clean tech

July 16 -- Colorado is No. 4 in the nation for producing eco-friendly and environmentally safe technology, according to the 2014 Clean Tech Leadership Index released Tuesday.

That's up from No. 5 in last year's index, which is compiled by San Francisco-based Clean Edge, Inc., a research and advisory firm. >>View Article

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

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