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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

Poll: Two Jared Polis-backed energy measures would pass

July 14 -- A May poll shows support among a majority of Coloradans for two energy-related ballot measures backed by Rep. Jared Polis that critics maintain would hurt the state’s oil-and-gas industry.

The poll from Benenson Strategy Group asked voters about two of the proposed ballot measures, both backed by Polis, D-Boulder. Initiative 88 would require drilling rigs to be set back 2,000 feet from homes — four times the current state rule. Initiative 89 would create the so-called Environmental Bill of Rights. >>View Article

Gulf Stream gold: Mining green energy from Atlantic currents

July 14 -- The Gulf Stream meanders clockwise from the Gulf of Mexico, past the mid-Atlantic coast toward Europe. It is one of the most powerful currents in the world, and it is full of life.

Many species of pelagic fish, endangered marine turtles and other marine organisms roam the relentless conveyor belt of warm blue water unhindered, flowing beyond the shores of Florida. Their travels were relatively unhindered — until now.

Landbound humanity is hoping to capitalize on the Gulf Stream’s fast-flowing waters, eyeing them as a potential source of endless power and a possible solution to Florida’s energy needs. >>View Article

Despite Ohio Freeze, Renewable Energy Continues To Be Hot

July 11 -- Last month, Ohio Governor Kasich signed legislation putting a two-year ‘freeze’ on the state’s proven, successful, and money-saving renewable energy standard. Doing so, he is moving Ohio backward as other states move forward, developing job-creating CO2-neutral/CO2-light, clean renewable energy.

This new state law freezes economic growth in a sector that employs 25,000 people in Ohio, while costing Ohio consumers plenty of their hard-earned money. This news underscores two important things: first, the power of incumbent fossil fuel interests to pass damaging, unpopular legislation, and secondly, just how out of step Ohio’s elected officials are with their own constituents. >>View Article

Renewable fuel makes Ukraine less vulnerable

July 11 -- If Ukraine can build a renewable energy sector based on its vast agricultural production, it won’t need Russian energy and could, perhaps, protect its sovereignty to a much greater extent than it can today because of its Achilles’ heel of energy dependence.

Instead of propping up Ukraine’s inefficient energy sector, the United States and Europe should provide technical and financial assistance to Ukraine so it can pursue a renewable energy strategy that would promote its energy independence, provide jobs in rural areas, boost farm income and reduce greenhouse gases. >>View Article

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