March 31 -- Green, energy-saving technologies are essentially luxury products. Solar rigs and energy-efficiency upgrades require big upfront investments in equipment that may not pay off for many years. Spend $40,000 on solar panels for your roof, and you won’t get your money back in lower electricity bills for a dozen years or more. You’d have to drive a hybrid car tens of thousands of miles to recapture the extra costs in the form of lower spending on gasoline. As a result, going green has historically only been an option to those who can afford to make conspicuous displays of virtuous consumption—not the 1 percent, perhaps, but certainly the top 25 percent. >>View Article
March 26 -- Mitch McConnell, who is leading the fight to stop the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, pointed out last week that he has a surprising ally: “Iconic liberal constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe — who was President Obama’s constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School — said he agrees.” The lawsuit to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the greenhouse gas emissions of existing power plants would, if successful, close out the sole realistic channel that might allow the United States to comply with its international climate commitments, and thus likely doom any international agreement to limit the effects of climate change. The endorsement of Tribe, a famous liberal law professor, has become the right’s favorite talking point. Last December, The Wall Street Journal devoted an entire editorial to extolling this smackdown of Obama from an unimpeachably favorable source. “Professor Tribe delivered a constitutional rebuke this week to the Obama Administration,” the Journal gloated, “that is remarkable coming from a titan of the liberal professoriate.” Reason, the Daily Caller, Jonathan Adler, among others, have likewise touted Tribe’s defection to their side. >>View Article
March 26 -- Maui County, which includes the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai, is sticking to its ambitious goal of becoming the first islands in the United States to achieve 100 percent renewable energy. >>View Article
March 26 -- In Franklin County, Maine just a few miles from the Canadian border is Kibby Mountain. Over 3,600 feet above sea level, the mountain is home to hiking and snowmobile trails and beautiful evergreens. And today, the remote mountain is also home to the largest wind farm in New England.
With 44 turbines all standing nearly 300 feet tall, the Kibby wind facility has the capacity to generate enough power to meet the needs of approximately 50,000 homes – or every home in Franklin, Oxford and Summerset Counties in the state of Maine. >>View Article
March 26 -- Markets are making it clear that clean energy is good for business and is smart public policy. Earlier this year, 3M made a commitment to set quantitative goals for sourcing and/or production of renewable energy. This proactive, financially sound approach will reduce 3M’s greenhouse gas emissions as well as the company’s exposure to volatile energy prices. In Minnesota, 3M joins some of the state’s largest companies in committing to clean energy. With the private sector leading, will policymakers follow? Now is the time for Minnesota lawmakers to increase the state’s commitment to clean energy by setting a new 40 percent target for renewable energy and increasing energy savings to 2 percent annually. >>View Article
March 26 -- Last week we covered the then-upcoming solar eclipse, as well as European concerns that the event might cause catastrophic blackouts or failures across Europe. In reality, Friday, March 20, passed with no problems; the European power grid was adequately buffered and protected against the sudden drop-off of power generation, and handled the surge of PV panels coming back online with equal aplomb. >>View Article
March 25 -- A group backed by the Koch brothers is arguing a proposed constitutional amendment that would change Florida solar energy regulations will lead the Sunshine State down a dark path.
Americans For Prosperity Florida says a petition being circulated by solar advocates Floridians for Solar Choice is the wrong move for the state, and will result in higher costs and decreased competition. >>View Article
March 25 -- California’s big push into clean energy is seeing results as the state became the first with at least 5% of its overall electricity coming from large-scale solar projects last year. >>View Article
March 25 -- New data from the Minnesota Department of Revenue shows that wind energy production went up last year from 8.6 million megawatts in 2013 to 9.5 million megawatts in 2014.
Since 2004, Minnesota has now produced more than 56 million megawatts of wind energy. Those megawatts serve as a valuable homegrown resource, but they also help preserve one of Minnesota’s most important resources: water. >>View Article
March 25 -- On the average sunny day, Germany’s huge energy grid gets 40 percent of its power from the sun. Guess what happened one recent morning when the sun went into eclipse? Nothing.
Or close to nothing. When the moon hid the sun for a few hours, the backup natural gas and coal plants switched on. The price of electricity rose briefly. That was it. Solar again showed itself to be a reliable energy source under a tough challenge. >>View Article
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