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Strong Clean-energy Standards Are Good Business for Michigan

November 25 -- Rewriting Michigan's energy plan has been a major objective in Lansing this year, and the decisions made in the coming weeks will affect Michigan families and businesses for years to come. Unfortunately, the plan under consideration in the state House still falls short when it comes to promoting clean energy and keeping costs down. As a business owner who wants to power my business with more clean, efficient and renewable energy, I know Michigan can do much better.

Due to advances in technology, clean, renewable energy is now often the cheapest source of electricity available. The Michigan Public Service Commission recently estimated the combined cost of renewable energy generation and energy waste reduction at $37 per megawatt hour, while the combined cost of all power generation is $64 per megawatt hour. Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy, recently summed it up well by saying, "The renewable energy we're adding is actually helping to lower energy prices because it's so competitive." Renewable energy is making our electricity bills cheaper, plain and simple. >>View Article 

Google is First Customer of Duke Green-energy Program

November 25 -- Google will become the first customer of a Duke Energy program to bring renewable power to energy-hungry companies, the two said Tuesday.

Duke will buy energy from a 61-megawatt solar farm, the second-largest in the North Carolina, to be built in Rutherford County. Google will buy energy credits that represent the electricity generated for its Lenoir data center.

Google has collaborated with Duke to create the program, known as the Green Source Rider, since doubling its $600 million investment in its Lenoir facility in 2013.

The rider is intended to help customers that use a lot of power, like Google, meet corporate sustainability goals while encouraging development of green energy. >>View Article 

Another View: Climate Policies Will Help Poorest Californians

November 25 -- For those who struggle to pay their rent and put food on the table, California’s status as the world’s seventh-largest economy is meaningless.

I appreciate Dan Walters’ concern for the poor. However, having been raised in poverty and representing one of the poorest Senate districts in the state, economic inequality is a constant in my reality.

While California’s job growth outpaced all other states in 2014 and unemployment is 5.8 percent, the lowest since October 2007, not enough is being done to share the bounties of a recovering economy with the poorest Californians. Walters reveals shortsightedness as he clings to a harmful carbon-based economy, while failing to acknowledge the economic and health benefits of our climate change policies to these very communities. >>View Article 

Gov. Cuomo to Order Large Increase in Renewable Energy in New York by 2030

November 23 -- Frustrated by the pending shutdown of two nuclear power plants on Lake Ontario, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans to order state regulators to mandate that, by 2030, half of all power consumed by New Yorkers be generated from renewable sources that emit much less carbon dioxide, people briefed on the matter said.

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has already declared a goal of having 50 percent of the state’s power come from solar, wind, hydroelectric or other renewable sources in 15 years, but the state has had no means of enforcing that directive. The governor intends to have the Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in the state, codify the requirement, these people said. Some of them, including a Cuomo administration official, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not have permission to discuss the proposed mandate. >>View Article 

Texas Wind and Solar Power Could Compete with Fossil Fuels in Just a Few Years

November 23 -- Wind and solar power competing evenly with their fossil fuel counterparts without federal subsidies could come in just a few years in Texas and other areas, while it may take another 15 years or more in other parts of the country, according to reports released this week.

The “paradox” slowing renewable power growth somewhat is that the regions with the greatest natural resource potential for wind and solar, like the southwest and mid-continent, already have relatively cheap power prices that make it harder for wind and solar to compete, while the northeastern part of the country with more expensive power has weaker resource potential, according to the “Journey to grid parity” report from the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions. >>View Article 

She Leads the Solar Industry's Expansion Push in California

November 23 -- Bernadette Del Chiaro, 43, is executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Assn., the industry group pushing expansion of solar power in California on rooftops and with power plants in the desert. The native of Sonoma Valley has held the post since July 2013.

In eighth grade, Del Chiaro visited Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevada and marveled at its beauty. "I literally had a crush on that place," she said. "I fell in love with the Sierra Nevada." She pondered the musings of Scottish American naturalist John Muir and the idea that "our air and our water and our earth is a common good that we all share. If we're not careful we will hurt ourselves and all of the other little creatures."

Del Chiaro bristles at the notion that she's just a tree hugger. She has seen herself as a political activist, working to organize people to push for sensible environmental policy. In the 1980s and 1990s, "I didn't find much camaraderie in a lot of the other environmental activists at the time. A lot of them were angry white men. I didn't see role models in that." >>View Article 

Big Corporations Are Using a Record Amount of Clean Energy

November 23 -- On November 30, world leaders will flock to Paris to hammer out an international agreement to slow global warming. The agreement is likely to give a boost to the clean energy industry, as countries around the world pour money into wind and solar projects as a way to cut their greenhouse gas footprints.

In the United States clean energy is already a booming business. Solar is the fastest-growing energy source in the country, and in 2015 total investment in renewable energy projects here reached nearly $40 billion. Here's some more good news: Big corporations are signing up for a record amount of clean energy for their offices, data centers, warehouses, and other facilities, according to a new analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit environmental research outfit. >>View Article 

Clinton Promises ‘Enough Clean Energy to Power Every Home in America’

November 23 -- If elected president, Democrat Hillary Clinton says she can create enough green energy to power every home in America by the end of her second term.

“By the end of my first term, we will have installed a half a billion more solar panels, and by the end of my second term, enough clean energy to power every home in America,” Clinton said at the Blue Jamboree in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday.

The Democratic presidential front-runner said her plan to subsidize alternative sources of energy would not entail a middle-class tax hike. >>View Article 

Amazon Web Services Planting Another Wind Farm to Power Data Centers

November 20 -- As the Amazon Web Services cloud gets bigger, so must its data center shadow.

But planting those data centers around the world is a costly effort on both the balance sheet and the environment.

Thus, the Internet giant is plotting another wind farm, touting renewable energy technologies as the backbone and power source for both current and future AWS data centers.

The next wind farm will be constructed in Paulding County, Ohio. Code named Amazon Wind Farm US Central, it is scheduled to launch operations in May 2017. >>View Article 

Clean Power Plan Cuts Costs for Low-income Communities

November 20 -- At all levels of government ­— federal and local alike — the Clean Power Plan has faced serious backlash because of cost concerns. Politicians fear spending money on environmental policy, while citizens are wary of spikes in their electricity bills — both points that critics have been quick to tout. The emphasis on minimal upfront costs undervalue the plan’s climate benefits, estimated to be worth billions, and divert attention from its true impacts on electric bills, which are expected lowered in the years following its implementation.

Opponents of the Clean Power Plan have claimed that it will disproportionately harm low-income communities who are particularly vulnerable to higher energy costs. Much of these claims come from a study conducted by Management Information Services, a consulting firm whose clients include American Electric Power, the Southern Company, and Private Fuel Storage. >>View Article 

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