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City Deal Will Increase D.C. Government’s Solar Energy Capacity by 70 Percent

December 4 -- The District will soon install solar panels on the roofs and parking lots of 34 government-owned facilities, bumping the city government’s total solar energy capacity by about 70 percent, according to an announcement from Mayor Muriel Bowser this week.

Bowser hailed the project as one of the largest municipal onsite solar projects in the United States. The D.C. Department of General Services struck the agreement last week to purchase the power — known as a Power Purchase Agreement — with Nextility Inc., a D.C.-based energy company.

Officials estimate that it will save taxpayers $25 million over the deal’s 20-year term. >>View Article 

How Tech Is Pulling Ahead Of Politics In The Fight For Our Future

December 2 -- The future has yet to be decided -- and there's no reason to sit around and wait for bureaucrats to make all the necessary choices.

World leaders have converged in Paris for COP21, a conference on climate change that will, for the first time, work toward "a legally binding and universal agreement" to curtail the threat of global warming. With any luck, the 25,000 delegates from governments and agencies around the world will arrive at an accord that could mean better days are ahead for our planet.

Meanwhile, technology companies and entrepreneurs have already plowed forward, enabling substantial change that isn't tethered to a slow political process. >>View Article 

GE, MetLife Back Wind Farm That Will Run Microsoft Data Center

December 2 -- General Electric Co.’s energy financing unit and MetLife Inc. agreed to invest in an Illinois wind farm that will run Microsoft Corp.’s Chicago data center.

Microsoft agreed to buy the output from the 175-megawatt Pilot Hill project under a 20-year contract in its biggest wind deal to date, the companies said in a statement Tuesday. Terms weren’t disclosed.

The agreement comes as world leaders gather in Paris to negotiate a global agreement on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and shows that renewable energy is becoming cost-competitive with power produced by burning fossil fuels. For insurance companies like MetLife, investing in wind provides steady, long-term returns at a reasonable risk, said Stuart Ashton, director of the company’s lease and tax-equity investment group. >>View Article 

Chuck Hagel: Climate Change Is a National Security Problem

December 2 -- Paris could succeed where Kyoto failed: It is remarkable that French security forces are taking on the international climate change conference in Paris in the shadow of the recent attacks. Then, the city reminded the world of the threat of terrorism. Now, it offers a promise for world leaders to address another national security challenge: climate change.

The agreement in Paris is expected to feature all countries voluntarily committing to reduce their emissions, and ensuring that their commitments are transparent and verifiable. >>View Article 

Mass. lean energy Sector Grows 12 Percent in 2015, Report Says

December 2 -- The Massachusetts clean energy sector enjoyed its strongest growth in 2015 since the state began tracking these jobs in 2010, with the local clean energy workforce expanding this year by nearly 12 percent to 98,900, according to a new report.

The quasi-public Massachusetts Clean Energy Center released its annual report on the industry on Tuesday, showing that jobs have grown consistently for five straight years: The number of jobs in the sector has risen 64 percent since 2010.

Employment growth in the sector occurred throughout the state this year, although in Western Massachusetts jobs increased by only 2.7 percent. The sector now represents 3.3 percent of the state’s entire workforce, according to the report. Slightly more than half of the companies have 10 or fewer employees. >>View Article 

Power Grid Becoming More Stable as Gas, Solar, Wind Boom

December 2 -- Fears that Texas might not have enough electricity in the years ahead have all but been extinguished by a flood of new gas turbines and solar and wind farms, the state’s grid operator said Tuesday.

In a report examining the grid’s power supply and consumer demand over the next decade, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said its reserve margin – the percentage of electricity available above what is used – will exceed 20 percent by 2017. The current minimum reserve level is 13.75 percent, a standard ERCOT almost failed to meet in the summer of 2014.

One of the principal drivers is a sudden boom in solar energy development in West Texas. Only expected to account for 295 megawatts next year – on a grid with a capacity of more than 79,000 megawatts – solar should account for almost 1,789 megawatts by 2017, ERCOT said. >>View Article 

The Falling Costs of Renewable Energy: No More Excuses

December 2 -- Historically, cost was cited as one of the primary barriers to switching from fossil-based energy sources like oil, coal and gas to renewable energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal.

But the narrative has now changed. Plummeting costs for renewable energy technologies are making a global energy transition not only possible, but actually less expensive than the alternative.

We already know the world's renewable energy resources are abundant, eternal and have the potential to fully meet global energy needs while reducing emissions and mitigating climate change. What many do not yet realize however, is that renewable energy technologies are increasingly beating both fossil fuels and nuclear energy on costs. While some renewable energy sources -- hydropower, geothermal and some forms of modern biomass -- have been broadly competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear energy for some time, solar photovoltaics (PV) and onshore wind energy have also now emerged as cost-competitive options. >>View Article 

The Silicon Valley Idea That's Driving Solar Use Worldwide

December 2 -- Silicon Valley has something to offer the world in the drive toward a clean energy economy. And it’s not technology.

It’s a financing formula. In a region that spawned tech giants Apple Inc. and Google and is famous for innovators and entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, a handful of startups began offering to install solar panels on the homes of middle-class families in return for no-money down and monthly payments cheaper than a utility bill. This third-party leasing method -- which made expensive clean energy gear affordable -- ignited a rooftop solar revolution with annual U.S. home installations increasing 16-fold since 2008, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research. >>View Article

Wind, Solar Power to Supply More Energy Than Shale, Goldman Says

December 2 -- New wind turbines and solar panels worldwide will provide more energy over the next five years than U.S. shale-oil production has over the past five, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The leading renewable-energy technologies will add the equivalent of 6.2 million barrels of oil a day to the global energy mix, exceeding the 5.7 million barrels a day pumped from U.S. shale oil wells since 2010, analysts including Brian Lee and Jaakko Kooroshy said in a research report Monday.

The findings come as world leaders gather in Paris to negotiate a global agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. While countries are setting targets for emission reductions in 2030 and 2050, Goldman Sachs said the biggest shift will occur over the next decade as demand for renewable energy, LED lighting and plug-in vehicles accelerates. >>View Article 

Ray Lewis Launches Clean Energy Non-profit

December 2 -- Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis announced Monday he is leading a new clean energy non-profit organization that aims to expand access to renewable energy in low-income communities.

The non-profit, Power52, aims to build clean energy projects in low-income areas of Baltimore and produce energy that can be used by people living in them.

The projects will help provide job training in the renewable energy sector for people in the communities, the non-profit announced. It also aims to give college or trade school scholarships for low-income people.

"Power52 will not only give people opportunities, but it will also educate people so that they can understand the importance of energy independence while cutting their utility bill," Ray Lewis said in a statement. >>View Article 

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