3M, the global manufacturing and technology giant, announced its first-ever power purchase agreement (PPA) in February for the total production from the Gunsight wind farm in Texas, a hefty 120 MW of power. The power was procured from Invenergy, North America’s largest independent renewable power generation company. Invenergy is a founding sponsor of the Business Renewables Center (BRC), which accelerates corporate procurement of utility-scale renewable energy.
The energy mix in the U.S. is changing — and two separate events this week point to how we’re getting more green energy and less of the dirty stuff.
To start, there are now more than a million solar installations across the United States, including on nearly 950,000 homes and small businesses. This is a big deal. Right now, U.S. solar is generating the amount of electricity used by the entire state of Pennsylvania. And that contribution is only growing: By the end of 2016, there will be twice as much solar as there was in 2014.
In the next 15 years, Texas expects to add somewhere between 14 and 27 gigawatts of solar capacity, according to a new long-term system assessment from the state’s grid operator, ERCOT.
ERCOT is considering eight different scenarios, such as continued low natural-gas prices or extreme weather. Under all scenarios, solar makes up nearly all of the new capacity. In all of the scenarios, ERCOT assumes that changes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional haze rule will go into effect. Those changes are expected to make the rule more stringent and impact power producers with emissions that affect air quality.
The U.S. wind power industry saw major gains during the first quarter of 2016, according to a report released Thursday by the American Wind Energy Association.
The wind industry had its strongest first quarter for installations since 2012, adding 520 megawatts of electric generating capacity between January and March, according to the AWEA’s U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2016 Market Report.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of Solarize NYC, a city-wide program to expand access to solar through group purchasing campaigns. The program aims to help the city achieve its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emisisons 80% by 2050. The city has tripled its installed solar capacity since 2014 to nearly 75 MW, with 65 MW from privately owned solar and over 9 MW from publicly-owned arrays. Mayor de Blasio’s One City: Built to Last program will use Solarize methods to add 100 MW of public solar and 250 MW of privately-owned solar by 2025.
Elon Musk recently touted that his company is working on an electric car model that will even be more affordable than the Tesla Model 3. The CEO made the statement during the Future Transport Solutions conference in Oslo, where he underlined his intention of bringing cheap green cars to the masses. The Tesla Model 3 is scheduled to meet its customers at the end of next year, and the hype around it is already peaking. Not only does the car bring features and performance that make it equal to brands from traditional automakers, but it also adds the benefits of an all-electric vehicle. With every charge, the Model 3 gets to roam the streets for 200 miles.
The Senate passed an amendment Tuesday that would keep funding for wind energy research and development at its current level and restore a cut that appropriators had put into their bill. The amendment, from Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), would provide $95.4 million for the Department of Energy’s wind program, up from the $80 million in the bill proposed by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).
Commercial real estate remains an area of unfulfilled solar potential. Most deployment in this sector has been constrained to properties where large, creditworthy entities own or have long-term leases and sufficient control of the property to support the credit requirements of solar project developers and their financiers.
Luckily, a range of financing innovations has recently evolved to open untapped solar sectors. One of the most promising is property-assessed clean energy (PACE), via which a loan on a solar system can be repaid via a property tax assessment. A PACE loan stays with the property, not the tenant, and offers the ability to underwrite a project with a short-term tenant or other unrated offtaker.
Wind power is cheap, renewable, doesn't harm the environment, and is expected to become one of the fastest growing sources of energy in the world. That means that the iconic wind turbine will become increasingly visible worldwide. And as is the case with anything iconic, the question is worth asking: why does it look the way it does? Why does it have three blades?
Everything is about to change for a small area in Southwest Florida as Kitson & Partners unveiled today their development of the world’s first solar powered town.
Babcock Ranch, when finished, is not only the nation’s largest development currently underway, but will also be the first town primarily powered by the sun.
“Babcock Ranch will exemplify what it means to be a town of the future, offering residents a highly unique balance of the most technologically advanced infrastructure and amenities, with ready access to a rich natural environment and a true sense of community,” said Syd Kitson, Kitson & Partners Chairman and CEO.
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