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Peak Coal

March 17 -- Remember Peak Oil? That was the notion, au courant a few years ago, that we have reached the limit of how much petroleum the planet can produce in a year. Of course, the shale revolution and continued exploration have proved that thesis wrong. And we should be careful about making projections about long-term developments in energy use. I still remember coming home in a panic from eighth-grade science class in 1980, when Mr. Smith told us there was enough oil left on the planet for only 30 to 35 more years.

But it now appears we may be reaching another peak, with a different fossil fuel. Only this time, the peak isn’t in production—it may be in consumption. I’m talking about Peak Coal. >>View Article

Public Embraces Push for Bipartisan Clean-Power Rules

March 16 -- When Sen. Mitch McConnell says states should refuse outright to comply with federal clean-air rules, he's continuing a long tradition of stubborn resistance by the coal industry and its political supporters.

But he's out of step with the American people, and is doing a disservice to them by failing to lead the country — and his state — into the new energy economy. >>View Article

SolarCity, a Vocal Critic of the Utility Industry, Joins It

March 16 -- As SolarCity, the rooftop solar system provider, has rapidly expanded its reach over the last few years, its executives have pushed hard against the utility industry, criticizing it as a hidebound monopoly standing in the way of change.

Now, SolarCity officials are trying a different tactic: moving into that business themselves. >>View Article

Ridley's Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Fixates on the Past and Ignores the Present to Try and Predict the Future

March 16 -- Longtime climate contrarian and "coal baron" Matt Ridley returns to the Wall Street Journal to try to argue against data that show clean energy rapidly scaling up, and the science of climate change that links last year's record heat and widespread extreme weather with carbon pollution. Ridley, whose family estate has a coal mine on it that will generate an estimated £4 million (or $5.8 million) every year until 2020, does the Journal's readers a grave disservice by distracting them from the coming energy disruption as renewables scale up. >>View Article

Report: Wind Power Could be 35% of Supply by 2050

March 12 -- The Obama administration is setting higher goals for wind power, saying it could supply 35% of the nation's electricity by the year 2050.

Wind power currently generates 4.5% of electricity, but that number is expected to more than double to 10% by 2020, says a report obtained by USA TODAY that will be released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Energy. >>View Article

Battery Hackers Are Building the Future in the Garage

March 12 -- Revolutions that start in the garage are nothing new. The one-car shed in which David Packard and William Hewlett launched the partnership that would grow into Hewlett-Packard Co. is known as the birthplace of Silicon Valley. >>View Article

Once Extravagant, Renewable Power Plans Go Cheap

March 12 -- Hybrid cars, fruit grown without pesticides, clean coal plants -- going green usually comes at a premium.

But not so with consumer electricity plans that promise energy exclusively from wind turbines and solar farms. As those renewables have proliferated in recent years, green plans have become readily affordable. >>View Article

Renewable Energy is a California Success Story

March 12 -- In 2011, Solyndra, a California-based solar panel manufacturer, defaulted on a $535-million federal loan and went bankrupt. Critics argued that this proved renewable energy was hopelessly impractical and expensive and that federal and state policies to support it were a waste of taxpayer money. Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by the Koch brothers, spent $6 million on an ad campaign highlighting the company as a symbol of failure. Even the venerable “60 Minutes” got into the fray, reporting there was a “cleantech crash.” California, in particular, was singled out for ridicule. Pundits warned that strong support for renewable energy would bring down our economy. >>View Article

For Mich. right wingers, more green energy makes sense

March 12 -- It's hard to think of Right to Life as the progressive branch of the conservative movement. But that's how Ed Rivet, legislative director of an organization that has been the very definition of right wing, describes the anti-abortion group's position on green energy.

"This is the one area where conservatives are progressive," says Rivet, of a joint effort by some of the state's staunchest conservatives to lobby for strong renewable energy policies in the state's new energy law. >>View Article

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