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Texas City Pulls Plug on Fossil Fuels With Shift to Solar Power

March 18 -- A Texas city just north of Austin plans to begin weaning its residents from fossil fuels.

The municipal utility in Georgetown, with about 50,000 residents, will get all of its power from renewable resources when SunEdison Inc. completes 150 megawatts of solar farms in West Texas next year. The change was announced Wednesday. >>View Article

Strong Energy Policy Should Follow the Market

March 17 -- For decades, nearly all energy production in the United States has been dominated by the fossil fuel industry. As oil traditionally drove the rise and fall of America’s GDP, legislators reacted to demand by implementing supportive tax policies for fossil technologies, sending over $7 billion in subsidies their way every year. But the relationship between energy and America’s marketplace is changing.

Most recently, a new report from the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that wind power alone could supply 35 percent of U.S. electricity by 2050. Like others, that DOE projection is based on a growing demand for renewable power—that is, if the current demand is given the opportunity to play out. >>View Article

McConnell Can't Pick, Choose Which Laws to Follow

March 17 -- Sen. Mitch McConnell earlier this month encouraged states to defy federal environmental regulations by simply ignoring them. This was not some quote taken out of context by a pesky reporter; it was an op-ed he wrote in the Lexington Herald-Leader. The Republican Senate majority leader is protesting the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants. The agency plans to finalize the rule this summer, after which states will have a chance to submit their own plans to meet the EPA’s specific goal for the state. He writes:

“Think twice before submitting a state plan — which could lock you in to federal enforcement and expose you to lawsuits — when the administration is standing on shaky legal ground and when, without your support, it won’t be able to demonstrate the capacity to carry out such political extremism. Refusing to go along at this time with such an extreme proposed regulation would give the courts time to figure out if it is even legal, and it would give Congress more time to fight back.” >>View Article

Windham Running on Renewable Energy

March 17 -- All town office buildings are powered with renewable energy, thanks to the town's latest energy contract.

For the next eight months, the town will be powered with renewable energy sources, like wind and solar. >>View Article

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

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