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Portland Sunnier Than Houston? Solar Power Resources Are More Widespread Than You Think…

The spring equinox is a fine time to celebrate the sun. And, for the solar power lovers among us, it’s a great time to take stock of how much sun is available for rooftop solar across the country.

When we do, we find that, over the course of the year, the sun for solar power generation is actually much more evenly distributed than sunny-Southwest-postcards-vs.-Northern-snow-scenes would suggest. It’s also more evenly spread than typical solar maps would lead you to believe. Here’s a better way to see how much you’ve got. Read More

Categories: Energy, Science Communication  

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Making Room for Renewables: Grid Integration Solutions for California’s Clean Energy Future

I’ve blogged many times about the clean energy policies California has in place that have made it a leader. The state is well on its way to supplying 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and now, in a visionary step to dramatically reduce global warming emissions, is considering ways to increase that amount to 50 percent by 2030. Read More

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Lawyers for Coal

Laurence Tribe – popularly known as “President Obama’s old law professor” – is testifying today against the Clean Power Plan before the House Subcommittee on Energy & Power, on behalf of Peabody Energy. But here he’s not acting as a teacher- he’s a lawyer fiercely advocating for his paying client.  We have a full preview of how he will distort the case against CO2 regulation from the comments he co-wrote with Peabody Energy on December 1, 2014. Read More

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Solar Power, Solar Donuts, and a Landmark 20-Gigawatt Milestone

I’m just back from the annual PV America conference, where the talk was all about the great stuff happening, solar-wise, and what it’ll take to keep it going. And now the official industry figures for U.S. solar’s 2014 performance have just come out, putting some hard numbers—and donuts—on the table. And there’s a lot of good news in there. Read More

Categories: Energy  

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Risking Our Clean Energy Future by Gambling with an Overreliance on Natural Gas

Many U.S. electric utilities are doubling down on natural gas to generate power as they retire aging and polluting coal plants. While this unprecedented shift does provides some near-term benefits, dramatically expanding our use of natural gas to generate electricity is an ill-advised gamble that poses complex economic, public health, and climate risks. Read More

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Will the Clean Power Plan Enable a Risky Over-dependence on Natural Gas?

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is a significant opportunity to accelerate a transition to a cleaner, more climate-friendly power system. But the final rule, due out this summer, must include improvements and safeguards that constrain the role of natural gas. The Natural Gas Gamble, a new UCS report released today, points out that deploying more renewable energy and energy efficiency can help limit the economic and climate risks of an over-dependence on natural gas. Read More

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Pennsylvania Governor Proposes Big Investments in Renewable Energy and Efficiency

Today, in his first budget address as Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf proposed $325 million in investments in the state’s energy sector, including significant investments in wind, solar, and energy efficiency. This proposal is part of an overall economic development plan aimed at investing in education and creating high-paying jobs across the Commonwealth. What does it mean? Read More

Categories: Energy  

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China’s Not So Silent Spring: Can One Video Save China’s Environment?

Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival (春节), is a time each year when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel home to reunite with family and friends. Observers routinely note it is the largest human migration event on the planet.

This year, on the Sunday before returning to work from Spring Festival, an equally impressive number of Chinese downloaded an explosive on-line exposé on Chinese air pollution produced by former CCTV reporter Chai Jing. The film, called “Under the Dome,” is not the first Chinese effort to document the country’s growing environmental problems, but it is the first to generate this much interest. Read More

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Is Small Farmers’ Firewood Use Burning up the Forests?

For many years, small farmers in developing countries have been blamed for deforestation because of the way that they make breakfast. While in developed countries nearly everyone cooks with fossil fuels, or with electricity generated by fossil fuels or hydroelectricity, in developing countries firewood still predominates, especially among the poorest people in rural areas. But is this really an important driver of deforestation—and thus a major contributor to global warming? A new study—the most in-depth and comprehensive look at the subject yet—says no.

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5 Reasons Why Colorado Should Increase—Not Roll Back—Its Renewable Energy Standard

UPDATE: (March 3, 11 a.m.): Good news! Yesterday, the Colorado House of Representative’s State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted against the proposed rollback of the state’s renewable energy standard, effectively killing SB 44 for the 2015 legislative session. This is yet another defeat for fossil fuel interests who do not want to compete with renewables on a more level playing field.

On February 5th, state Senate Republicans passed a bill to roll back Colorado’s renewable energy standard (RES), which has helped make the state a national leader in clean energy. Rolling back the RES is precisely the wrong direction for Colorado to go at this time. In addition to providing important benefits to Colorado’s economy, increasing renewable energy use is one of the most cost-effective strategies for complying with the EPA’s proposed power plant carbon standards. Read More

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