Renewable energy


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Eyes on the Solar Photovoltaic Revolution: 35 Years in a Front-Row Seat

Howard Branz, , UCS

When I got into solar energy research in 1981, I wanted to change the world. I worried to my father that I’d never see widespread use of solar energy in my lifetime. That made him worry, too—about my future job prospects. As it turned out, there were plenty of jobs and I got to play my part in the history of human technology. I was one of a dedicated legion of scientists, engineers, technicians, laboratories and companies who eventually made photovoltaic cells into a commodity product: durable panels that achieve a miraculous-seeming conversion of sunlight to electricity, without needing any moving parts.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Michigan’s Proposed Clean Energy Overhaul

, energy analyst

On November 10th the Michigan Senate passed legislation (Senate bills 437 and 438) to overhaul how the state’s utilities are regulated. It’s been more than two years in the making, and the legislation touches on a wide range of issues that will impact the role of clean energy in meeting Michigan’s energy future, including how to handle the growth in rooftop solar and updating the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. Read more >

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The Clean Power Plan’s Clean Energy Incentive Program

, lead economist and climate policy manager

Today is the comment deadline for the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), a voluntary component of the Clean Power Plan. The program encourages early investments in renewable energy and targeted investments in efficiency and renewables in low-income communities. In our comments, we urge every state to join the program and take advantage of the CEIP’s incentives, and also offer the EPA some recommendations to help improve it. Read more >

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Minnesota Approves Xcel Energy Plan: More Renewables, Less Coal, Hold on Natural Gas

, energy analyst

In a decision that will further strengthen Minnesota’s leadership position in the clean energy transition, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved Xcel Energy’s 15-year resource plan that will retire nearly 1,400 megawatts (MW) of coal capacity and move the state’s largest utility towards 40 percent renewable energy by 2030. Read more >

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Michigan and the Clean Power Plan: What the State’s Analysis Can and Cannot Tell Us

, energy analyst

On September 26th the state of Michigan released its initial analysis of the potential impacts of complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) that will limit carbon emissions from existing power plants.

The analysis found that complying with the CPP may actually provide cost saving opportunities for Michigan ratepayers, particularly if Michigan strengthens its commitment to energy efficiency and cooperates with neighboring states. But the analysis fails to shed light on the role renewable energy could play in maximizing consumer benefits, while minimizing the variety of risks associated with an overreliance on natural gas. Read more >

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