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Renewable Energy

Why America Needs Public Wind Power

Off the northeast coast of the U.S., a budding offshore wind industry has led some to see the region as the “Saudi Arabia of wind.” As promising as it may have seemed for our fight to mitigate the effects of climate change, a recent spate of problems has laid bare the fallacies inherent in the way America builds renewable energy. It’s time to rethink our approach to the energy transition and to climate change. New York State was in the news this winter after announcing new contract agreements for two major offshore wind developments, Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind.

COP28: Nearly 120 Nations Agree To Triple World’s Renewables Output

At the COP28 climate conference on Saturday, nearly 120 nations pledged to triple the output of renewable energy on the planet by 2030. In Dubai, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, along with 118 countries and COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber, launched the Global Pledge on Renewables and Energy Efficiency at the World Climate Action Summit, a press release from the European Commission said. “With this Global Pledge, we have built a broad and strong coalition of countries committed to the clean energy transition – big and small, north and south, heavy emitters, developing nations, and small island states,” von der Leyen said in the press release.

Aberdeen Community To Lose Last Green Space In Energy Transition Land-Grab

On Wednesday 9 August, campaigners from Climate Camp Scotland, This is Rigged, and Scot.E3 demonstrated outside the headquarters of Ironside Farrar in Edinburgh. Campaigners held the peaceful demonstration in solidarity with residents of Torry, Aberdeen. Torry is to be the site of a large-scale industrial development that threatens a precious local park and wetland. The project developer has commissioned Ironside Farrar to produce a master plan for the site. The coalition of climate groups and energy workers were protesting the advancing implementation of Scotland’s so-called Energy Transition Zone (ETZ).

Group That Calls CO2 ‘Gas Of Life’ Praises Renewables Moratorium

When the Alberta government announced in early August a six-month pause on new renewable energy projects, it caused immediate chaos within the sector, plunging into uncertainty 100 developments awaiting approval and investments worth $25 billion. Industry leaders say they weren’t warned or consulted. “It was a done deal before we had a chance to convince the minister that the industry doesn’t need a moratorium,” Vittoria Bellissimo, president and CEO of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA), said in reaction. “I think it was a mistake,” she told CBC. It was a perplexing move for a United Conservative Party government whose Premier Danielle Smith has made attracting new workers to the province a top priority.

Climate Groups Announce Global Days Of Action

The climate justice group on Monday announced upcoming global days of action—November 3 and 4—aimed at accelerating the worldwide transition to clean energy. "On every continent, in big cities and on small islands, we'll take action to show that a global renewable energy revolution is within our reach," says a new website where people can sign up to participate in what and its partners are calling Power Up. "We'll spotlight the oil industry's greed and reclaim the money and power to fund a just future powered by the sun and the wind." "We are taking to the streets because we are outraged," the website states.

Local Ownership Of Clean Energy Boosts Benefits And Busts Barriers

ILSR’s new report, Advantage Local: Why Local Energy Ownership Matters, finds that local ownership of clean energy can address many of the most pressing challenges we face today, from the climate crisis to economic inequality to corporate exploitation. The report details how local clean energy ownership — as distinct from local siting — can boost the economic impacts of clean energy, cut through public opposition to project development, and put power back in the hands of people instead of polluting utility monopolies. As shown in the report, local ownership of clean energy, such as rooftop solar panels and shared solar gardens, offers numerous benefits to individual clean energy owners and their communities.

A Public Power Victory In New York State

On May 2, New York became the first US state to pass a major Green New Deal policy following four years of organizing by the Public Power NY coalition and allies. The Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA), now New York State law, empowers and directs the state’s public power provider – the New York Power Authority (NYPA) – to plan, build, and operate renewable energy projects across New York State. Organizers are now focusing on growing the movement for Public Power from coast to coast. Public Power NY was launched in 2019 by the Ecosocialist Working Group of the NY City’s Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

As We Confront The Climate Crisis, Is Bigger And Faster Always Better?

“Scale” has become something of a buzz word in climate movement circles. When we see something inspiring, we often ask: “How do we quickly replicate this everywhere, so we are acting in a way that feels commensurate with the scale and urgency of the climate crisis?” As a climate organizer, I’ve often noticed myself seesawing between smaller spaces where I can build deeper relationships and work at a more global scale. The latter forces my mind and body to overstep its limits to do things that feel more commensurate with the all-pervasive nature of the climate crisis. But is the conflation of “scale” with “bigger” and “faster” undermining our efforts to usher in the deep and transformative change required to confront a challenge as complex as climate change?

The US Can Get To 100% Clean Power Without New Nuclear

There is a widespread view that nuclear energy is necessary for decarbonizing the electricity sector in the United States. It is expressed not only by the nuclear industry, but also by scholars and policy-makers like former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who recently said that the choices we have “…when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine” are “fossil fuel or nuclear.” I disagree. Wind and solar are much cheaper than new nuclear plants even when storage is added. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated the cost of unsubsidized utility-scale solar plus battery storage in 2021 was $77 per megawatt-hour — about half the cost of new nuclear as estimated by the Wall Street firm Lazard. (An average New York State household uses a megawatt-hour in about seven weeks.)

World Falling Short On Energy Transition Targets: IRENA Report

A new report from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) at this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 27, reviews energy targets set around the world and how they are progressing. The findings show that countries are falling short on their energy transition targets. The report also notes that only 12 of the 194 parties in the Paris Agreement have a commitment for a specific percentage of renewables in their total energy mixes. In Renewable Energy Targets in 2022: A guide to design, the research shows that globally, countries’ energy transition ambitions are not enough to limit global warming to 1.5°C. By 2030, countries are currently targeting to meet 5.4 terawatts (TW) of renewable energy capacity, but the world needs to meet 10.8 TW of installed renewable energy capacity by the end of the decade to keep warming within the 1.5°C target.

Why Manchin’s Side Deal Or ‘Permitting Reform’ Must Be Blocked

It seems the mainstream narrative is that the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) is a big step toward addressing the climate crisis while the side deal is a step backwards, but we may not be able to stop it. I disagree; from my perspective, the giveaways to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries in the IRA make it most likely a net negative for the environment. Renewable energy has been outcompeting fossil fuels in most places; they are much cheaper than nuclear power everywhere. Won’t giving subsidies to all three help the previously losing industries most? In any case, subsidies for buying outsize electric vehicles, and for expanding renewable energy will not reduce emissions. These projects will require mining, usually connected to environmental injustice, and much burning of fossil fuel to power the construction, transportation and installation, so in the short run they will increase emissions.

Time To Blow Up Electricity Markets

Athens, Greece – The blades of the wind turbines on the mountain range opposite my window are turning especially energetically today. Last night’s storm has abated but high winds continue, contributing extra kilowatts to the electricity grid at precisely zero additional cost (or marginal cost, in the language of the economists). But the people struggling to make ends meet during a dreadful cost-of-living crisis must pay for these kilowatts as if they were produced by the most expensive liquefied natural gas transported to Greece’s shores from Texas. This absurdity, which prevails well beyond Greece and Europe, must end.

The Renewables Rush In Texas

Texas is known for fiercely promoting its oil and gas industries, but it’s also the No. 2 renewable energy producer in the U.S. after California. In fact, more than a quarter of all the wind power produced in the United States in 2021 was generated in Texas. These projects benefit from a lucrative state tax incentive program called Chapter 313. That incentive program expires on Dec. 31, 2022, and the rush of applications for wind and solar energy projects to secure incentives before the deadline is providing a rare window into a notoriously opaque industry. By reviewing the applications and ownership documents, we were able to track who actually builds and owns a large portion of the nation’s renewable energy, when and how those assets change hands, and who ultimately benefits from the tax incentives.

Massachusetts First To End Renewable Energy Subsidies For Biomass

Environmental groups today celebrated the enactment of Massachusetts’ new climate law, An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind, which will expand clean energy development and end renewable energy subsidies for wood-burning power plants. The new law makes Massachusetts the first state in the nation to remove woody biomass from its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS). While there are only two small biomass plants that currently qualify for MA’s RPS, that number was poised to balloon as a result of imminent  changes to the program advanced by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER). By removing woody biomass from the RPS program altogether, the new law will prevent DOER’s rule changes from going into effect.

Manchin Poison Pills Buried In Inflation Reduction Act

Washington - A proposed climate and energy package would require massive oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, reinstate an illegal 2021 Gulf lease sale and mandate that millions more acres of public lands be offered for leasing before any new solar or wind energy projects could be built on public lands or waters. The provisions, in sections 50264 and 50265, are buried near the end of the 725-page Inflation Reduction Act. The bill was released Wednesday after Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced they had agreed to the $370 billion package. “This is a climate suicide pact,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s self-defeating to handcuff renewable energy development to massive new oil and gas extraction.
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