The U.S. could transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050

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Wind power!

‘The main barriers are social, political and getting industries to change …’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Getting the U.S. completely off its addiction to fossil fuels may seem daunting, especially if the goal is a relatively quick switch to renewable energy sources. But there’s more and more scientific evidence showing it can be done with existing technology, and without causing a lot of economic pain.

The U.S. could achieve the transition by 2050, say two California scientists who have outlined a plan for all 50 states to make the switch to renewable energy sources.

The advantages are pretty clear: Combating climate change, eliminating  mortality and disease linked with air pollution, creating new jobs and stabilizing energy prices to the benefit of consumers. Continue reading

Feds OK three big solar projects in Nevada

Regional plan helps speed reviews

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New solar energy projects are sprouting across the sunny Southwest.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Up-front planning helped speed three big new solar projects through the federal review process, the U.S. Department of Interior said this week, touting the administration’s Western Solar Plan as a model for renewable energy development on public lands.

The plan mapped out solar energy development zones in areas where there was little potential for conflicts over resources. The reviews three new projects in Clark County, Nevada, where completed in 10 months, about half the time it previously took under the project-by-project system. Continue reading

Climate change: Six big multinational energy companies call for global carbon pricing to reduce emissions

Multinationals say they’re ready to be part of the solution and emphasize the importance of natural gas

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A coal power plant in northwest Colorado is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the region. @bberwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — U.S. politicians and energy companies may not have warmed to the idea of putting a price tag on carbon pollution, but the chief executives of six major multinational oil companies say it’s the best way to “reduce uncertainty and encourage the most cost effective ways of reducing carbon emissions widely.”

The six companies — BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shel, Statoil ASA and Total SA — set out their position in a joint letter from their chief executives to United Nations climate policy leaders, timed to precede the critical COP21 climate meeting in Paris this December. Continue reading

Job growth in renewable energy sector far outpaces losses in coal mining

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Early coal mining.

Careful study yields regionally nuanced results, but overall job growth

Staff Report

FRISCO — While many Republican politicians claim that President’s Obama is waging a job-killing war on coal, a careful analysis of the numbers show that those arguments are specious.

Duke University researchers say that, in the four years after the 2008 recession, growth in the clean energy sector (including natural gas) created four times as many jobs as were lost in the coal industry.

The county-by-county geographical analysis of the losses and gains shows nuanced results, with job growth in the Northeast and the Southwest, while some coal-dependent regions — especially southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky — did get hit hard by the recession. Continue reading

Community solar comes to Leadville, Colorado

Colorado-based Clean Energy Collective helps drive shift to community based renewable energy

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Community solar comes to Cloud City.

Staff Report

Donate Button with Credit Cards

FRISCO — The Colorado-based Clean Energy Collective is making more progress toward providing community based solar energy across the state with the opening of a new 499 kilowatt facility in Leadville. That’s enough electricity for about 100 homes, aimed at serving Xcel Energy residential and commercial customers across Lake, Chaffee and Park counties.

Over its estimated lifespan of about 50 years, the environmental benefits include a reduction of 30 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions that would otherwise result from burning fossil fuels to produce the same amount of energy. Continue reading

2014 saw record global investment in renewable energy

103 gigawatts of generating capacity added during the year

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Investment in offshore wind energy surged in 2014.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A sharp drop in oil prices in 2014 didn’t deter investment in renewable energy, which increased 17 percent after declining during the previous two years.

The surge in investment was driven my major expansion of solar installations in China and Japan and record investments in offshore wind projects in Europe. Altogether, global investment in renewables climbed to $270 billion for the year, according to an annual report from the United Nations Environmental Program.

All that investment added up to  103 gigawatts of generating capacity added around the world — equaling the energy generating capacity of all 158 nuclear power plant reactors in the USA, and the continuing drop in the cost of renewable energy technology means that there’s a greater return on every dollar invested, the report explained. Continue reading

Report shows huge benefits of pursuing wind energy

Wind farming in the West.

Wind farming in the West.

Clean energy saves lives and money in the long run, reduces water demand from power sector

Staff Report

FRISCO — Boosting the role of wind power in the country’s energy portfolio would have significant economic, environmental and health benefits, the Department of Energy found in a new report that outlines the  path needed to achieve 10 percent wind by 2020, 20 percent by 2030, and 35 by 2050.

Currently, wind power generates about 4.5 percent of the country’s energy. Reaching the 2050 goal would reduce cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent, saving $400 billion in avoided global damages, the report found. Continue reading

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