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

Energy: Sometimes you have to wrestle down the 800-pound fossil fuel gorilla one finger at a time

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The San Onofre nuclear power plant, via the Creative Commons.

Can lost nuclear power capacity be replaced by renewable energy?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — This week’s decision by a PUC judge in California may help jolt the slow shift toward renewable energy into a higher gear, according to environmental advocates who have been watchdogging the process of replacing the power once produced by the now-defunct an Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

At issue was an application by San Diego Gas & Electric to contract with Carlsbad Energy Center, LLC for the purchase of energy from a proposed new gas-powered plant. When San Onofre closed, SDG&E was directed to replace the shuttered plant with at least 200 megawatts from clean energy resources and between 300-600 MW from “any resource,” which could include gas or clean energy. Continue reading

Colorado: House committee rejects clumsy GOP attempt to roll back renewable energy target

Playing politics with our future

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Got wind?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado won’t be lowering its 30 percent renewable energy target anytime soon, as lawmakers on a State House committee yesterday rejected a measure that would have cut the renewable energy standard from 30 percent to 15 percent. Continue reading

Will new leases spur offshore wind power development?

U.S. lagging when it comes to ocean wind farms

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Incentives needed to spur investment.

Staff Report

FRISCO — When it comes to offshore wind energy, the U.S. is still a midget compared to countries like Denmark or Germany. But that could change in the coming years with the lease of more than 350,000 acres of ocean off the coast of Massachusetts.

Building offshore wind turbines near densely populated areas is critical, and the new leases could help spur a boom in the U.S. The lease sale is the largest ever in federal waters, and federal officials say the area could generate up to two gigawatts of commercial offshore wind energy, Continue reading

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