EU wind power growing by leaps and bounds

Global capacity grew to 370 gigawatts in 2014

klj

Got wind?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Europe is now generating about 8 percent of its total energy usage from wind power, according to an annual report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

If that doesn’t sound like a lot, here’s another way to look at it: Windpower generated enough electricity to cover the combined annual consumption of Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece and Ireland. Thanks to the ever-decreasing costs of building new windpower facilities, the EU could be producing at least 12 percent of its annual power needs with turbines by 2020.

The report confirms that wind power has been the most widely deployed form of renewable energy in the past two decades, with the global cumulative capacity growing to 370 gigawatts in 2014. Last year represented an annual record with 52.8 GW of wind turbines capacity installed worldwide, a 48% percent increase compared to 2013 and 17 percent over the 2012 record of 45.2GW. Continue reading

Court upholds Colorado’s renewable energy standard

dgRuling bolsters similar laws in other states

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado’s renewable energy standard is perfectly legal and reasonable, a federal appeals court held this week, rejecting a nuisance challenge from a fringe right-wing group.

Under the standard, Colorado will get 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The standard also faced a challenge in the State Legislature this year, as Republicans in the senate sought to roll back the requirement.

The legal challenge from the Energy & Environment Legal Institute  claimed the standard discriminated against fossil fuel energy companies and forced outside states to comply with the standard. Read the appeals court ruling here: Energy & Environment Legal v. Epel. Continue reading

New study could cut bird deaths at wind farms

dg

More data, better planning and design could help reduce bird deaths at wind farms.

Research focused on golden eagles in Wyoming

Staff Report

FRISCO — Federal scientists say a new modeling study will help more accurately predict bird deaths at wind energy sites before they’re built.

The findings could help planners design more bird-friendly wind power facilities — important because by the best available estimates, the spinning turbines kill between 160,000 and 330,000 birds each year, and that number is likely to grow as the number and size of wind turbines increases. Continue reading

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

dg

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

sdfg

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

jpo

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

asdf

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,774 other followers