From the “Most Innovative Campaign” of 2011 to the first intercontinental trip attempted by a solar-powered plane, SmartPower has all of the week’s top energy news for you. Share your favorite energy articles with us on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads!
Living Green Magazine: “America’s Next Eco-Star” Contest Judged “Most Innovative Campaign” – A national youth energy contest called America’s Next Eco-Star by the nonprofit SmartPower has been awarded “Most Innovative Campaign” by IHS The Energy Daily. The winning campaign involved a nationwide search for the standout among the next generation of energy leaders. [June 7, 2012]
Bloomberg: UN study foresees job gains with greener policies – Some 15 million to 60 million jobs could be created worldwide over the next two decades if nations took better care of the planet, according to a U.N. study released Thursday ahead of an international summit on sustainable development. [June 5, 2012]
USA Today: Technology saves energy with ‘intelligent efficiency’ – The United States is using technology to develop “intelligent efficiency” that could save as much energy as produced by natural gas, coal or nuclear power, a new report says. [June 5, 2012]
New York Times: How to Make Renewable Energy Competitive – Renewable energy needs help. Technological innovation has significantly reduced the cost of solar panels, wind turbines and other equipment, but renewable energy still needs serious subsidies to compete with conventional energy. [June 1, 2012]
National Journal: Insiders Support Military’s Renewable-Energy Push – Nearly two-thirds of National Journal’s National Security Insiders agree with the military’s push for renewable energy, siding with the Obama administration over some Republicans in Congress who have charged that the Defense Department should not spend money on expensive alternative fuels at a time when the nation needs to cut its trillion-dollar deficit. [June 4, 2012]
New York Times: Solar Panel Payments Set Off a Fairness Debate – In California’s sun-scorched Central Valley, the monthly electric bill can easily top $200. But that’s just about what George Burman spent on electricity for all of last year. [June 4, 2012]
AOL Energy: Can DOE’s Sunshot Challenge Fast-Track Grid-Parity Solar? – In about a week, some of the brightest minds in government, industry, and academia will gather in Denver, Colorado, to talk about what the U.S. can do to play catch-up in the global clean energy race. [June 7, 2012]
The Hill: Senators say tweak to tax code would boost renewable energy – Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) say a small change to the U.S. tax code would provide a big boost to renewable energy projects. [June 7, 2012]
Time: Solar-Powered Plane Attempts Intercontinental Trip – Pilot Bertrand Piccard says his solar-powered plane isn’t as much for carrying passengers as it is for carrying a message about the future of clean energy. [June 5, 2012]
National Geographic: Solar Power Is Generating Social Change – U.S. Navy veteran Elmer Rankin, 71, has a failing heart, prostate cancer and arthritis that keeps him in a wheelchair. Last year, Rankin, who survives on his Social Security checks, could no longer afford the mounting costs to heat his home and power the oxygen tank he uses every night. He turned down the heat and got so cold that he wound up in the hospital. Fortunately, while Rankin’s health remains precarious, today he’s no longer scrambling to pay for power. [June 5, 2012]
Bloomberg: Ascent Jumps 48 Percent On Solar Charger For Apple’s iPhone – Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. (ASTI), a thin-film solar panels, rose the most in nine months after it announced a solar-powered charger case for Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone. [June 6, 2012]
New York Times: The People’s Choice: An All-in-One, Mobile Utility Meter – The people have spoken, choosing VELObill as their favorite app among the 50-plus entries in the Energy Department’s Apps for Energy contest. [June 6, 2012]
EarthTechling: HelioWatcher Allows Solar Panels to Track the Sun: They’re called solar panels for a reason: they need the sun in order to generate electricity. Whether we’re talking about pocket-sized, portable solar chargers or massive rooftop arrays, direct sunlight is the must-have ingredient on which all other elements of solar-energy production depends. [June 6, 2012]
USA Today: Honda Fit electric gets record 118 mpg-e rating – The electric version of Honda’s new 2013 Honda Fit has received the highest fuel-efficiency rating ever given by the Environmental Protection Agency: 188 mpg-e in mixed city-highway driving. [June 6, 2012]
Clean Technica: Midwest Cities Planning for EVs – Independence, Missouri, is the kind of place where when someone buys an electric car it’s unusual enough that the local newspaper writes a story about it. [June 7, 2012]
SmartReads is a weekly summary of all the latest clean energy and energy efficiency news. Send us your tips on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
CLEAN & RENEWABLE ENERGY
SEIA: New Study Shows US Solar Energy Could Employ Hundreds of Thousands of Americans by 2020 – A new independent research report released today by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that solar energy is following the same path to commercialization as other traditional energy sources spurred by federal incentives. [May 1, 2012]
Think Progress: Three Charts That Illustrate Why Solar Has Hit A True Tipping Point – A new report from the prominent global consulting firm McKinsey shows why solar photovoltaics have hit a tipping point. [April 30, 2012]
Forbes: Morgan Stanley Backs $300 Million Fund To Install Residential Solar – Clean Power Finance – a San Francisco startup that offers software tools and financing to solar installers – Morgan Stanley’s MS Solar Solutions Corp, Zions Bancorporation and solar installer Main Street will create MySolar, a lease program to finance up to $300 million of rooftop solar arrays for homeowners in California and Arizona. [May 3, 2012]
Los Angeles Times: SolarCity makes IPO plans – SolarCity Corp., a Bay Area solar panel developer and installer whose chairman heads Tesla Motors Inc., is planning an IPO. The San Mateo company’s intention to go public come as other alternative energy firms are backing away from similar growth plans, even after the industry reported record growth last year. [April 30, 2012]
AWEA: AWEA U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2012 Market Report – During the first quarter of 2012, the U.S. wind industry installed 1,695 megawatts (MW) across 17 states. This brings cumulative U.S. wind power capacity installations to 48,611 MW through the end of March 2012. [May 3, 2012]
Green Biz: How EVs are changing driver behavior: 7 lessons from 24 million miles – In the world of electric vehicles, nothing attracts as much speculation or disagreement as the debate over exactly how EV drivers behave. [May 1, 2012]
AOL Energy: Ford Powers into Electric Car Business – If it’s true that it takes a crisis to force change then the US car manufacturing sector understands this better than anyone. Detroit has undergone a renaissance in the wake of the global economic and financial meltdown, broadening their offerings to include more fuel efficient passenger vehicles, hybrid models and electric cars. [April 30, 2012]
KEYT: America’s Next Eco-Star Has Roots in Santa Barbara – A Santa Barbara woman receives a major, national title and comes back home to share her success story, and her vision for the next generation. Katie Romanov won the title of ‘America’s Next Eco-Star’ in a contest sponsored by SmartPower, a non-profit in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Energy Department. [April 28, 2012]
National Defense Industrial Association: Panetta Touts Pentagon Investments in Green Energy – The Defense Department sees climate change and rising oil prices as national security concerns, and intends to play a leading role in the nation’s energy future, said Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta. [May 3, 2012]
The Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium (NWEAC) will host the 2012 Regional Leadership Summit, bringing together an influential group of more than 150 local municipal leaders and energy activists for an evening dedicated to advancing regional sustainability initiatives.
In alignment with the Governor’s Cleaner Greener Communities initiative, the summit’s goal is to support a vibrant and sustainable regional economy that creates jobs, generates substantial savings and strengthens the quality of life we enjoy in our Westchester municipalities.
Demonstrating the possibilities of innovative cross-municipal cooperation to reducing residential energy use, elected leaders will also take the Lead by Example Pledge to participate in the Energize New York program — an effort to help homeowners reap the benefits of home energy efficiency in a time of record energy costs. The pledge is a commitment to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging homeowners to complete a home energy assessment and reduce home energy waste.
More than 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Westchester County come from homes, but by signing up for home assessments and following through with the recommended upgrades, homeowners have the potential to significantly reduce home emissions and energy costs by an average of $1,000 each year. The county as a whole has the capacity to save more than $52 Million in residential energy costs through the Energize New York program.
The event will take place on Thursday, March 29, at the Ossining Public Library in Ossining, N.Y. For more information, visit www.cleanergreenerny.org.
…Not as much as some would have you believe, according to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
In an op-ed in the Huffington Post, Jackson says the claims that her agency’s plans to regulate air pollution from dirty coal-fired power plants are an economic “train wreck” waiting to happen, leading to plant closure and job loss, are a bunch of nonsense:
On the issue of plant closures, I take the word of industry leaders like the Chairman and CEO of Exelon Corporation, who said “These regulations will not kill coal… up to 50% of retirements are due to the current economics of the plant due to natural gas and coal prices.” The Congressional Research Service report also found that EPA’s standards will primarily affect “coal-fired plants more than 40 years old that have not, until now, installed state-of-the-art pollution controls.” That echoed the remarks of the CEO of American Electric Power from April of this year: “We’ve been quite clear that we fully intend to retire the 5,480 megawatts of our overall coal fleet because they are less efficient and have not been retrofitted in any particular way.”
But there’s a bigger picture here.
Jackson points out that her agency’s goals - to protect Americans from pollution that causes asthma, cancer and other serious conditions - are being framed as job-killers by politicians with a hefty financial stake in the continued use of dirty energy. In other words: Consider the messenger.
As a senior official from the Bush EPA recently wrote, “Abolishing the EPA will not cause a revival of America’s economy, but it will certainly result in a major decline in public health and our quality of life.”
What do you think of the EPA’s efforts to regulate anachronistic coal-fired power plants? What about the political machinations that are hampering these efforts? Let us know in the comments.