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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (11/19/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on November 19th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (11/19/14).

  1. Climate Progress reports, “The U.S. Senate has narrowly rejected a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the controversial project that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast of the United States.”
  2. RenewEconomy explains “How Australian utilities will cope with solar and storage.”
  3. Greentech Media has “5 Slides That Show Why SunEdison Bought First Wind.”
  4. The Checks and Balances Project asks, “Is Virginia Tech’s Coal Center Director Evading Questions to Shield Donors?”
  5. Politico reports: “Never mind the cliffhanger defeat for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Even if the Senate had passed the bill Tuesday, hints are mounting that President Barack Obama has hardened his stance against the $8 billion project and would veto any legislation greenlighting it, whether it comes from the current Democratic Senate or next year’s Republican Senate.”
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New Poll Finds Maryland Voters Support Solar by More than 4:1; Oppose Coal

Posted By Lowell F. on November 19th, 2014

Another day, another poll showing overwhelming support for clean energy. This time it’s a poll of Maryland voters, commissioned by Ethical Electric. Also note that Maryland voters have a highly favorable view of wind, and a net unfavorable view of coal. Hopefully, Maryland’s new governor will keep all this in mind as he formulates Maryland’s energy policy in coming years.

Maryland voters support solar energy by a more than four to one ratio, say it’s the top energy technology they’d support if they were in charge of state policy, and want the state to be a solar leader, according to a new poll commissioned by Ethical Electric.

Solar is the most popular form of renewable energy in Maryland. 64% of voters have a favorable opinion of it, compared to just 13% who have an unfavorable opinion of the zero emission technology. All other forms of renewable energy performed well, including wind (57% favorable, 21% unfavorable), geothermal (56% favorable, 11% unfavorable), and hydropower (63% favorable, 8% unfavorable).

“The message is clear: solar power is incredibly popular with Maryland’s voters and they want their government to help it grow across the state,” said Tom Matzzie, CEO of Ethical Electric. “Solar’s a winner with Democrats and Republicans – Governor-elect Larry Hogan should keep this mandate in mind as he assembles his administration and begins to shape policy.”

And if the average Maryland voter were governor for a day, solar power would shine. 37% would provide financial support to solar if they were in charge of the state’s energy policy and could choose one technology to support. No other form of energy came close – natural gas (14%) and wind power (13%) were the only other energy sources with double-digit support.

64% of voters also say it’s important for Maryland to be a solar leader – a concerning result considering Maryland is outside the top ten in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s cumulative installed solar capacity ranking and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s state ranking for solar installed in 2014. Indeed, 43% of voters say state government is not involved enough in solar power promotion.

While voters also support natural gas (69% favorable, 9% unfavorable), a majority of voters are against coal (37% favorable, 41% unfavorable), and oil is supported by less than half of all voters (44% favorable, 29% unfavorable). Nuclear power is also supported by less than half of all voters (43% favorable, 31% unfavorable), highlighting a clear trend against energy technologies that create large amounts of carbon pollution or pose major environmental threats.

Solar support is consistent across party lines. 63% of Democrats, 59% of Republicans, and 62% of Independents view it favorably.

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    Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (11/18/14)

    Posted By Lowell F. on November 18th, 2014

    Here are five recommended reads for today (11/18/14).

    1. Greentech Media reports: “SunEdison and its YieldCo TerraForm just acquired wind developer First Wind for $2.4 billion. It means SunEdison is in the wind business and can now add wind projects to the solar project pipeline of its YieldCo, TerraForm. The purchase price was comprised of $1.9 billion in an upfront payment and a $510 million earn-out.”
    2. According to Renewable Energy World: “The new era in Congress may mean trouble for some old tax breaks. The wind energy tax credit, championed by environmentalists, Democrats, a few Republicans and companies including General Electric Co. and Siemens AG, may be imperiled as its most important backers in Congress lose clout.”
    3. The Washington Post reports, “The U.S. Forest Service has backed off a proposal to ban fracking in the George Washington National Forest, a move likely to upset conservationists who oppose the controversial drilling practice.”
    4. According to the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, “Another reason to be outraged over Congress’ Keystone bill: It gives one company special treatment.”
    5. The New York Times reports: “In detailed proposals submitted in May and August, the public relations firm Edelman outlined a plan to investigate groups that had opposed Energy East, a pipeline in development by TransCanada. Edelman urged TransCanada to develop its own sympathetic supporters and spread any unflattering findings about the opposition.”
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    Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (11/17/14)

    Posted By Lowell F. on November 17th, 2014

    Here are five recommended reads for today (11/17/14).

    1. Bloomberg reports: “Buying a solar rooftop in Wisconsin will become a lot less affordable under fees and utility rate changes approved today for a Wisconsin Energy Corp. (WEC) unit. State regulators today approved fees on any home or business that installs solar in the Milwaukee-based utility’s service area, said Nathan Conrad, a spokesman for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.”
    2. According to DeSmogBlog, “A new report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has found that, through their Walton Family Foundation, the Waltons have given $4.5 million dollars to groups like the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Americans for Prosperity—groups that are attacking renewable energy policies at the state level and, specifically, pushing for fees on rooftop solar installations.”
    3. Politico reports: “Republican oil mogul Harold Hamm says Congress is wasting its time debating the Keystone XL pipeline. ‘It’s not relevant at all in my opinion. And here we are making it relevant now? Forget it,’ the billionaire CEO of Oklahoma-based Continental Resources told POLITICO in an interview Friday, just before the House passed a bill aimed at approving the pipeline.
    4. The Daily Beast writes, “The Pipeline From Hell: There’s No Good Reason to Build Keystone XL.”
    5. Shauna Theel writes at The Energy Collective, “[The] U.S. and China reached a historic agreement to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, providing a strong signal for investors that wind energy, among other clean electric power solutions, is a smart economic decision.”
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    Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (11/14/14)

    Posted By Lowell F. on November 14th, 2014

    Here are five recommended reads for today (11/14/14).

    1. Renewable Energy World reports, “The global market for grid-connected residential photovoltaic (PV) solar installations coupled with energy storage is predicted to grow tenfold to reach more than 900 megawatts (MW) in 2018, up from just 90 MW in 2014, according to analysis from IHS.”
    2. According to RenewEconomy, “The head of one of the world’s leading solar PV manufacturers and developers, SunPower’s Tom Werner, predicts that solar will be a $US5 trillion industry within 20 years, and represents one of the greatest ever opportunities in the history of markets.”
    3. Reuters reports, “President Barack Obama said on Friday his position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline has not changed, as the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives prepared to vote to approve the project to transport oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.”
    4. According to Bloomberg, “Oil prices could slide from a four-year low in the coming months as the market enters a period of weaker demand, increasing pressure on OPEC to reduce production, the International Energy Agency said.”
    5. The Guardian reports, “Mining giant Glencore will shut down its Australian coal operations for three weeks due to an oversupply of the commodity.”
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