New Poll: Likely 2016 Voters Want Shift to Solar, Wind; Away from Coal, Oil

January 16th, 2015

Despite the fossil fuel industry’s well-funded efforts over many years to turn the American public against clean energy, a new poll by Hart Research of likely 2016 voters finds overwhelming support for clean energy.  Check out the graphics below and see for yourself: likely 2016 voters want the federal government to rely more on solar power by a 71-point margin (80%-9%), and to rely more on wind power by a 59-point margin (73%-14%). In stark contrast, those same likely voters want the federal government to rely less on coal by a 34-point margin (55%-21%) and less on oil by a 29-points margin (53%-24%). You can’t much clearer than that.

Also note that likely 2016 voters overwhelmingly do NOT support anti-environmental policies such as weakening protections for our drinking water supplies and clean air; allowing oil and gas drilling in national forests/parks. Again, you can’t get much clearer than that. The question is, what will it take for anti-clean-energy, pro-fossil-fuel members of Congress get the message?

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (1/15/15)

January 15th, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (1/15/15).

  1. According to the White House, “New Actions to Reduce Methane Emissions Will Curb Climate Change, Cut Down on Wasted Energy.”
  2. An article in Rolling Stone explains “The Logic of Divestment: Why We Have to Kiss Off Big Carbon Now.”
  3. Bloomberg reports: “Almost 174,000 people are working in the U.S. solar industry, compared with 143,000 in 2013 and 93,500 in 2010, according to a report today from the Solar Foundation. Another 36,000 solar jobs may be added this year, including factory workers, salespeople, installers, developers and researchers.”
  4. According to Climate Progress, “The primary waste product created by oil and gas drilling contains two types of potentially hazardous contaminants that have never before been associated with the industry, research published in the peer-reviewed journalEnvironmental Science & Technology on Wednesday revealed.”
  5. Greentech Media reports, “According to a new report by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, backed by the SunShot Initiative, a fully financed solar PV system costs less than the energy purchased from a residential customer’s local utility in 42 of the 50 largest cities in the United States.”

New Study: Clean Offshore Wind Power Would Create More Jobs than Dirty, Dangerous Offshore Oil Drilling in Virginia, Mid-Atlantic

January 14th, 2015

For anyone who thinks that dirty, dangerous, polluting offshore oil drilling is the answer to our energy and economic challenges, or that offshore wind power is not the answer, check out this new report by Oceana and find out how mistaken that belief is. A few key points from this report include the following (note: we’re focusing on Virginia mainly because Tigercomm is located in that state, but the report finds similar, or even better, results for many other East Coast states — North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Georgia, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maine).

*”…many of the arguments made about the benefits of offshore drilling do not stand up to scrutiny, and the benefits of offshore wind prove to be greater and available over a longer period of time.”
*”The oil industry’s estimates are often based on unrealistic assumptions about the job growth potential of developing oil and gas.”
*”On the other hand, developing even a modest amount of available offshore wind resources would be a far better strategy to lead the U.S. toward energy independence, while generating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
*”Unlike offshore drilling, offshore wind provides power directly to coastal communities without resulting in pollution, carbon dioxide emissions or spills.”
*”The Atlantic has minimal fossil fuel resources compared to other regions used or being considered for domestic oil and gas production,” so little that “oil consumption could actually only be met for 132 days and gas consumption for only 283 days.” Pitiful.
*”A modest and gradual development of offshore wind on the East Coast could generate up to 143 gigawatts of power over the next 20 years, which is enough to power over 115 million households.
*”In the next 20 years on the U.S. East Coast, offshore wind could create about 91,000 more jobs than offshore drilling, which is about double the job creation potential.”
*”In just 13 years of producing energy, offshore wind could generate more energy than could be provided by all of the economically recoverable offshore oil and gas resources.”
*”Along the Atlantic coast, nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation (and those would be put at serious risk by offshore oil drilling).
*Virginia has 11.3 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power potential. To put that in perspective, Virginia as of 2012 had 5.2 GW of coal-fired generating capacity and 5.7 GW of natural-gas fired generating capacity — slightly less, combined, than Virginia’s offshore wind power potential.
*Offshore wind would create 15,456 jobs in Virginia, 1 1/2 times greater than the 10,295 jobs offshore oil drilling would create, but again without the risk of environmental damage.
*Also keep in mind that when the oil runs out, the jobs run out too. In stark contrast, wind power will never run out, which means that the jobs will also never run out. All “without the risk of a catastrophic oil spill.” Is this a no brainer or what?

One more point: offshore wind power is booming in many places around the world, just not here in the United States, thanks to our wildly biased, pro-fossil-fuel energy policies. For instance, in Europe, as of the end of 2013 there were “2,080 turbines…installed and grid connected, making a cumulative total of 6,562 MW, in 69 wind farms in eleven European countries.” During the first half of 2014, another 781 MW of offshore wind power came online in Europe, with 1,200 MW more awaiting grid connection. All told, in Europe, the “total capacity of all the wind farms under construction is over 4,900 MW when fully commissioned.”

The results of this offshore wind power boom in Europe? See U.K. And Germany Smash Wind Power Records for an idea: “wind generated enough electricity to power just over 25 percent of U.K. homes in 2014;” “Scotland hopes to generate the equivalent of 100 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020.” Also see Denmark Sets World Record For Wind Power Production and Germany & Denmark Join Britain In Smashing Wind Energy Records and UK Offshore Wind Installations Forecast to Soar and…getting the picture?

In short, Europe is putting the United States to shame when it comes to offshore wind power. Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way; the U.S. has enormous wind resources — as the Oceana report points out, “enough to power over 115 million households” — so this is mostly a political issue. Finally, note that offshore wind costs are plummeting, with Siemens recently projecting “a 40% drop in the price of offshore wind…within the next 10 years, or 30% at the least.” Again, what are we waiting for exactly? Simple: for our political system to shake off the grip of the fossil fuel lobby and to embrace the enormous clean energy potential of the 21st century!

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (1/14/15)

January 14th, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (1/14/15).

  1. RenewEconomy reports, “The growth of rooftop solar and the increased uptake of energy efficiency account for nearly all of the reduced demand in the Australian electricity grid in the last year, according to a new report.”
  2. David Roberts of Grist interviews Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee about his “big climate plan,” carbon “cap-and-trade” proposal, etc.
  3. Bloomberg reports: “The Obama administration plans to require the oil and gas industry to cut methane emissions from the drilling and transportation of fossil fuels by as much as 45 percent over the next decade, another step in its efforts to curb greenhouse gases tied to climate change.”
  4. According to U.S. News & World Report, “Crude has yet to flow through the proposed $5.4 billion Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S., but as the Senate prepares for its second vote on the 1,179-mile project later this month, interest groups have sent hundreds of millions of dollars to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”
  5. The Tampa Bay Times reports: “Imagine the Christian Coalition and the tea party joining hands with liberals and environmentalists. Add to the Kumbaya moment Libertarians and Florida’s retail business federation. They all plan to unite this morning for a news conference in Tallahassee about their campaign to allow those in Florida who generate electricity from the sun to sell that power directly to other consumers. Right now, that’s illegal here.”

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (1/13/15)

January 13th, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (1/13/15).

  1. Bloomberg reports, “SunEdison Inc. (SUNE) will invest $4 billion to build the biggest solar panel factory in India, advancing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort to rein in pollution by expanding renewable energy.”
  2. According to Greentech Media, “On home turf today at the Detroit Auto Show, General Motors unveiled theChevrolet Bolt, a $30,000 electric vehicle for the masses, targeted to compete with Tesla Motors’ highly anticipated Model 3.”
  3. The Guardian reports, “Barack Obama will unveil a new plan to cut methane from America’s booming oil and gas industry ahead of the State of the Union address, in an attempt to cement his climate legacy during his remaining two years in the White House.”
  4. According to Clean Technica, “The revenue generated worldwide by grid-scale energy storage between 2014–2024 is predicted to total $68.5 billion, as per a recent report from Navigant Research.”
  5. Bloomberg reports, “OPEC nations can withstand a drop in crude prices to the lowest in more than five years, while shale drillers will probably be the first to curb production amid the collapse, the United Arab Emirates’ energy minister said.”