Data, quotes and stories of the changing energy era

Renewable energy is thriving in Trump country

From Georgia to the Dakotas, some of the fastest progress on clean energy development in the United States is occurring in states led by Republican governors and legislators, and states carried by Donald Trump in the presidential election. The five states that get the...
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Renewables to dominate global power by 2040

Renewable energy cost declines continue to outpace what analysts predicted even just one year ago. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance's latest installment of the annual New Energy Outlook report, which models the global energy mix out to 2040, renewables will...
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Renewables meet 10% of U.S. demand for 1st time

  The United States reached a new energy milestone in March as 10 percent of all of the electricity generated in the country came from wind and solar power. according to a new U.S. Energy Information Administration data. The EIA's findings represent a marked...
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LEGO builds a 100% renewable company

One of the world’s most beloved toymakers, the LEGO Group, has reached its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy for its operations three years ahead of schedule. The milestone was achieved with completion of the 258-megawatt Burbo Bank Windfarm Extension of the...
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Image: Duke Energy via flickr Creative Commons license

“The future for coal in the United States? There is no future.”

– Former Duke Energy CEO and Chairman Jim Rogers, speaking at the release of a new report calling coal’s decline one of the most “spectacular market collapses in equity history.” The combined market value of the four largest U.S. coal companies fell from $33 billion...
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Another UK solar record falls as summer nears

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Britain’s fleet of solar panels generated a record amount of electricity as the nation basked in sunshine during the hottest day of the year to date. U.K. solar power output rose to a record 8.75 gigawatts at 1 p.m. London time on May 27, according to data compiled by... read more
“Coal’s competitive advantage is fast evaporating. It cannot compete with renewables on cost, and storage and smart management of the grid have made the need for new baseload redundant. Coal is yesterday’s technology – the only thing new coal has going for it is inertia.”

– Kobad Bhavnagri, the lead author of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s New Energy Outlook 2017 in Asia-Pacific report.

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“The whole utility paradigm has shifted. We really are doing our ratepayers a disservice by not considering all viable options.”

– Reiko Kerr, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s senior assistant general manager of power systems, regarding a decision by the utility to put a hold on a $2.2 billion plan to rebuild several old natural gas power plants while it studies clean energy alternatives.

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“The cost declines that we are seeing with these technologies are so steep that it becomes a matter of time as to when they start crossing over and becoming competitive in different ways. These things are getting cheaper faster than we thought even a year ago.”

–  Seb Henbest, lead author of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s latest annual New Energy Outlook report, discussing the predicted dominance of solar, renewables and lithium-ion batteries in the global energy mix by 2040.

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“A lot of West Virginians understood that they were rolling the dice with Trump. …  [They] realize there is not going to be a gigantic return of coal.”

– West Virginia professor and historian Chuck Keeney, who has written extensively on the state’s coal industry and its miners,

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“I’ve not spoken to a single utility that’s truly holding on to a future of more coal.”

– Brian Janous, who directs energy strategy at Microsoft, quoted in a story about the effect that Fortune 500 companies are having on the electricity sector as they commit to running their businesses on 100 percent renewable energy and pressure utilities to provide them the sources to do so.

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“When [coal-fired power plants] are only running at 50 percent, the math just doesn’t pencil out. The business plans that justified them no longer exist, so they are just not profitable in current conditions.”

– Rob Godby, director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy at the University of Wyoming, explaining how coal is being forced out of energy markets across the country, especially in the East, where cheaper energy like wind and hydro, always sell first on the open market.

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“It’s the least cost renewable we can add to our system by far.”

– Stefan Bird, CEO of Pacific Power, whose parent company plans to build a major wind farm in Wyoming, one of several massive wind projects planned in the state to serve growing demand for clean energy on the West Coast.

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“We are making investments to create a smarter, more resilient and efficient grid that supports the integration of new technologies and cleaner resources to meet the energy needs of our customers.”

– From American Electric Power’s 2017 annual report, which details the utility’s plans to invest $13 billion in transmission and distribution systems and $1.5 billion in new renewable energy, as it dramatically shrinks its coal portfolio.

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“Even though we are in the foothills of coal country, it was not outrageous for us to look at energy efficiency and renewable energy as one of the pathways to helping this community transform.”

– Bobby Clark of Midwest Clean Energy Enterprise.Clark, on efforts to rebuild West Liberty, Kentucky with a master plan based on green buildings and renewable energy after much of it was destroyed by a tornado in 2012.

Image: KY Court of Justice via flickr creative commons license.

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“We have got a big appetite for wind or solar. If someone walks in with a solar project tomorrow and it takes a billion dollars or three billion dollars, we’re ready to do it. The more there is the better.”

– Warren Buffett, speaking to investors at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders meeting.

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“When are we ever going to be economically free, not serfs to the coal industry, unless there is economic diversity?”

– Filmmaker Mari-Lynn Evans, whose documentary “Blood on the Mountain” explores the troubled history of West Virginia’s coal industry, as quoted in a story about the state’s efforts to revitalize its economy independent of coal.

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“Market prices were kept low and highly competitive by improved hydro-electric conditions, moderate loads and the addition of about 2,300 megawatts of summer capacity — consisting mostly of solar generation.”

– From a market report by California’s grid operator showing that wholesale power prices fell 9 percent in 2016, spurred by a decline in natural gas prices, improved hydropower conditions and about 1,900 megawatts of new peak summer generating capacity from solar resources,

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“If you are tied to coal, you’ve got problems.”

– Warren Buffett, speaking to shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

Image: Fortune Live Media via flickr Creative Commons

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 “The future for coal in the United States? There is no future.”

– Former Duke Energy CEO and Chairman Jim Rogers, speaking at the release of a new report calling coal’s decline one of the most “spectacular market collapses in equity history.” The combined market value of the four largest U.S. coal companies fell from $33 billion to $150 million in five short years.

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“Responsible policymakers should be honest about what’s going on in the U.S. coal sector – including the causes of coal’s decline and unlikeliness of its resurgence – rather than offer false hope that the glory days can be revived.”

– From an analysis examining the prospects for a recovery of U.S. coal production and employment, which concludes that President Trump’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations are unlikely to materially improve economic conditions in America’s coal communities.

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European nations set bold offshore wind target

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The governments of Germany, Belgium and Denmark have come together with industry partners to commit to deploying 60 gigawatts of offshore wind power in Europe from 2020-2030. According to WindEurope, the industry has been on a steep cost-reduction curve and has... read more
LEGO builds a 100% renewable company

LEGO builds a 100% renewable company

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One of the world’s most beloved toymakers, the LEGO Group, has reached its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy for its operations three years ahead of schedule. The milestone was achieved with completion of the 258-megawatt Burbo Bank Windfarm Extension of the... read more
World’s tallest turbines now online in England

World’s tallest turbines now online in England

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The world’s tallest commercial wind turbines, standing at  height of 195 meters, are now in operation off the northwest coast of England, and they are powerhorses. A single revolution of an 8-megawatt turbine blade at the Burbo Bank wind farm can power a home... read more

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