Eclipse: renewable energy passes test

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Mother Nature provided a test of one of the more controversial ideas tossed around by the energy and environmental staff installed by President Trump. Here’s their question: Do recent changes to way power is generated in the United States — namely, more solar...
“Iowa has the most reliable electric grid in the country, and the average energy cost for all sectors here is the sixth cheapest in the nation.”

– Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, in an op-ed touting her state’s embrace of wind power, which has created 9,000 jobs and generated more than $13.5 billion in investments.

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“While it appears $4.5 billion is a big number, if you built a central-station generation facility like a coal unit or something like that, it would be as big or bigger, but much more risky.”

– American Electric Power CEO Nick Akins, commenting on his company’s plans to spend $4.5 billion acquiring an 800-turbine Oklahoma wind project, the biggest in the United States.

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“If Duke and Southern Co. couldn’t do it, who is the Navajo Nation going to find who can do it? There’s no evidence that this can be done economically or reliably.”

– David Schlissel, director of resource planning analysis at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, reacting to statements by Navajo tribal officials that they are considering building a coal gasification plant on the site of Navajo Generating Station after it is decommissioned in 2019.

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“The only thing different between this year and previous years is that our political leaders, their lobbyist friends, and the billionaire coal tycoons are cutting safety regulations in order to make an additional dollar.”

– Gary Bentley, a former underground coal miner from Eastern Kentucky, writing about the rise in work-related coal mine deaths this year, even as the number of workers and mine output shrink. Nationally, there have already been more deaths in the first half of 2017 than in the entire previous year.

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“In the first year alone, the [Pueblo County School] District saved $35,000. Over the life of the [community solar] program, those savings will exceed $2 million. That’s enough to buy a Chromebook for 7 out of ten kids in the District. It’s enough to pay all 32 employees at Prairie Winds Elementary for a year.”

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., in an op-ed extolling the virtues of community solar programs. Bennet has introduced legislation in Congress to make permanent a Department of Energy program to promote community solar, especially in low-income communities.

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Trying to keep aging coal and nuclear plants operating “may end up raising rather than lowering the average cost of wholesale electricity for many customers.”

– from a leaked draft of a politically motivated analysis commissioned by Energy Secretary Rick Perry that was supposed to question whether renewable energy policies or regulations have harmed grid reliability and accelerated the retirement of coal and nuclear plants, but which actually showed the opposite to be true.

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