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The Renewable Energy Renaissance

The real Renaissance is in renewable energy whose sources could meet 25% of the nation's energy needs by 2025. Renewable technologies can help restore political and economic stability as well as save money…and the planet.

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Wednesday
Feb182015

VT Gov. Shumlin: "An energy innovation program for Vermont"

VT Gov. Peter Shumlin, who also serves as the chairman of the Democratic Governors AssociationAs reported by the Mountain Times of Killington, VT, Governor Peter Shumlin (D-VT) is calling on the State of Vermont Legislature to join him in passing major legislation that would make the Green Mountain State a cutting-edge center for clean, renewable energy and efficiency.

Vermont already boasts 15,000 clean energy jobs, but Shumlin wants to add another 1,000 with this bill.

He also wants a dramatic increase in rooftop solar photovoltaics state-wide. This would be paid for with efficiency cost savings, applied toward solar PV panel installation on customers' monthly bills.

The legislation sets a very aggressive schedule for clean energy implementation. It would require utilities to provide 55% of energy from renewable sources just two years from now, and 75% by 2032.

Shumlin cites job growth, to retain young people in Vermont, and lowering residents' electricity bills, as major motivations for his Energy Innovation Program.

In 2010, Shumlin was the Democratic candidate for governor most opposed to Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee's (VY) license extension, and rode that wave of popular support into the governor's mansion. Before becoming governor, he had led the effort in the Vermont State Senate that culminated, in Feb. 2010, in a 26 to 4 vote to block VY's 20-year license extension. In August 2013, Entergy announced it would permanently shutdown VY. At 12:12pm Eastern on Dec. 29, 2014, it did so.

A reflection of VY's and nuclear power's irrelevance to VT's clean, safe, and affordable energy future? Gov. Shumlin doesn't even mention VY in his op-ed!

Shumlin's op-ed also ran in the Brattleboro Reformer, published very near VY.

Tuesday
Feb102015

Major legal victory in Missouri for distributed solar PV! 

Photo credit: http://www.csisun.com/solar-installations/As reported by the The Joplin Globe, solar PV advocates including Renew Missouri (the Earth Island Institute) and the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, have just won a major legal victory before the State of Missouri Supreme Court.

The ruling blocks an electric utility from wiggling out of providing rebates to customers who install solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels on their homes, as required by a 2008 state-wide Missouri voter referendum on minimum renewable portfolio standards. The utility, Empire District Electric Co., lobbied for and won the exemption from the State of Missouri legislature. But the State Supreme Court ruled the exemption was an illegal end run around the popular will of "Show Me State" voters, who passed the initiative by a 2 to 1 margin.

As the article reports:

'..."This ruling legally clarifies that as of today (Tuesday), more than six years after a majority of Empire's own customers voted to require them to do so, Empire must offer solar rebates," [P.J. Wilson, director of Renew Missouri,] said.

The plaintiffs were represented by Henry Robertson, an attorney with the nonprofit Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, based in St. Louis. "This is a validation of the initiative petition process and clarifies that the Legislature can't subvert the will of the people before they even get a chance to vote on an issue," he said.

Heather Navarro, director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, said, "Today is a win for Missouri voters and clean energy jobs, especially in Southwest Missouri. Empire customers will now enjoy the same economic benefits of solar energy as seen elsewhere in Missouri."...'

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Associated Press, St. Louis Public Radio, and many other media outlets have reported on this story.

The good news means that solar PV panel installers will now waste no time in setting up shop in southwestern Missouri, creating a significant number of new, skilled, well paid renewable energy jobs (see photo, above left)!

 

Beyond Nuclear works in coalition with the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, and Missouri Coalition for the Environment, as on "Nuclear Waste Confidence"-related contentions and legal actions opposing atomic reactor licensing.

Wednesday
Feb042015

"Emanuel lines up with Exelon critics to push clean-power agenda"

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (photo credit: Bloomberg)As reported by Steve Daniels in Crain's Chicago Business, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (photo, left) has joined with the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition to promote genuinely clean energy, such as wind, solar, and efficiency.

As the article reports, "Members of the coalition include frequent Exelon foes like consumer advocacy group Citizens Utility Board, the Sierra Club and Wind on the Wires, the industry trade association for Illinois wind producers. But it also includes growing clean energy firms like commercial solar installer SoCore, California-based solar firm SolarCity, GE Wind and energy efficiency firm Schneider Electric...[and] Chicago Pipefitters Local 597...".

The article also reports:

'...Exelon also has suggested that nuclear power, which emits no carbon, ought to be eligible for the same subsidies other clean sources like wind and solar receive.

At the press conference, one of the group's members scoffed at the notion that nuclear should be considered green the way wind and solar power are.

“Everybody knows what (clean power) is,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center, a frequent Exelon critic.'

Friday
Jan232015

Push back against nuclear takeover of DC electric utility is solar powered (and people powered)!

ORGANIZE!As reported by David Roberts at Grist, Exelon Nuclear proposed takeover of Pepco represents a "Big, nuke-heavy utility looking for new ratepayers to fleece." It is part and parcel of Exelon's desperate bid to keep its dirty, dangerous, uncompetitive, aging nuclear power reactor fleet afloat. But anti-nuclear and environmental groups, the public interest movement, businesses, and consumer and ratepayer advocates are fighting back.

A big part of that push back, as by the coalition called PowerDC, is to promote distributed rooftop solar on residences and small businesses throughout the District of Columbia. Given its behavior elsewhere in the country, Exelon's takeover of Pepco could seriously undermine DC's progressive, mandated energy efficiency and renewable energy goals.

Wednesday
Jan212015

"District should reject Exelon-Pepco merger, energy think tank says in report"

Exelon has warned that, without massive ratepayer subsidies, several of its age-degraded atomic reactors in Illinois could face permanet shutdown. But Exelon's intent to gouge ratepayers isn't limited to its home state of IL. It is attempting to takeover a major Mid-Atlantic regional electricity provider, Pepco, and gouge its ratepayers as well.

As reported by the Washington Post, the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has warned the Washington, D.C. Public Utility Commission against approving the Exelon Nuclear/Pepco merger, "in part because Exelon’s business model relies too heavily on an aging group of nuclear power plants."

In a bid to prop up its dirty, dangerous, and uncompetitive fleet of atomic reactors, Exelon would gouge Mid-Atlantic ratepayers on their electricity bills. At the same time, it would likely lobby to undermine progressive renewable power and energy efficiency strides already made in such places as Maryland and D.C.

The article reports:

“Exelon’s shaky financial position gives it an incentive to raise rates, as it has done four times with Baltimore Gas & Electric just since 2012,” Cathy Kunkel, an IEEFA Fellow and the lead author, wrote in an e-mail. “The merger would weaken D.C.’s control over its electric utility and jeopardize progress toward the city’s renewable energy goals.”

Dcist has also reported on this story.