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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
May062015

Innovative Tesla battery paves way for solar energy revolution

Tesla Energy CEO Elon Musk introduced “Powerwall” as a scalable, stationary battery power storage system for homes, commercial businesses and even electric utilities. The Tesla battery storage system is a major breakthrough for the 21st Century distributed energy revolution powered by the sun and wind. It marks the beginning of the democratization of energy and the end of reliance on an antiquated and unreliable electric grid centrally powered by dirty fossil fuel and dangerous nuclear power plants.

About the size of a large suitcase, each Powerwall unit is a wall-mounted, stackable unit complete with integrated safety systems, temperature control and DC to DC converter for controlling power flow all specially designed for storing electricity generated by sunshine. It can also store electricity from the grid gathered at peak hours for reliable energy use later at reduced cost or as an emergency backup system during a power outage.

Each Powerwall comes in two power solutions: a 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) option ($3,500 plus installation) and a 7 kWh option ($3,000 plus installation) that can be used for the daily cycling of photovoltaic power to offset net consumption from the electric grid or disconnect from the grid entirely.  

Tesla Energy plans to also market the “Powerpack” which is a utility-scale version to store electricity in gigawatt-hour class systems capable of powering entire cities with sustainable renewable energy.

Tesla Energy is partnering with photovoltaic system manufacturers like Solar City for their joint October 2015 rollout in Hawaii for the off-the-shelf residential solar arrays integrated with out-of-the box Powerwalls.

Thursday
Apr302015

Chicago Sun-Times: "Renewable energy is the future..."

Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times editorial boards have come out against Exelon Nuclear's attempt to gouge Illinois ratepayers to the tune of hundreds of millions per year, to prop up allegedly failing atomic reactors. "Allegedly," because, as both papers point out, Exelon refuses to open its books to the public.

Both editorial boards come at the problem from the perspective of free market capitalism. Which is fine -- no other energy industry has enjoyed more public subsidization than the nuclear power industry, which makes Exelon's latest bailout demand all the more objectionable.

And, despite their disadvantage over the course of decades, in terms of public subsidies secured by politically powerful nuclear lobbyists, renewables like wind and solar have nonetheless remained competitive. In fact, they are outcompeting the nuclear power industry. Efficiency is even more competitive and cost-effective.

As the Sun-Times so wisely understands, "Renewable energy is the future, and the state should be making that a priority, not nuclear plants."

After all, while Germany's Conservative parties may have belatedly, and reluctantly, agreed to the nuclear phase out for political survival post-Fukushima, they do not see the domestic expansion and export of renewable energy as a charitable undertaking. They see it as a huge money making opportunity on the international marketplace.

It's high time for the U.S., and states like Illinois, to either wake up and smell the coffee, or get left in the dust.

Friday
Mar132015

"Plenty of electricity in the air, study says"

DOE imageAs by reported by Joby Warrick in the Washington Post, the first such study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in seven years predicts that easily a third of U.S. energy needs could be supplied by wind power by 2050.

The DOE report is entitled "Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States." The analysis estimates that wind power could support 600,000 jobs by mid-century.

Wednesday
Mar112015

Beyond Nuclear interviewed on EV World about Fukushima

Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, was interviewed by Bill Moore, founder of EV WORLD: WORLD OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES on his inFOCUS video program. Their 30-minute dialogue covered a lot of ground, focusing on the latest news from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe four years after it began on 3/11/11, but also touching on Nebraska nuclear issues (Moore is based in Papillion, NE, near the troubled Fort Calhoun and Cooper atomic reactors), renewable and efficiency alternatives to nuclear power, and what folks can do about it all.

Sunday
Mar082015

"Industry tries to cast cloud over solar use"

As reported by Joby Warrick in the Washington Post, dirty energy industries such as fossil fuels (not to mention nuclear power) have been leading a largely unsuccessful lobbying effort in state legislatures to block rooftop solar photo-voltaics (PV) across the U.S. A part of their defeat was due to support for solar, not only from progressives, but also from conservatives and evangelicals.

But more recently, the cynical utility lobbying effort by the biggest electricity retailers in the country has found more success at friendly state-level public utility commissions, where such impediments as costly surcharges for solar PV panels and net metering have been approved, over widespread protests.

It all boils down to dirty, dangerous, and expensive energy industries -- fossil fuels and nuclear power -- trying to kill the competition from renewables, so they can maintain their century-old electricity sales monopolies.

Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) of Chicago put out a press release on Feb. 26th, the day Exelon unveiled its mega-bailout request to the State of IL legislature, for ratepayer subsidies to prop up five uncompetitive atomic reactors. NEIS entitled the press release "Exelon Legislation, FERC Comments, a 'Declaration of War' on Renewables and Efficiency, Group Asserts." NEIS Director, Dave Kraft, lays out all the ins and outs of Exelon lobbyists attempted money grab, at the expense of ratepayers' pocketbooks as well as the renewable energy and energy efficiency future of Illinois.

An interesting overlap between the Washington Post's national coverage above, and NEIS's press release: Exelon Nuclear of Chicago wants to takeover the Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco, which serves Washington, DC, Maryland, and Delaware. As the public interest coalition PowerDC has warned, if Exelon does take over Pepco, rooftop solar will be among the first casualties, as Exelon seeks to roll back the competition to its nuclear business model. In fact, Exelon can be expected to jack rates in the Mid-Atlantic, in order to prop up its uncompetitive nukes in IL. In fact, after taking over Baltimore Gas and Electric (Constellation Nuclear) in 2012, Exelon has sought four rate increases since.