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.



"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.'


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.


"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.


"Success for program that funded Solyndra"

"Burning money" graphic by Gene Case, Avenging AngelsAs reported by the Washington Post, "20 of 30 clean-energy projects that got loans are generating revenue." The article refers to the federal energy loan guarantee program.

In fact, as reported," In California, Tesla Motors has flourished, paying back a $465 million loan nearly 10 years early."

Congressional Republicans had attempted to make a lot of hay out of the "Solyndra scandal," a solar loan guarantee that defaulted, costing federal taxpayers $435 million.

Even now, as the article reports, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, says "We are not out of the woods by any stretch. Our oversight efforts will continue as problems still persist, and more needs to be done to protect billions of dollars in taxpayer interests."

But as much noise as Upton and his Republican colleagues have made, for years, about Solyndra, they have had nothing to say about the Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear loan guarantee. Awarded by the Obama administration to Southern Nuclear and its partners, the $8.3 billion federal taxpayer-backed loan guarantee (and loan -- it comes from the taxpayer-funded U.S. Finance Bank) for two proposed new reactors in Georgia represents 15 times more taxpayer money at risk than was lost at Solyndra. And the risk of loan default at Vogtle 3 & 4 is significantly higher than the risk that the Solyndra was initially deteremined to have been.

But then again, Upton is one of the nuclear power industry's "best friends in Congress," as documented over the years by Beyond Nuclear in a two-page summary; a full-length backgrounder; and supporting documents, showing individual campaign contributions to Upton, tied to the nuclear power industry, as well as nuclear power industry-related political action committee campaign committee (PAC) campaign contributions made to Upton. In return for the favors, Upton has long supported nuclear power industry lobbying priorities at every turn.

Upton went so far as to sponsor a bill in 2009 that would have defined nuclear power as "renewable energy." His bill fell just short of passage in the Energy and Commerce Committee, when four pro-nuclear Democrats (such as Barrow from Georgia) supported it. It is all the more ironic, and telling, then that Upton opposes renewable loan guarantees, but supports nuclear power loan guarantees.


German renewables supply tops share of nation’s electricity demand

There are more signs that Germany’s “Energy Transition” is making steady progress toward the Merkel government’s goal to shut down all of the nation’s atomic reactors in the coming decade and largely replace them and the fossil fuel industry with wind and solar power. Bloomberg News reported that German renewable energy produced the largest percentage of all electricity generators individually including lignite coal, nuclear and hydropower. Wind, solar and biomass supplied 27.7% of Germany’s electricity demand as compared to 26.3 % by coal-fired generators while atomic reactors generated 15.4%. 

In the United Kingdom, wind power continues to set electricity production records only to break them days later. Offshore and onshore wind power combined to briefly surpass nuclear power generated electricity for several minutes.