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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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Thursday
May202010

Vermont to buy wind power from New Hampshire

With Vermont Yankee nuclear plant due to close in under two years, the state of Vermont's two biggest utilities are planning to buy wind power from New Hampshire instead. Granite Reliable Wind, which is planning a 99 megawatt project, could be selling wind to Central Vermont Public Service Corporation and Green Mountain Power in a positive step along the path to a nuclear-free Vermont.

Thursday
May202010

Renewables Held Hostage to Nuclear Loan Guarantee Expansion

Further twisting the meaning of “clean energy” as the Kerry-Lieberman "climate" bill undermines environmental protections and promotes dirty energy industries at taxpayer risk and expense,  the Obama administration and Democratic House leaders have reportedly agreed to attach $90 million to a pending war spending bill in order to expand the nuclear power loan guarantee fund by $9 billion. This would accelerate the construction of three new atomic power plants in Maryland (Calvert Cliffs 3), South Carolina (two reactors at Summer), and Texas (South Texas Project Units 3 and 4). The nuclear power industry has long tried to hitch a ride on renewable energy and energy efficiency's popularity, such as last year when it joined with renewables associations to urge the expansion of energy loan guarantees at taxpayer expense, or last week when it stood with the American Wind Energy Association at the National Press Club. Constellation Energy is even underwriting nuclear power, wind power, and energy efficiency in the same breath on National Public Radio ads, as if these aren't mutually exclusive; its ad campaigns blur its nuclear goals with a renewables smokescreen. But nuclear power cannot solve the climate crisis or even its own serious problems, while renewables and efficiency can. In fact, "negawatts" and "micro power" are whipping nuclear power in the free market, and have been for years and even decades, a hopeful trend that is speeding up over time. But taxpayer support for nuclear power, as proposed by Senators Kerry and Lieberman, undermines those very free market forces, squelching the competitive promise of renewables/efficiency, much to the atomic industry's delight. To paraphrase long-time congressional atomic watchdog Ed Markey, Orwell's spinning so fast in his grave he should be connected to the electric grid! As shown by this latest deal, nuclear power stands to gain $9 billion of financing at taxpayer risk, "in exchange," politically, for solar to get only $1 billion. Such Faustian bargains will continue to garner the atomic industry the lion's share, while renewables and efficiency are left with the crumbs. This would repeat the past half-century of failed energy policy in this country. Contact the White House at (202) 456-1111, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at (202) 225-0100. Urge President Obama and Speaker Pelosi to support the real solutions to the climate crisis -- renewables and efficiency -- but not at the taxpayer expense of further subsidizing dirty, dangerous, and expensive nuclear power.

Friday
Apr302010

Cape Wind (finally) gets the green light

After years of struggle and controversy, America's first offshore wind project finally got the green light when Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, approved the Cape Wind project on Apil 28. According to the Cape Wind press release, "Cape Wind’s proposal to build America’s first offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal would provide most of the electricity used on Cape Cod and the Islands from clean, renewable energy - reducing this region’s need to import oil, coal and gas. Cape Wind will create new jobs, help stabilize electric costs, contribute to a healthier environment, increase energy independence and establish Massachusetts as a leader in offshore wind power".

Monday
Jan042010

Solar energy after sunset

New research shows solar energy can be generated even when the sun is not shining. A Las Vegas Sun article describes how Nevada hopes to be the first to launch it. Photo of Solar Two in Barstow, CA courtesy of Nevada Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Monday
Dec142009

A boy, a dream and a wind turbine

An encouraging story from Malawi shows that a determined individual can make a difference, even one windmill at a time. As a teenager, William Kamkwamba was determined to find a way out of poverty for his village. Today it is powered by three wind turbines, William has a best-selling autobiography - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - and he has been recognized around the world including by Al Gore.