tagged w/ Renewable Energy
It seems that a new boom in the construction of large-scale facilities using renewable energy has started in the world. This week, in Australia largest in the southern hemisphere wind farm, capable of providing electricity to 220,000 homes has been launched. In Germany, by the end of April, the first block of flats feeding on algae energy will get commissioned. Neither does France stand aside where soon, construction of a fully autonomous powered stadium will begin.It seems that a new boom in the construction of large-scale facilities using renewable... more
Solar power and other distributed renewable energy technologies could lay waste to U.S. power utilities and burn the utility business model, which has remained virtually unchanged for a century, to the ground.
By David Roberts | 10 Apr 2013
That is not wild-eyed hippie talk. It is the assessment of the utilities themselves.
Back in January, the Edison Electric Institute — the (typically stodgy and backward-looking) trade group of U.S. investor-owned utilities — released a report [PDF] that, as far as I can tell, went almost entirely without notice in the press. That’s a shame. It is one of the most prescient and brutally frank things I’ve ever read about the power sector. It is a rare thing to hear an industry tell the tale of its own incipient obsolescence.
I’ve been thinking about how to convey to you, normal people with healthy social lives and no time to ponder the byzantine nature of the power industry, just what a big deal the coming changes are. They are nothing short of revolutionary … but rather difficult to explain without jargon.
So, just a bit of background. You probably know that electricity is provided by utilities. Some utilities both generate electricity at power plants and provide it to customers over power lines. They are “regulated monopolies,” which means they have sole responsibility for providing power in their service areas. Some utilities have gone through deregulation; in that case, power generation is split off into its own business, while the utility’s job is to purchase power on competitive markets and provide it to customers over the grid it manages.
This complexity makes it difficult to generalize about utilities … or to discuss them without putting people to sleep. But the main thing to know is that the utility business model relies on selling power. That’s how they make their money. Here’s how it works: A utility makes a case to a public utility commission (PUC), saying “we will need to satisfy this level of demand from consumers, which means we’ll need to generate (or purchase) this much power, which means we’ll need to charge these rates.” If the PUC finds the case persuasive, it approves the rates and guarantees the utility a reasonable return on its investments in power and grid upkeep.
Thrilling, I know. The thing to remember is that it is in a utility’s financial interest to generate (or buy) and deliver as much power as possible. The higher the demand, the higher the investments, the higher the utility shareholder profits. In short, all things being equal, utilities want to sell more power. (All things are occasionally not equal, but we’ll leave those complications aside for now.)
Now, into this cozy business model enters cheap distributed solar PV, which eats away at it like acid.
First, the power generated by solar panels on residential or commercial roofs is not utility-owned or utility-purchased. From the utility’s point of view, every kilowatt-hour of rooftop solar looks like a kilowatt-hour of reduced demand for the utility’s product. Not something any business enjoys. (This is the same reason utilities are instinctively hostile to energy efficiency and demand response programs, and why they must be compelled by regulations or subsidies to create them. Utilities don’t like reduced demand!)
It’s worse than that, though. Solar power peaks at midday, which means it is strongest close to the point of highest electricity use — “peak load.” Problem is, providing power to meet peak load is where utilities make a huge chunk of their money. Peak power is the most expensive power. So when solar panels provide peak power, they aren’t just reducing demand, they’re reducing demand for the utilities’ most valuable product.
But wait. Renewables are limited by the fact they are intermittent, right? “The sun doesn’t always shine,” etc. Customers will still have to rely on grid power for the most part. Right?
This is a widely held article of faith, but EEI (of all places!) puts it to rest. (In this and all quotes that follow, “DER” means distributed energy resources, which for the most part means solar PV.)
“Due to the variable nature of renewable DER, there is a perception that customers will always need to remain on the grid. While we would expect customers to remain on the grid until a fully viable and economic distributed non-variable resource is available, one can imagine a day when battery storage technology or micro turbines could allow customers to be electric grid independent. To put this into perspective, who would have believed 10 years ago that traditional wire line telephone customers could economically “cut the cord?”
Indeed! Just the other day, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said, “If the cost of solar panels keeps coming down, installation costs come down and if they combine solar with battery technology and a power management system, then we have someone just using [the grid] for backup.” What happens if a whole bunch of customers start generating their own power and using the grid merely as backup? The EEI report warns of “irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects” of utilities.
Utility investors are accustomed to large, long-term, reliable investments with a 30-year cost recovery — fossil fuel plants, basically. The cost of those investments, along with investments in grid maintenance and reliability, are spread by utilities across all ratepayers in a service area. What happens if a bunch of those ratepayers start reducing their demand or opting out of the grid entirely? Well, the same investments must now be spread over a smaller group of ratepayers. In other words: higher rates for those who haven’t switched to solar.
Article continued at link: http://grist.org/climate-energy/solar-panels-could-destroy-u-s-utilities-according-to-u-s-utilities/Solar power and other distributed renewable energy technologies could lay waste to... more
Scotland decides to build wind energy test bed over the objections of Donald Trump. Renewable energy deemed more important that a golf Resort.Scotland decides to build wind energy test bed over the objections of Donald Trump.... more
By Joe Romm
The President loves fossil fuels, at least when they are extracted here — or, rather, anywhere in North America. On Friday the UK Guardian reported, “White House officials … gave strong indications the President is inclined to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.”
On Saturday, Obama gave a big wet kiss to oil and gas in his weekly radio address:
"Let’s keep moving forward on an all-of-the-above energy strategy. A strategy where we produce more oil and gas here at home, but also more biofuels and fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power and wind power. A strategy where we put more people to work building cars, homes and businesses that waste less energy. We can do this. We’re Americans. And when we commit ourselves to something, there’s no telling how far we’ll go."
Now it is true that Obama was touting his proposed “Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us” finally “shift our cars and trucks off of oil for good.”
But I’ll bet you didn’t know this included research into vehicles that run on fossil fuels with higher life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions:
We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; developing cheaper batteries that go farther on a single charge; and devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy – like advanced biofuels and natural gas – so drivers can one day go coast-to-coast without using a drop of oil.
Yes, in the Energy Security Trust, natural gas vehicles count as replacing oil with “new sources of clean energy.” Not.
As the National Journal reported last year:
“The president has proposed we switch trucks to natural gas, and I’m here to tell you today that every truck we switch to natural gas damages the atmosphere,” Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, said at the IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates annual conference here. Krupp said the little data available about how much methane — a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide — escapes during the production of shale natural gas compels him to refuse to support a shift toward more natural-gas vehicles.
More at the link
I actually thought the trade off would be working to limit emissions from existing coal plants, but that may not come to pass either... so I suppose deferring to the Nixonian NEPA rule which may in the end just prolong the projects and not stop them really isn't even a tradeoff. And when it comes to addressing this crisis tradeoffs are not an option. This is one good reason why those who see the urgency of this should be supporting the Progressive budget because it is the only one calling for a carbon tax. At least the Progressive Caucus is not afraid to stand up for what is right and necessary instead of always using the Tea Party as an excuse to back off when we should be in their faces. This is about our abilty to feed ourselves at this point, not about always campaigning for the next election.
http://stopthecap.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Hurricane-Sandy.jpgBy Joe Romm
The President loves fossil fuels, at least when they are extracted here... more
Imagine a country with abundant power -- oil and gas, sunshine, wind (and money) -- but missing one key essential for life: water. Infrastructure engineer Fahad Al-Attiya talks about the unexpected ways that the small Middle Eastern nation of Qatar creates its water supply.
Which is another most valid reason why Al Gore was happy to sell Current TV to Qatar's Al Jazeera. A must watch.Imagine a country with abundant power -- oil and gas, sunshine, wind (and money) --... more
While many on the right have changed their tune recently, the latest influx of 100 new teabagging Republican dolts in congress includes about half that are unbelievably still climate change skeptics. This serves to prove that big oil companies have not lost their grip on some of the 'less virtuous' of our lawmakers...
http://veracitystew.com/?p=48376While many on the right have changed their tune recently, the latest influx of 100 new... more
If "revolution" sounds like hyperbole, consider this: U.S. solar installations more than doubled from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012. Last August, California's utility-scale solar plants hit 1 gigawatt—as much energy as can be generated by a large coal- or nuclear-fired power plant. Less remarked on during the celebration of that milestone was the fact that at the same time, "distributed solar"—the thousands of rooftop systems in the state—was exceeding that number by 20 percent, producing 1.2 gigawatts. In 2008, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory put the annual technical potential of rooftop solar in the United States at 819 trillion watt-hours, equal to about a fifth of the nation's 2011 electricity demand
Along with the increase in capacity, solar prices are plummeting, thanks to technological advances and fierce competition from China. Within two to three years, says John Farrell, senior researcher at the Institute of Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis, both California and New York will achieve "grid parity." That's the golden moment when power from the sun becomes as cheap as average residential electricity. Hawaii is already there; in Honolulu, 41 percent of building-permit applications these days are requests to install solar systems.
"The economics continue to drive solar forward," Farrell says. "But there's still a big barrier. The economics are going to allow a stampede of folks who are well placed financially, and in terms of the property they own, to go solar. But it's leaving everyone else out."
So, what if I don't want to be left out? Couldn't I get together with the other 75 percenters in my neighborhood, put some solar panels on the local recreation center, and reap the benefits?
"Community solar happens for innovative citizens but always against the odds."
Many other people across the country are asking the same question—and some are succeeding in establishing a form of "community solar" or "solar garden." In Minnesota, members of the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association can own part of a 39-kilowatt array of locally made panels on the roof of the co-op's headquarters, allowing them to share in the electricity just as they would with a system on their own roofs. California's forward-looking Sacramento Municipal Utility District lets customers purchase solar power from a local "solar farm," receiving the same full retail credit per kilowatt-hour that they would from a home system. And in Washington State, members of the nonprofit Backbone Campaign can invest in a 50- to 66-kilowatt solar array erected at a recycling transfer station, with a forecast return of 13.5 percent a year until 2020.
Nice for them, but not so much for me and my neighbors on Oregon Street. Our utility is of the big for-profit, investor-owned sort, not a cooperative, and I am neither a Washington resident nor a member of the Backbone Campaign, which means I'm prohibited by financial regulators from participating in its program. However good an idea community solar might be, achieving it requires surmounting a daunting string of institutional hurdles. "Community solar happens for innovative citizens," Farrell says, "but always against the odds."
Let's look at the obstacles facing my dream community solar project. For starters, my neighbors and I would need some capital, but banks aren't much interested in financing penny-ante solar arrays. Our numbers wouldn't look very good anyway, because a still-essential ingredient in solar's success is the 30 percent federal tax credit, and as a nonprofit, we wouldn't be able to take advantage of it.
If we somehow did manage to scrape together the installation money, we'd need to sell the juice our panels generated to our local utility. But what would be in it for them? Even in a state like California, where utilities are obligated (up to a point) to accept new residential solar applications, nothing requires them to deal with the Oregon Street Cat Fanciers' Solar Co-op. If they did, they'd have to come up with a billing system that would credit me and my neighbor Doris and the cat lady down the street proportional to our stakes in the project—something Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has zero motivation to do.
In short, the chances of our plucky little neighborhood powering its blenders, DVRs, and iPads with shared solar look very poor. To triumph against the odds, community solar needs a model that can work within the current regulatory system (unhelpful as that may be) and that is widely replicable. Happily, two organizations (at least) appear to have such a model: Colorado's Clean Energy Collective and California's Mosaic.
More at the linkIf "revolution" sounds like hyperbole, consider this: U.S. solar... more
By JULIA HORTON
Published on Thursday 10 January 2013
ICELAND has offered to become a “green battery” for the UK by building the world’s longest subsea power cable, which could bring geothermal energy ashore in Scotland.
Icelandic state electricity producer, Landsvirkjun, said yesterday that it was considering constructing a 1,000km link by around 2020 to supply electricity generated by its vast volcanic energy resources direct to Britain.
An earlier proposal to connect Iceland’s electricity grid with the UK would have come ashore north of the Border, but Landsvirkjun said yesteday no decision on the final route had been taken.
Hordur Arnarson, chief executive of Landsvirkjun, said: “We can serve as a green battery for the UK. We believe it’s a win-win situation, because we have a flexible source of renewable power, which could be used to balance supply and demand in Britain. It will be the longest subsea cable in the world.”
UK Government officials said the project was aimed at improving energy security for the entire UK, while environmental groups welcomed the prospect of the energy line.
WWF Scotland’s director, Lang Banks, said the initiative could be the first in a raft of similar links allowing Scotland to share green energy with the rest of Europe to combat global warming.
He said: “If Scotland and the rest of Europe are to move to a 100 per cent renewable future then greater use of interconnectors is a sensible way forward.
“If this comes to pass, then one day we could be tapping into ‘volcano power’ from Iceland or solar power from Greece, while on other days France or Poland could be benefiting from wind or wave power from Scotland.
“Sharing different renewable resources between nations will help drive down climate emissions much faster than relying on domestic action alone. However, it shouldn’t be an excuse for any country not to halt the development their own renewable capacity.
“A European-wide ‘supergrid’ would also bring the double benefits of security of supply and a reduced need to build lots of expensive new nuclear or fossil fuel power stations,” he added.
The project was first explored more than half a century ago but was scrapped because it was deemed too expensive.
At that time, the planned link would have connected Iceland to the Western Isles.
A cable connection is being looked at again now because of growing demand for low-carbon energy and increasing regulations over renewable power.
More at the linkBy JULIA HORTON
Published on Thursday 10 January 2013
ICELAND has offered to... more
2012 was a historic year for extreme weather that included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms; however, tornado activity was below average
2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year.
The average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 26.57 inches, 2.57 inches below average, making it the 15th driest year on record for the nation. At its peak in July, the drought of 2012 engulfed 61 percent of the nation with the Mountain West, Great Plains, and Midwest experiencing the most intense drought conditions. The dry conditions proved ideal for wildfires in the West, charring 9.2 million acres — the third highest on record.
The U.S. Climate Extremes Index indicated that 2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the nation. The index, which evaluates extremes in temperature and precipitation, as well as landfalling tropical cyclones, was nearly twice the average value and second only to 1998. To date, 2012 has seen 11 disasters that have reached the $1 billion threshold in losses, to include Sandy, Isaac, and tornado outbreaks experienced in the Great Plains, Texas and Southeast/Ohio Valley.
More at the link2012 was a historic year for extreme weather that included drought, wildfires,... more
by Justin Guay
A few months back, Nancy Wimmer told us about Bangladesh’s solar success. In one of the poorest countries on earth, a renewable energy company, Grameen Shakti, is busy installing nearly 1,000 solar home systems each day. It turns out all that small-scale solar has achieved something quite big.
In November, Grameen Shakti hit one million Solar Home Systems installed. The company’s milestone reinforces a lesson that is increasingly clear: Whether it’s Germany, the U.S., or even China, distributed solar installations are driving the solar revolution.
The Bangladesh story is particularly exciting because Grameen has shattered the energy axioms on which the international policy community has relied for decades: that small-scale renewable energy is too expensive and not worth the effort. Wrong and wrong.
What Bangladesh does prove is that Carl Pope is right: deploying solar makes the most sense for off-grid areas where the economics are compelling and the need is great.
That’s what makes the next phase of the solar revolution even more exciting. Today we are talking about 1 million solar home systems in Bihar. But tomorrow we could easily be talking about tens of millions in either Bihar or Uttar Pradesh, Indian states that have off-grid populations larger than most European nations.
More at the linkby Justin Guay
A few months back, Nancy Wimmer told us about Bangladesh’s... more
"Sign our petition to make your voice heard: we need strong climate action now!
From Alaska to Nebraska, Louisiana to New York, Americans from all walks of life are telling stories of how extreme weather is impacting their jobs, homes, and well-being.
We are asking you to make action on climate change part of your legacy. You can do this by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and by instructing the EPA to regulate carbon emissions. Then, in your negotiations on the fiscal cliff, push for a carbon tax, higher taxes on the rich and cuts to fossil fuel subsidies.
Together these bold actions would allow the U.S. to continue its recovery while reversing course on climate change. "
For some reason the source link got messed up when I posted it here but the link in the post is OK.
More at the link.https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/455/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12043... more
"Dairy farms are quickly going out of business and Vermont citizens give a $#*!. With the help of the local utility company, citizens are funding a program that turns cow manure into renewable energy: saving the farms and our environment!"
Video and information at the link"Dairy farms are quickly going out of business and Vermont citizens give a $#*!.... more
Journalist Osha Gray Davidson explained the rapid growth of renewable energy in Germany, the roots of the German sustainability movement, why there is more market stability in renewable energy and what the United States can do to follow the German lead.Journalist Osha Gray Davidson explained the rapid growth of renewable energy in... more
Dirty energy is bringing us dirty weather. This is the reality we face as we now see natural processes being pushed to their limits and they are pushing back. More severe and frequent heatwaves, floods, wildfires, storms and droughts now being dubbed the "new normal" are not normal and they are costing us in lives, biodiversity and our economy.
24 Hours of Reality, the Dirty Weather Report will be a live streaming 24 hour event from Nov. 14 -15 travelling around the globe to bring the reality of the effects of dirty energy and dirty weather to the world's consciousness.
We are truly at a crossroads as a civilization and if we are to give our children a chance we have to join in the solutions now. I am proud to be a leader spreading the truth about the science of climate change and what it is now doing to our planet and the solutions still within our reach. Thank you Mr. Gore for your tireless perseverence and passion in working to make the world a better place. I love you with all of my heart.Dirty energy is bringing us dirty weather. This is the reality we face as we now see... more
President Obama's victory yesterday was a victory for clean energy, one that gives us a fighting chance to slash coal pollution and turn the corner on climate change, in the wake of a devastating hurricane that brought global warming into sharp, painful focus for millions of Americans.
As the Sierra Club's Michael Brune said on election night, "We did it." Fossil fuel billionaires had spent at record levels to defeat Obama in this election, and Romney had returned the favor, promising to open the floodgates on more mining and drilling if elected. But then Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern Seaboard, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Obama as the candidate most likely to lead on climate change, and Romney's dismissal of rising oceans as a laugh line in his GOP Convention speech became an especially chilling out-of-touch episode, in a Republican Presidential campaign that had no shortage of such moments.
Ironically, the coal industry had pinned its hopes on Romney -- the consummate businessman -- to protect the industry from the harsh realities of the free market. Now, the coal industry will have to stop hiding behind inflammatory slogans like "the war on coal," and will have to grapple with a marketplace and an American public that are turning away from coal in favor of cleaner, cheaper sources of energy. Coal will only produce 37% of America's electricity this year, down from 50% just five years ago, and those trends show no signs of reversing.
In reality, the decline of coal and the rise of clean energy have more to do with Main Street and Wall Street than with Pennsylvania Avenue. Over the past four years, in almost every state in the nation, hundreds of thousands of people have worked together to retire polluting local coal plants, get more wind and solar power on the grid, and use energy more efficiently. Today, 125 coal plants -- out of over 500 nationwide -- are now slated for retirement. As a result, U.S. carbon emissions are at their lowest level in two decades, clean energy is coming on line at record levels, and tens of thousands of Americans now have clean energy jobs.
The marketplace and the American people have spoken, and there is no amount of grandstanding by coal barons that will turn this tide. By the end of Obama's second term, the Beyond Coal Campaign plans to:
* Secure the retirement of one-third of the nation's coal plants.
* Power the nation with record amounts of clean energy and energy efficiency.
* End mountaintop removal once and for all.
* Close additional coal pollution loopholes, including long-overdue protections for carbon, soot, smog, coal ash, and water pollution.
* Prevent increased coal exports overseas to places where it will be burned with fewer pollution controls and no climate safeguards.
Making this happen will require the continued energy and dedication of our Beyond Coal grassroots movement. While the coal industry did its best to paint President Obama as their sworn enemy during the election, in fact, in Obama's first term, he was a centrist when it came to energy. On one hand, his Administration took historic measures to clean up some of the most dangerous pollution from coal -- mercury, arsenic, lead, and other toxins -- while also putting a carbon standard in place for new power plants.
The Obama White House also helped jumpstart clean energy, creating tens of thousands of new wind and solar jobs and helping to ensure that America will be a lead innovator in the clean energy revolution that will power the nations and economies of the twenty-first century.
On the other hand, some of the worst abuses of the coal industry continued. Mountaintop removal mining operations are still blowing up mountains, burying streams, and causing serious health problems across Appalachia. We don't yet have carbon standards for existing power plants, which are our single biggest source of greenhouse gases. There are still no national protections for the dumping of toxic coal ash. And when it comes to clean energy and energy efficiency, this country is still far behind much of the rest of the developed world.
No, coal's decline has less to do with President Obama and more to do with the fact that, after 100 years of heedlessly dumping air and water pollution onto the American people, the day of reckoning has come. Investors know that our fleet of coal plants is outdated, and they are putting their money into cleaner twenty-first century energy technologies like wind and solar -- not into propping up coal plants that are reaching the end of their lifespan. Meanwhile, town by town, city by city, and state by state, local leaders are making the decision to retire aging coal plants, get rid of the pollution and health problems, and ensure their communities aren't left behind in the clean energy revolution.
I live in West Virginia, so I'm not surprised that coal mining areas of the U.S. voted overwhelmingly for Romney in this election. As coal is eclipsed by other forms of energy, people in coal country are justifiably concerned about their livelihoods and their future. Perhaps the results of this election will finally push some of our leaders to start talking honestly about the challenges we face and the need to diversify coal state economies -- in short, to provide some leadership. Our region's decision-makers would be doing a far greater service to their constituents by using their political clout to bring federal resources that will help Appalachia and other mining regions make a transition, rather than digging in their heels and refusing to acknowledge that the world is changing.
In Appalachia and beyond, one thing is certain -- President Obama's re-election means that for four more years, the marketplace and the American people will continue to move away from coal, and the coal barons won't have a crony in the White House to try and stop that inevitable shift.
From the streets of New York ravaged by Hurricane Sandy to the mountains of Appalachia ravaged by mountaintop removal, and from the mother watching her son struggle to breathe to the grandfather watching his granddaughter sleep and worrying he is leaving her a dangerous, unstable planet, Americans are ready to move beyond coal.
President Obama can only help lead the nation there. We are going to have to do the hard work ourselves. But his re-election means we have a fighting chance.
-- Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Beyond Coal CampaignPresident Obama's victory yesterday was a victory for clean energy, one that... more
Faith communities see a moral obligation to support a constitutional amendment requiring Michigan utilities to buy more renewable energy.
An initiative on Michigan's ballot is finding support in an unlikely place – churches.
"As a pastor, I look at the call in the first book of Genesis, to care for the Earth, and to the gospels' call to love thy neighbor," said the Rev. Terry Gallagher, a pastor at Sacred Conversation in Trenton, Mich. "If we don't change energy paths, we're dooming the future of the Earth."
The Renewable Energy Amendment would mandate that Michigan get 25 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025. The proposal was filed by Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs, a coalition of state businesses, labor organizations and health care advocates.
The amendment has drawn national attention because it would make Michigan the first state to have a renewable energy standard in its constitution. Now some churches in the state have lent their support.
Gallagher, who leads a congregation of about 60 worshipers, considers social justice an important part of his ministry. But supporting a ballot measure is new territory for the church, he said.
"We're always cautious about crossing the boundary between faith and politics. But once we got past whether or not it's acceptable, the reaction (from the congregation) is that we do need to do this," he said.
Faith leaders statewide
Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs has 33 faith leaders from across the state supporting the measure, said Julie Lyons Bricker, who is leading religious outreach for the group. Denominations include Roman Catholic, Evangelical Christian, Judaism, Quakers, Protestant and others, she said, and leaders have committed to educating their congregants on the proposal.
Last week the Michigan conference of the United Church of Christ, an umbrella organization representing more that 120 congregations, voted to endorse the proposal.
'We have a duty to be good stewards of creation, and using more renewable energy is an important step toward fulfilling this duty"
- Rev. Charles Morris,
St. Christopher Parish
Other supporters of the amendment, known as Proposal 3, include state environmental and labor groups, which cite a Michigan State University study [pdf] that said it would create 94,000 jobs. The study was partially paid for by the Michigan Environmental Council, which supports the amendment.
For faith leaders, it's a moral issue.
"We have a duty to be good stewards of creation, and using more renewable energy is an important step toward fulfilling this duty," said the Rev. Charles Morris of Detroit's St. Christopher Catholic Church in a statement. "By passing Proposal 3, we can put people back to work while protecting our land and air for future generations."
Rising energy costs
Opponents – including utility companies, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder – say the amendment will hit consumers in their pockets. The amendment stipulates that electric utility rate increases cannot go up more than 1 percent per year, and the 25 percent by 2025 deadline would be extended if it looks like rates might exceed that.
One study, paid for by opposition groups, found renewable energy costs are 67 percent higher than conventional sources, stoking fear that costs would rise and the 1 percent cap would be challenged in court.
The use of a constitutional amendment as a vehicle for change could doom the proposal.
Also working against the proposal: The use of a constitutional amendment as a vehicle for change. That, said Stephen Forrest, a vice president for research at the University of Michigan's Energy Institute, is an "oddity in the Michigan process" and could doom the effort.
"It muddies the water," Forrest said. "It might be voted down not because people don't agree with the standard, but because they don't want it in the constitution."
Thirty states – including Michigan – have a renewable energy standard on the books. Michigan's current standard is 10 percent of electricity must come from renewables by 2015. Forrest said the 25 percent renewables by 2025 is an aggressive push in a manufacturing state dependent upon cheap energy.
The religious community is taking a longer-term view, insisting that it is looking beyond politics. It's "about standing up for what's right," said Sister Lucille Janowiak of the Dominican Sisters in Grand Rapids.
"As people of faith we believe in taking care of our families, friends and neighbors and leaving our world better for generations to come," Janowiak said in a statement.
Added Gallagher: "If we take love of neighbor seriously, then we're called to modify our lives so we don't hurt others and damage them. "
"Our neighbors live downwind of these smokestacks."
More at the linkFaith communities see a moral obligation to support a constitutional amendment... more
State of Green is an unbiased look at the effects of the renewable energy revolution on the people of Vermont and, by extension, the country.
The homepage for the film is http://www.stateofgreenmovie.com
http://kck.st/PHOKm4State of Green is an unbiased look at the effects of the renewable energy revolution... more
New Delhi, Aug 30 — Power produced by solar plants will be sold at the same price as that from conventional sources like coal by 2017, a power ministry official said Thursday.
"Solar power is very close to achieving grid parity. It will achieve grid parity by end of the 12th Plan in 2017," Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary in the new and renewable energy ministry, announced at a conference here on the Indian power industry.
"Consequent to the launch of the government's solar mission in 2010, we see large volumes (of electricity) coming into the sector and we've seen prices come down drastically," Kapoor said. - Full article at link.
WTF?!?!?!? Why are we, the alleged technology leader country that invented the phone, tv and computer, so f***king far behind in renewable energy. It's embarrassing.New Delhi, Aug 30 — Power produced by solar plants will be sold at the same... more
Shocking. Big energy hates renewable energy
California legislators are poised to vote this week on a pair of bills that would help renters and low-income communities go solar.
But the bills have encountered stiff resistance from some utility companies, which call them unnecessary and expensive.
While California homeowners have been installing solar systems on their rooftops at a rapid clip, renters don't have that option. So one of the bills, SB843, would allow renters to buy electricity from solar systems located elsewhere.
They would sign contracts with developers sticking solar panels on warehouses, office buildings or open fields. The renters would then receive a credit on their monthly utility bill. Businesses or government agencies that lease their buildings could do the same. The bill could add as much as 2 gigawatts of solar power - roughly the equivalent of two nuclear reactors - to the state's electricity grid.
Full article at link. Greedy pig power companies can't stand the idea of renewables.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Solar-legislation-opposed-by-utilities-3819538.php#ixzz24sOmKFYqShocking. Big energy hates renewable energy... more