Burlington, Vt., just became the first city to go completely renewable 

With electricity prices rising across the country at the fastest pace in years, the city of Burlington, Vt., looks well-prepared for the future.

On Monday, the largest city in Vermont announced that it now has 100% renewable energy — from biomass, wind, hydro — to meet the needs of its 42,000 residents.

It actually makes economic sense

The 42,000 people living in Burlington, Vermont can now feel confident that when they turn on their TVs or power up their computers they are using renewable energy. With the purchase of the 7.4 megawatt Winooski One hydroelectric project earlier this month, the Burlington Electric Department now owns or contracts renewable sources — including wind, hydro, and biomass — equivalent to the city’s needs.

“We’re now in a position where we’re supplying Burlington residents with sources that are renewable,”said Ken Nolan, manager of power resources for Burlington Electric Department, earlier this month. “The prices are not tied to fossil fuels — they’re stable prices — and they provide us with the flexibility, from an environmental standpoint, to really react to any regulation or changes to environmental standards that come in the future.”

Read More

They touch on something that most forget when thinking about renewable energy v. fossil fuels, volatility of cost. 

Renewable energy has zero fluctuations in price. There is no money used for fuel to create electricity, therefore there are no fluctuations in energy costs. Fossil Fuels, on the other hand, must be purchased at market value, which means that the cost to produce electricity can change. This leads to changes in the cost to consumers.

And when was the last time you have seen the cost of fossil fuels go down over the long term? 

Wouldn’t you rather have the cost of electricity to be constant rather than a continued escalation of prices?

-The Liberal Tony 

In hearings across the state

, officials are gathering public input on 

Reforming the Energy Vision

, also known as REV. This is Gov. Cuomo’s plan to move from a century-old energy system that relies on dirty, centralized power plants to a new model incorporating clean, renewable energy that gives people more control over the energy they use – and even gives them the chance to generate their own clean power. Full article and poll info available here:

http://thesolutionsproject.org/results-new-yorkers-support-renewable-energy/


2

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi found that “cost is no longer a reason not to proceed with renewables”

The Gulf States may have been built on oil, but their future is going to be in solar. The opportunity is enormous, the technology exists and, according to a new report from the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, “cost is no longer a reason not to proceed with renewables.” I’ll repeat that for emphasis: this report comes via the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, one of the biggest banks in the Middle East. And it couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the investment opportunities in renewable energy.

Solar is looking like it’s too good of a deal to turn down.

On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown gave the inaugural address for his unprecedented fourth term as governor of California. Brown used the speech as an opportunity to look back at how far the state has come since he was first elected 40 years ago, and to look ahead at the daunting tasks of the future.

Along the way California has been a nationwide leader and energy and environmental initiatives, and Brown used the occasion to lay out some ambitious targets as part of the speech’s broader focus on the importance of the state’s green agenda.

Brown listed three main goals to be accomplished within the next 15 years: First, to increase the amount of electricity the state derives from renewable sources from one-third to 50 percent. Second, to reduce petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent. And the governor’s final goal is to double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner.

Amazing | Follow ThinkProgress

youtube

Itzcuauhtli is a remarkable young man whom has taken a vow of silence in protest of climate change. Give his video a watch and consider showing your support by wearing a green wristband on December 10th! Learn more about Itzcuauhtli at ClimateSilenceNow.org

This revolutionary new reactor could change civilization as we know it

For years, nuclear fusion has been the holy grail of alternative energy: Unlike fission, which splits atoms to create energy, fusion is the cleaner, safer, and more powerful alternative that combines atoms into a more stable form. But it hasn’t been a viable option on a mass scale. A new design could change that.

On Wednesday, Lockheed Martin’s secret development team Skunk Works went public with plans for a nuclear fusion reactor about the size of a jet engine that could generate enough energy to power entire cities, ships, airplanes and even spacecraft through interplanetary travel. While the project is still in its early stages, the team hopes to create a prototype in five years and have an operational reactor within a decade.

Smaller, more powerful, more efficient | Follow micdotcom

(ThinkProgress) This is Google’s largest renewable energy investment to date.

It’s actually a pretty good business plan. 

Here’s how it will work for the average person. The first step is you need to own a home. Then you work with SolarCity to design a customized system for your particular roof. They look at past electric bills and the rate charged by the utility, and guarantee a lower rate that locks in a lower monthly payment. For instance, if your normal monthly bill is $200, it could drop to $60 after the installation, plus $100 in the monthly solar rental, yielding a new average monthly bill of $160. Google’s initial investment pays for the system outright through a lease or power purchase agreement. You do not have to pay for the design or placement of the panels SolarCity installs and then maintains throughout the life of the lease.

Once installed, the panels generate renewable, clean electricity, feeding the grid mostly during times of the day where demand is high. The homeowner pays the lower monthly electricity rate, not worrying about rising utility bills or extra carbon pollution. Google and SolarCity pay to maintain the panels because they own them. Both companies pocket the income brought by sale of the power to the utility through net metering, as well as federal and state renewable energy tax benefits. At the end of the lease or rental term (usually 20 years), much like an automobile, you have the option to buy the system back, set it up as a loan, or let SolarCity take it back, no charge.

So while it is likely a better deal to pay for your own solar installation, earn the tax credits yourself, and begin saving money on electricity and try to make some selling extra back to the utility, not everyone can afford the initial price tag, which typically runs north of of $10,000

The beauty of this idea is that you don’t have to be Google to do something similar. If this succeeds, expect roofers, home improvement companies, and solar panel dealers to start offering similar programs. It really is a win-win.

This New Underwater Technology Could Solve a Host of Environmental Problems

On February 18th, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Minister for Industry and Science (Ian Macfarlane) officially switched on the Carnegie Perth Wave Energy Project's onshore power station, the first renewable energy source the country has ever utilized, according to a press release. It is said to create enough energy to power 200,000 homes while also generating desalinated water from the ocean. And the whole system operates without creating emissions — totally freakin’ crazy and amazing, right?

Watch on markruffalo.tumblr.com

My fellow Solutions Project co-founds, Mark and Marco recently attended Verge to talk about 50 states with 50 plans for renewable energy. Watch and learn. I think you’re really going to enjoy this.

3

Secretary Jewell, Director Kornze ‘Flip the Switch’ on Desert Sunlight Solar Farm

On Monday, Feb. 9, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and BLM Director Neil Kornze joined California state and industry leaders to “flip the switch” on the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, the nation’s largest solar project on public lands that is now delivering clean, renewable energy to American consumers.

Now operating at full capacity, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is providing 550 megawatts of electricity to the grid, enough energy to power 160,000 average homes. The facility is estimated to displace 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year – the equivalent to taking 60,000 cars off the road.

"This is an important day for solar energy, for California and for the nation," Kornze said. "The Desert Sunlight project is an example of how industry and government can work together to strengthen local economies, generate good jobs and provide affordable power."

Nationwide, the BLM has approved 52 utility-scale renewable energy projects since 2009 – including 29 solar projects – with a total capacity of more than 14,000 megawatts.  Before 2009, there were no solar projects approved on public lands. If built as approved, these projects would provide more than 21,000 jobs and power about 4.8 million homes. 

Read the full story on the Department of the Interior’s website.