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U.S. clean power giants to join forces to build lobbying muscle

by Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg


Highlights

  • A new lobbying organization named the American Clean Power Association has formed in order to advocate for more renewable policies
  • The country’s top wind power trade group is teaming up with some big-name energy groups such as NextEra Energy, Avangrid, and Berkshire Hathaway Energy to form this association
  • The renewables industry spent less than $18 million on lobbying in 2019, while the fossil fuel industry spent $104 million
  • The Association aims to make renewables such as wind and solar the USA’s primary power source by prioritizing environmental policy, market reform and grid modernization

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-03/u-s-clean-power-giants-to-join-forces-to-build-lobbying-muscle?sref=ABTRBDIh

Oil companies are collapsing, but wind and solar energy keep growing

by Ivan Penn, The New York Times


Highlights

  • Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, may comprise 21% of the electricity in the U.S., up from about 18% in 2019
  • Solar and wind are producing electricity at a cost-competitive rate in the U.S. and throughout the globe compared to natural gas and coal due to government mandates to address the climate crisis
  • The pandemic has been hard on smaller solar companies who are seeing declines in rooftop installations
  • Energy research firm Wood Mackenzie estimates that solar and wind power will continue adding capacity throughout the year
  • Renewable energy has become more financially attractive as developers can build wind and solar farms more quickly than gas and coal plants

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/business/energy-environment/coronavirus-oil-wind-solar-energy.html

Renewable-energy spending likely to surpass oil and gas for the first time ever in 2021

by Ben Winck, Business Insider


Highlights

Goldman Sachs reports that renewable energy investments will be a quarter of all energy spending in 2021, surpassing investment in oil and gas

  • If the United States aims to meet climate standards that result in less than 2 degrees Celsius of warming, the transition into renewable energy will create $1-2 trillion in infrastructure spending per year
  • Though previous economic downturns have slowed the transition of green energy investing, Goldman Sachs believes this transition will be accelerated due to coronavirus 
  • In order to move green infrastructure forward, we will need a low cost of capital and regulatory framework
  • Growing technologies such as clean hydrogen and carbon markets also need access to sufficient capital or long term plans for emission reductions will stall

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/renewable-energy-trillion-investment-opportunity-surpass-oil-first-time-goldman-2020-6-1029318482

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The U.S. can get to 90% clean electricity in just 15 years

by Adele Peters, Fast Company


Highlights

A new report from UC Berkeley shows that the falling price of renewable energy can result in the U.S. using 90% clean energy by 2035, ultimately transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2045.

  • Adding new clean energy infrastructure could add up to 570,000 new jobs each year
  • The Internation Renewable Energy Agency reports that since 2010, utility-scale solar power costs have dropped 82% and onshore wind costs have dropped 39%
  • Sonia Aggarwal, vice president of Energy Innovation didn’t expect the grid could transition at such a fast rate:

“I didn’t expect that we were going to get 90% by 2035. It’s really exciting that this is the moment that we’ve reached in this country, where the costs have just changed so much that this is now within our reach, in a way that it wasn’t even five years ago.”

  • According to the report, the addition of renewables on the grid would not result in higher electricity bills for consumers
  • Federal policies that set clean energy standards are needed to make a nationwide transition from fossil fuels to renewables

The Climate Center works toward electrifying buildings and vehicles using 100% clean energy sources such as solar and wind to eliminate fossil fuel-based emissions. 


Read More: https://www.fastcompany.com/90513361/the-u-s-can-get-to-90-clean-electricity-in-just-15-years

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States standing strong on clean energy commitments amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Sam Kozel, Greentech Media


Highlights

States are accelerating clean energy policies in efforts to secure economic stability during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • A majority of states have also put in place moratoriums on service disconnections and power shutoffs as many people face unemployment and may not be able to pay bills. This also avoids disruptions for those who are working and learning remotely since many offices and schools are closed 
  • Multiple states have made clean energy a priority to jumpstart their economy and are calling to advance clean energy policy:
    • In Arizona, Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson (R) ​called upon the Arizona Public Utilities Commission​ to support a rulemaking change directing the state’s regulated utilities to generate 100% of their power from clean energy resources by 2050
    • In Connecticut, the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority is ​extending certain deadlines for the state’s Renewable Energy Credits and Statewide Clean Energy Programs
    • Hawaii has reaffirmed its commitment to the state’s clean energy and climate goals, inviting input for new proposals and programs to support and expand job opportunities
    • New York passed the ​Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth & Community Benefit Act​ which will streamline siting for renewable energy projects across the state
    • California continues to advance its SB 100 clean energy goals of supplying 100 percent of retail electricity sales with renewable and zero-carbon resources by 2045

The Climate Center works toward electrifying buildings and vehicles using 100% clean energy sources such as solar and wind to eliminate fossil fuel-based emissions. 


Read more: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/for-many-regulators-covid-19-pandemic-reaffirms-clean-energy-priorities

Solar and wind cheapest sources of power in most of the world

By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg


Highlights

Solar power and onshore wind power are now the cheapest new sources of electricity in the majority of the world’s population.

  • The Levelized Cost of Energy for wind has fallen 9% and solar has dropped by 4%  
  • Prices are especially low in the U.S., China, and Brazil 
  • Improvements in the technology, lower equipment costs, and clean energy goals have made these renewable sources a serious threat to the fossil fuel industry
  • It is unclear if the low prices of oil due to the pandemic will erode the competitiveness of wind and solar

The Climate Center works toward electrifying buildings and vehicles using 100% clean energy sources such as solar and wind to eliminate fossil fuel-based emissions. 


Read More: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-28/solar-and-wind-cheapest-sources-of-power-in-most-of-the-world?sref=ABTRBDIh

Oil companies are collapsing, but wind and solar energy keep growing

By Ivan Penn, The New York Times


Highlights

  • Even though the renewable energy sector is facing some losses during the coronavirus pandemic, renewables are set to account for nearly 21% of the electricity in the United States, a 3% increase from 2019
  • Renewables prices have not dropped as much as oil and gas prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, small solar companies are taking big financial hits due to canceled projects and are having to lay off employees
  • The cost of building renewable energy sources such as solar and wind farms is cheaper than building natural gas and nuclear plants and can be built at a much faster rate
  • In addition, renewable energy is cheaper to operate compared to coal and oil, allowing utilities to use cleaner electricity
  • The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a trade group, estimates that half of workers in the solar industry could lose their jobs at least temporarily because of the coronavirus outbreak
  • Government efforts to address climate change have helped drive down costs of wind and solar equipment and made the industry more resilient to economic swings
  • Lobbyists for renewable energy are asking lawmakers to make it easier for their industry to take advantage of tax credits the government provides for wind and solar power

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California platform aims to secure a positive transition for workers and their families whose livelihoods depend on fossil fuel industries. Endorse the platform here


Read more: Oil companies are collapsing, but wind and solar energy keep growing

As Congress debates an economic stimulus, where should the money be spent?

by Ken Kimmel, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists


Highlights

  • Current situation: Federal government response to COVID-19: In Washington DC a bi-partisan effort to help the country cope with COVID-19 is underway. So far, one immediate emergency bill appropriated approximately $8 billion designed to treat and prevent the virus. A second bill has also passed that provides for extended sick leave and free testing for the virus. A third bill is also being debated to stimulate the economy by providing cash to many who are losing or will lose their jobs and helping states to cope with growing unemployment rolls.
  • A unique moment: Estimates of unemployment may be as high as 30%. It seems likely that these initial bills will fall far short of the stimulus needed to prevent an economic freefall. And so there will be pressure to do more to stimulate the economy, create jobs and consumer demand, either through direct government expenditures, tax credits, loans, or other means. This means the government will be directly and massively guiding the direction of the economy—a circumstance that may not happen again for years or decades.
  • The COVID-19 stimulus will likely not include the funds for the entire mobilization needed to address climate change. However, the stimulus can be a substantial down payment for the transition to a clean energy economy
  • Cleantech woes related to COVID-19: The solar industry is projecting to lose as much as thirty percent volume with job losses as high as 120,000 (almost half their workforce), and the wind industry estimates that 35,000 jobs and $43 billion in investments are at risk. Electric vehicles, which were starting to finally catch on, may stall as consumers hesitate to pay the higher up-front costs for an EV. These industries had robust job growth prior to the pandemic and supported the direction the world needs to move to avoid catastrophic climate tipping points. Thus, any government stimulus needs to support these industries, while moving away from fossil fuels.
  • Sustainable agriculture issues: Sustainable practices that build soil health and resilience to climate impacts are proving profitable for farmers and their communities. Thus, if the economic stimulus includes funds for farmers, the focus should be on incentivizing farmers to adopt sustainable practices. Once they take hold, they will flourish, but they need an economic nudge now.
  • Requirements of a bailout: In any bailout of industries, there must be strings attached to protect the public interest. For example, any bailout of the airlines should include a requirement to decarbonize over time.
  • Costs of a bailout: It is immoral to place the entire cost of this stimulus on future generations. This stimulus will be financed mainly through debt, but there are ways of paying for some of it now. For example, a concerted effort can be made to cut federal spending on things we don’t need and which do not generate jobs or stimulate the economy. A poster child example of this is the proposed trillion-dollar plan to rebuild the US nuclear arsenal.
  • Moving fast and in the public interest: COVID-19 is rapidly accelerating the usual timetable of congressional legislation. It is likely that in the next few weeks Congress will approve trillions of dollars in new spending. There will not be time for hearings, expert testimony, and vigorous public debate. Lawmakers must focus on the long-term direction of the economy, placing public interest conditions on bailouts to industries, and refraining from unnecessary spending to keep the debt in check.

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign is a powerful solution to the climate crisis. Climate experts have called this a unique, bold, urgently needed and comprehensive campaign that will catalyze similar efforts in other states, the nation, and the world. Endorse the Climate-Safe California platform here.


Read more: https://blog.ucsusa.org/ken-kimmell/covid-19-coronavirus-congress-economic-stimulus?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tw

Solar and wind power are outgrowing subsidies

by Mark Chediak and Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg

For years, wind and solar power were derided as boondoggles. They were too expensive, the argument went, to build without government handouts.

Today, renewable energy is so cheap that the handouts they once needed are disappearing.

On sun-drenched fields across Spain and Italy, developers are building solar farms without subsidies or tax-breaks, betting they can profit without them. In China, the government plans to stop financially supporting new wind farms. And in the U.S., developers are signing shorter sales contracts, opting to depend on competitive markets for revenue once the agreements expire.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-09-19/solar-and-wind-power-so-cheap-they-re-outgrowing-subsidies

New wind and solar power is cheaper than existing coal in much of the U.S., analysis finds

by Dan Gearino, InsideClimate News

Not a single coal-fired power plant along the Ohio River will be able to compete on price with new wind and solar power by 2025, according to a new report by energy analysts.

The same is true for every coal plant in a swath of the South that includes the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. They’re part of the 86 percent of coal plants nationwide that are projected to be on the losing end of this cost comparison, the analysis found.

The findings are part of a report issued Monday by Energy Innovation and Vibrant Clean Energy that shows where the shifting economics of electricity generation may force utilities and regulators to ask difficult questions about what to do with assets that are losing their value.

The report takes a point that has been well-established by other studies—that coal power, in addition to contributing to air pollution and climate change, is often a money-loser—and shows how it applies at the state level and plant level when compared with local wind and solar power capacity.

Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/25032019/coal-energy-costs-analysis-wind-solar-power-cheaper-ohio-valley-southeast-colorado?utm_source=InsideClimate+News&utm_campaign=82d981c418-&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-82d981c418-327824881