Microsoft Sets New Renewable Energy Target Of 50% By 2018

Once the darling of the tech world, Microsoft is nevertheless still a software and hardware juggernaut, and the company has revealed that it intends to reach a renewable energy target of 50% by 2018. Microsoft’s chief environmental and cities strategist Rob Bernard, writing on the company’s Green Blog in the wake of his speech delivered to the clean tech convention VERGE16, explained how Microsoft is aiming to lead the “sustainable data revolution.” A number of companies with big data capacity — such as Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft — are hearing the call of consumers to clean their energy usage, and are doing so by purchasing and developing more and more clean electricity to power their mass

DOE: The Falling Prices And Climbing Deployment Of Clean Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a new report that highlights the accelerated deployment of five clean energy technologies: wind turbines, solar technology for both utility-scale and distributed PV, electric vehicles (EVs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). For wind power specifically, according to the annually updated report, dubbed “Revolution…Now,” land-based wind in the U.S. accounted for 41% of all new capacity brought online in 2015. In addition, wind generated enough electricity to power more than 17 million households, the report says. “Revolution…Now” describes the decreasing cost and increasing deployment of clean energy technologies in the U.S. As the world continu

Chart of the year: ‘Incredible’ price drops jumpstart clean energy revolution

New DOE report details latest advances in solar, wind, LED lights, batteries, and electric cars. Credit: Department of Energy The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released the 2016 update of its report, Revolution…Now: The Future Arrives for Five Clean Energy Technologies. The must-read report reveals the game-changing progress core clean energy technologies have made over the last several years — specifically, solar, wind, LED lights, batteries, and electric cars. Accelerated deployment driven by smart government policies, both domestically and around the world, have created economies of scale and brought technologies down the learning curve faster than almost anyone expected. “The clean

An App to Help Save Emissions (and Maybe Money) When Buying a Car

A Smart car in Annapolis, Md. The author owns one and loves that his “little rattletrap” gets 40 miles per gallon. Credit: Matt Roth for The New York Times How much is your car contributing to climate change? A new study can tell you. The research looks at 125 cars on today’s roads and measures not just their mileage and the type of fuel they use, but also the greenhouse gases generated in making the cars and, if they are electric vehicles, the greenhouse gases produced by the power plants that provide their juice. Click here for the carbon counter app. The result is an addictively clickable app that the authors hope will help car buyers make their next car purchase. There are surprises: A n

Climate Week: Solar Power In NYC Nearly Quadrupled Since Mayor de Blasio Took Office and Administrat

Solar panels, NYC. Credit: Crain's New York City's new target for solar capacity set to 1,000 MW by 2030 'enough to power more than 250,000 households.' City currently has 2,700 solar related jobs and will work to grow that number Also sets NYC's first energy storage deployment target of 100 MWh by 2020 to support resiliency during outages NEW YORK—In celebration of Climate Week, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that solar capacity has nearly quadrupled since the start of his Administration, and will provide 96 MW of electricity, compared to 25 MW at the beginning of the de Blasio Administration. The Department of Buildings will issue permits for more than 3,000 solar panel install

Solar project to bring jobs to unemployed coal workers

Rob Mathis working for CH Electrical installs a panel on a bank of solar panels at Blue Sky Vineyard in Makanda on Aug 12. Credit: Richard Sitler, The Southern A solar energy company has announced a new project in Southern Illinois that will retrain former coal industry workers in renewable energy. Solar Alliance Energy Inc., based in San Diego, says it plans to build a 500 kW community solar generation and battery storage project in Southern Illinois over 2.5 years starting in 2017. The pilot project will include a workforce redevelopment program to provide skills training and jobs to 30 unemployed and underemployed coal industry workers. Solar Alliance CFO Eric Knutzen has family roots in

US should act to support innovation in increasingly clean electric power technologies

In 2015, two-thirds of U.S. electricity was produced from fossil fuels, evenly divided between coal and natural gas. Despite significant federal and state efforts in recent years to spur deployment, wind produced less than 5 percent, solar produced less than 1 percent, and other renewables combined (mostly hydroelectric) produced about 8 percent of all U.S. electricity in 2015. The largest low- or no-carbon production of electricity came from nuclear power plants, many of which may be shuttered in the coming decades as their operating licenses expire. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine urges Congress, federal and state agencies, and regulatory ins

EV Charging Stations Reach New York Milestone

NY POWER AUTHORITY ANNOUNCES INSTALLATION OF 100TH PUBLIC ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATION WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority has announced the state has now installed more than 100 electric vehicle charging stations in New York cities, towns and villages, as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s goal to have 3,000 charging stations on line by 2018. Under the Governor’s Charge NY program, more than 1,100 EV charging stations have been installed in New York since 2013—including those by municipalities and businesses--bringing the total in the state to about 1,600 across the public and private sectors. In partnership with the New York Energy Research & Development Authority, NYPA has ins

America's First Wave-Produced Power Goes Online in Hawaii

In this July 26, 2016 photo, a model of a wave energy test site at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu in Hawaii shows undersea cables that hold machinery in place. The cables in the middle move up and down with the waves, turning the wheels of generators in the donut-shaped Lifesaver device, which is deployed at the Navy's Wave Energy Test Site at the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu in Hawaii. By some estimates, the ocean's endless motion packs enough power to meet a quarter of America's energy needs and dramatically reduce the nation's reliance on oil, gas and coal. But wave energy technology lags well behind wind and solar power. (AP Photo/Cathy Bussewitz) Off the coast of Hawaii, a tall buoy bo

The new land rush in rural New York: solar farms

Developers aggressively contact farmers with tempting deals that would lead to the harvesting of energy, not crops Solar farm companies are increasingly looking to large swathes of land in places such as Western New York for the acreage they need for their installations of panels. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) Lawrence Nelson and Cemal Basaran are friends. Each owns more than 100 acres in Orleans County and each has been approached by a developer who wants to put thousands of solar panels on their land, cashing in on lucrative state and federal subsidies that encourage the development of renewable energy. Nelson said yes, seeing it as a way to bring in steady income. Basaran said no, not w

Arctic Summer Sea Ice – Going Down, Down, Down

The minimum extent of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean in 2016 was reached this week and tied 2007 for the second lowest since satellite measurements began in 1979 — with 2012 still in the top spot.Credit National Snow and Ice Data Center The vast, scrabbly sheath of sea ice drifting on the Arctic Ocean ended its annual summer retreat this week, and the result was sobering. This year tied with 2007 as having the second smallest ice extent ever recorded, the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced yesterday. Of course the satellite record only goes back to 1979, seemingly leaving ample room for debate. As always, that resulted in enough interpretations and misinterpretations of Arctic conditio

Cuomo starts master plan for wind power off LI coast

ALBANY _ The Cuomo administration on Thursday started creating a master plan to harness some of the world’s strongest offshore winds. The state’s Long Island Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority have identified six potential wind energy areas for New York, including one that would stretch across the length of the Hamptons. The Cuomo administration, however, said no decisions on locating wind farms have yet been made. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the energy planning will include input from utilities, environmentalists, groups, coastal communities, commercial fishermen and the maritime industry. The state’s Offshore Wind Master Plan will be due by the end

The Quest for Home Utility Bills of…Zero

New regulations in California have builders scrambling to make houses more energy-efficient SANTA CLARITA, Calif.—The KB Home development here looks like any other middle-class subdivision in Southern California—rows of stucco houses with tiled roofs and two-car garages—except for the sticker on the entryway of one of its showcase units. The sticker displays the average monthly cost to heat and cool the home and run the appliances: $119, compared with $252 for a standard-built home of similar size. If an owner adds solar panels, the monthly bill would drop to near zero. Buried inside the extra-thick walls of these homes are layers of high-density fiberglass insulation flanked by rigid foam b

Earth sets record for hottest August, extending warm streak another month

Global average temperature anomalies. IMAGE: WEATHERBELL ANALYTICS August 2016 was the warmest such month on record, according to preliminary data released by NASA on Monday. This further ensures that the year will beat 2015 for the dubious title of the warmest year on record. The temperature record also means that those in the Northern Hemisphere can say they just lived through the hottest summer on Earth, while residents of the Southern Hemisphere would refer to it as the globe's warmest winter. According to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, readings from thermometers and other sources show that August had a global average surface temperature departure from ave

$3 Million Available to Municipalities for Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) and ZEV Infrastructure

Halco electric vehicle display at "Drive and Shine" electric vehicle expo and solar fair on September 11, 2016. The Municipal ZEV rebate program will be administered by DEC through the New York State Grants Gateway. Municipalities will be eligible for reimbursement of up $5,000 per vehicle for purchase or leasing of eligible clean vehicles, and up to $250,000 per facility for installation of eligible Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment or hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure. DEC will accept applications for rebates on a first-come, first-served basis through March 31, 2017, or until the funds are exhausted. Applications will be evaluated for eligibility and technical merit according to the crite

Senators Introduce Storage ITC Bill

Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced S. 3159 to make energy storage eligible for an investment tax credit (ITC) under section 48. The bill introduced last month would make energy storage systems with a capacity of at least five kilowatt hours, regardless of whether it was supplied by a renewable resource, investment tax credit eligible. For instance, a stand-alone storage project that drew power from the grid would be ITC eligible under this bill. The bill would also allow individuals to own a storage system with a capacity of at least three kilowatt hours used at their homes and to claim a residential energy efficient property tax credit under section 25D. Like the proposed ITC rule

Coffee Production May Drop 50 Percent Thanks To Climate Change

Coffee farmer Luka Kinyere inspects his plants in Kasese, western Uganda. CREDIT: AP/STEPHEN WANDERA Climbing temperatures and altered rainfall are affecting coffee yields, quality, and pests. Coffee production worldwide could decline by as much as 50 percent in the next three decades thanks to climate change, according to a new report. Published late last week, the Climate Institute report says a hotter climate and altered rainfall are colluding to cut the worldwide area suitable for coffee in half by 2050. That would be catastrophic for some 120 million people in more than 70 countries — mostly developing nations — that depend on the coffee trade. It would also affect billions of consumers

Regulatory headwinds slow SolarCity’s growth

Two years ago, SolarCity was one of the nation’s hottest growth companies. Not anymore. The company, which plans to open the biggest solar panel factory in North America next year in South Buffalo, still is the nation’s leading installer of residential rooftop solar energy systems, with a commanding market share equal to that of its 50 biggest competitors combined. But SolarCity, over the past year, has stumbled, with its growth slowing to more pedestrian levels, its losses swelling and its financing costs rising. With its growth falling short of expectations, SolarCity earlier this month said it would cut jobs in a move to bring its formerly fast-growing 13,000-person workforce more in line

SolarCity construction nears completion

With installation of equipment planned to start next month, plant is expected to start making solar panels by the end of June Construction is winding down at the sprawling SolarCity factory in South Buffalo, and here is the first look inside the building that will be the home to the biggest solar panel plant in the Western Hemisphere. The photos come courtesy of a state economic development agency’s update on the project, which states the structure is scheduled for “substantial completion” by September 15. The building shell is about 99 percent complete, while about 95 percent of the work has been done on the factory’s mechanical, electrical and process systems, according to an update from s

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