Report: Wind, solar are cheapest options, NOW

In its annual Levelized Cost of Energy analysis, Lazard Associates found the cost for power generated from wind energy resources were around $30-$60 per megawatt hour (MWh) range – even without any subsidies! Unsubsidized solar power resources provided power at a cost of $43-$48/MWh range. That’s 3-6 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for wind, or 4.3-4.8 cents per kWh for solar. Of course with existing federal tax credits, real wind power prices could be as low as $14/MWh, or 1.4 cents/kWh, and real solar prices may reach as low as $35/MWh, or 3.5 cents/kWh.

Congress: Picking energy losers, over clean energy winners

Congress just released its propose “tax reform” plan – and it’s a doozie. Instead of promoting renewable energy and electric vehicles, the plan would slash those incentives – while giving a massive bailout to the failing nuclear industry.

Two years ago, Congress passed a massive overhaul for the wind and solar industries that gave a clear path for phasing-out tax credits for those industries. The newly proposed “tax reform” plan reneges on that promise made two years ago and threatens hundreds of billions of dollars in clean, domestic, renewable energy development.

The wildly popular, and effective tax credit for electric vehicles has produced many jobs, cut pollution, and increased our energy security. But now Congress’s “tax reform” plan would totally eliminate the electric vehicle tax credit, and slams on the breaks of an American industry.

Meanwhile, Congress would extend $6 billion worth of subsidies to the failing nuclear industry.

Click here to tell Congress to support clean energy and electric vehicles.

How expensive is solar power? You’re going to be SHOCKED!

In some southern states, like North Carolin and Florida, NREL reports that utility-scale solar power prices may reach a levelized cost of approximately 5 cents per kilowatt hour. Incorporating the federal investment tax credit (ITC) could drop those prices down into the 3-4 cents per kilowatt hour range ($30-$40/MWh).

Remember that “wind tree”? It’s worse than we thought.

Fad wind turbines bad-mouth utility-scale wind farms, and then frequently fail to live up to their promises. That’s bad news for renewable energy. People can get misled into a false techno-optimism, that we should delay using today’s technologies because the future technology will be perfected, if we just wait a little longer. One positive aspect from the QZ.com article is it points out that a residential solar array costs about half as much as the wind tree. One thing the article doesn’t mention is that residential solar panels can achieve 20-30% capacity factors, or 4-5x higher performance than the wind tree (at 5%). At half the price and 4-5x the performance, residential solar panels are way, way better investments than the wind tree.

Green Spirit Awards: Rock Hill, SC Brewery Turns Sun Into Beer

Legal Remedy Brewing Company in Rock Hill, SC is turning sun into beer. The brewery makes tasty beverages with alliterative law-themed names such as Alibi Ale, Motion to Strike Milk Stout, Pro Bono Porter, and Retainer Red Rye IPA, which are sold in its brewpub and in restaurants and bars around the state.

Christmas Miracle: Congress Proposes Long-Term Support for Renewables

On Wednesday, Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), introduced the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016″. As a part of the 2,009-page bill, wind energy and solar energy will now have a long-term federal incentive. But this policy certainty isn’t a hand-out. Congress is gradually phasing-out the federal incentives for wind energy and solar power between now and 2022/2024 (respectively) – something the fossil fuel and nuclear industries aren’t guaranteed to do, too. Wind and solar power prices have become so cost competitive, market analysts expect that renewable energy resources won’t need the federal tax incentives after they expire.

North Charleston Mayor Declares: “Support Solar” and Extend the Solar ITC

Mayor Keith Summey of North Charleston, South Carolina declared by proclamation that yesterday was “A Day To Support Solar” and called for Congress to extend the solar investment tax credit. The proclamation was read at last night’s North Charleston City Council meeting and was presented to local solar business owner, Dave McNeil of Hannah Solar [...]

First in Flight North Carolina Gets First Wind Farm

While the Amazon Wind Farm US East isn’t the first wind farm in the South (as many, many news reports incorrectly stated), it certainly is the largest. In 2004, the wind development company Invenergy constructed the Buffalo Mountain wind farm near Oliver Springs, Tennessee. The Tennessee Valley Authority has purchased power from the Buffalo Mountain wind farm for over a decade. The Buffalo Mountain wind farm is made up of 13 wind turbines with a total capacity of 27 megawatts; meanwhile, the new Amazon Wind Farm US East will contain 102 wind turbines with a total capacity of 208 megawatts, with an option to add another 50 turbines (100 megawatts).

Debunking Wind Turbine Fads

Online publications are doing a real disservice to the future of clean tech (and their readers) by perpetuating the hype of fad wind turbines without hard data. If people begin investing in the Vortex Bladeless Wind Turbine through some sort of crowd-sourcing effort (as the inventors announced, is their intended way of getting more money), because they read a sensational article from online news sources such as Gizmag, WIRED, Phys.org, CleanTechnica and Grist; who should be held liable if the investment doesn’t pan out?

What the Senate’s Tax Bill Means for Wind

This is a guest blog post by Mary Kate Francis at the American Wind Energy Association. The original post was published here December 17, 2014 on the AWEA blog, Into the Wind. I have big news to report from the front lines of our current campaign to protect wind in 2015. And though there’s bad [...]