How Do I Go Solar?

This is a guest post by John Rogers, senior energy analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists. John has expertise in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and policies, and he co-manages the Energy and Water in a Warming World Initiative (EW3) at UCS that looks at water demands of energy production in the context [...]

EPA Expands the Role of Renewable Energy in the Final Clean Power Plan

On August 3, the EPA finalized the Clean Power Plan, placing limits on carbon emissions from our nation’s power plants for the first time. Undervalued as carbon-curbing technologies in the proposed draft, the EPA took several steps to strengthen the role that renewables can play in the final rule. That means wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources are well positioned to help states meet their emission reduction targets and accelerate our nation’s transition to a clean, low-carbon economy.

Is TVA’s New Integrated Resource Plan a Wise Path Forward?

In reflecting on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in a recent blog, our research director pointed out that “TVA’s 20-year plan looks at the ground we stand on, sketches some ideas for tomorrow, but does not really scan future horizons.” So, what should TVA’s Board do to take this plan from sketches to concrete action?

Solar Financing Paves the Way for Market Growth

In a new study recently published by Green Tech Media, it was reported that 72% of all residential solar installed in 2014 was the result of what the solar industry calls the third party ownership. Third party ownership includes lease models as well as power purchasing agreements (PPAs).  The solar industry has seen incredible growth [...]

Final Clean Power Plan Safeguards Public Health and Spurs Clean Energy Growth

On Monday, President Obama announced the release of the finalized Clean Power Plan, our nation’s first regulations to limit carbon pollution from existing fossil-fueled power plants. The Clean Power Plan, as crafted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets achievable carbon pollution reduction goals for each state, based on the unique energy mix currently serving the power needs of each state.

This historic action will mean a huge boon to public health. Along with reducing climate-change causing carbon pollution, the Clean Power Plan will also reduce other harmful pollution from coal plants resulting in prevention of 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 non-fatal heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks in children and 300,000 missed workdays and schooldays due to illness.

Pope Francis’ Historic Visit to the U.S. Will Be a Climate Game-Changer

 This is a guest post by Ted Glick, who has devoted 42 years of his life to the progressive social change movement. The original post can be viewed here. Just in time, hopefully, the leader the world needs on the climate crisis has stepped forward: Pope Francis. What other person known worldwide, with an international following [...]

In Case You Missed It, There’s a Clean Energy Jobs Boom in Tennessee

Clean energy means different things to different people. Some might picture suburban rooftops adorned in sparkly solar panels on a bright summer day. Others might envision an idyllic green-grass, blue-sky pasture framing an expanse of pearly white wind turbines. However, for many Tennesseans, clean energy means a rewarding career with above-average pay. A recent statewide [...]

New EmPower TN initiative set to cut state utility bills by an estimated 28% with energy efficiency and renewable energy

Tennessee lawmakers have recently demonstrated that investing in clean energy is not a partisan issue, so much as it’s just plain common sense. In the majority-Republican General Assembly, the state budget was approved with tens of millions of dollars for new investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, predicted to yield $1 billion in savings [...]

Google Announces New Data Center Located at Old Coal Plant Site!

Recently, Google announced its plans to open its 14th data center – this new one in Northern Alabama. The internet giant will be building the data center inside the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA’s) Widows Creek coal plant, which is set to retire . Google will begin construction in 2016 and is working with TVA to ensure that the data center is powered by renewable energy resources. The data center will take advantage of the existing transmission lines at the plant to bring in renewable energy.

Pope Francis: Substitute Fossil Fuels with Renewable Energy

One theme throughout Laudato Si is the juxtaposition of the “tyranny over creation” (anthropocentrism) versus a cooperation and cultivation of nature. As stated by Pope Francis, “If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs.” Fossil fuels including “coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay,” are specifically identified as forms of tyranny over creation. In essence, fossil fuels reinforce a consumerist mindset of prideful, greedy and gluttonous (yet, false) control over nature – that humanity can extract and consume fossil fuels on our own terms (some would say, “dispatchable generation”). Alternatively, Pope Francis’ call to a cooperative (fraternal) relationship with creation highlights potential solutions to fossil fuels; “Fraternal love can only be gratuitous…That is why it is possible to love our enemies. This same gratuitousness inspires us to love and accept the wind, the sun and the clouds, even though we cannot control them.” The variability (some would say “intermittency”) of renewable energy provides an opportunity for humanity to exercise temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility with nature. Faithful Catholics may recognize the juxtaposition of mortal sins versus holy virtues.