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More than 100 Coal Plants Shutting—But How Much Difference Will It Make?

After public pressure, Chicago will shut two aging coal-fired power plants, and the owner of one of the power plants, Midwest Generation, may shut its other four coal plants in Illinois. Since the start of 2010, more than 100 coal plants have been slated for early retirement. A major reason for coal plants shutting has been public opposition to…

U.S. Rejects Tar Sands Pipeline from Canada—For Now

Under pressure from Congress to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, planned to connect Canada’s tar sands region with the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Obama administration has decided to reject the pipeline proposal. “This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline” that did not…

Green Storage Wars: Self Storage Facilities Launch Eco-Friendly Innovations

  By Nadine Long The image that most often comes to mind when we think of self storage facilities is rows and rows of garage doors. But beneath that none-too-exciting exterior, storage facilities are the perfect incubators for new energy technologies. Green buildings can use one-third less energy and half the water of standard buildings,…

Oil, Gasoline Prices Hit All-Time Highs in 2011—and May Continue Rising

Average prices of oil and gasoline at the pump reached an all-time high in 2011, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, averaged $111 a barrel—the first time it broke $100 for a whole year. In some ways, these records snuck up on Americans, since there was no extreme…

Now All GOP Presidential Candidates Express Climate Skepticism

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman expressed skepticism about the science on climate change, so now all GOP candidates are on the record as doubting either that the planet is clearly warming, or that people are responsible for most of the warming. Of all the GOP candidates, Huntsman had been the most supportive of action on climate…

Renewable Energy Saves Jobs

  By Ezra Drissman In a slow economy during a time when people are looking to save money, renewable energy can provide a dual solution.  The two biggest expenses for most businesses are labor and utilities.  What if a company could use clean energy technology to save on its second biggest cost? The logic in…

Only Five Years Left to Make Transition to Low-Carbon Infrastructure

The infrastructure built over the next five years could “lock in” enough emissions to push the world past its target for limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest annual update of energy trends, World Energy Outlook. The Agency is “increasingly pessimistic” about the prospect for dealing with climate change, said deputy…

California Adopts Cap-and-Trade System, Serves as Greenhouse Guinea Pig

After a unanimous vote by the California Air Resources Board, the state adopted the most comprehensive cap-and-trade system in the country, a key part of a 2006 global warming law that had yet to be implemented. The system will cover 85 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and allows businesses to counterbalance up to…

Detroit Can Revitalize Ailing Economy by Spurring Solar Jobs

  By Ezra Drissman With so many people out of work, bold and creative ideas are needed to revive floundering economies. This is particularly true in Detroit, where recent figures show some areas suffer from 14 percent unemployment. As an engineering hub and manufacturing powerhouse, Detroit has a chance to develop a solution that could…

“Crony Capitalism” Alleged Behind Tar Sands Pipeline Review

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which could carry a diluted form of tar sands from Canada to Texas, has attracted the ire of many environmentalists, including Bill McKibben, who spearheaded protests in front of the White House last month. This week, McKibben argued the Obama administration is practicing “crony capitalism” and that e-mails obtained through a Freedom of…

Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies May Be the Way to Jumpstart Climate Finance

A leaked World Bank document, due to be presented at the G20 meeting in November, proposes that rich countries eliminate their fossil fuel subsidies and instead contribute the money to climate aid for poor countries to help with green energy and adaptation measures. The paper also said donor countries are unlikely to come up with the…

Scrambling to Head Off Power Outages Caused by Heat Waves, Rapid Growth, and Disaster

Texas has suffered through the worst drought and one of the worst heat waves on record, pushing electricity use to a record high in an attempt to cope. Texas is the state with the largest installed wind capacity, and recently installed wind farms came through to boost the state’s electricity generation just in time. However, even this jump was…

As Markets Dive, Clean Energy Stocks Hit by “Triple Whammy”

The stock market took a beating this week, after the rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. bonds—but clean tech stocks have been falling even faster than the market as a whole. Shares in clean energy companies have been hit by a “triple whammy”—producing too much capacity for the demand, problems with government debt, and…

China Aims to Become Solar Powerhouse with New Subsidies

China is already the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturer, but now it is making a move to become a major solar energy consumer as well, with a nationwide feed-in tariff to pay people or businesses a subsidy for electricity they produce with solar panels. This follows on the heels of the country’s wind energy feed-in tariff in…

Debt Ceiling Impasse Could Hit Clean Energy Hard

Clean energy could be among the hardest-hit sectors if the U.S. government does not raise the debt ceiling and then defaults on the national debt. If there is a default, it could hurt in direct ways, by stopping payments for cash grants and loan guarantees that support many renewables projects. It could also hit innovation, by putting the Department…