A new post-election poll shows Americans (still) overwhelmingly support solar, wind, and other clean energies, crossing red-blue political lines. It is obvious from the poll that Americans understand the importance to both the economy and to job creation of leading the world in the clean, renewable energy sector. 75 percent of Trump voters and 86 percent of all US voters "support taking action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy", with almost 60 percent "strongly supporting" the action.
As part of on-going efforts to increase the use of renewable energy, Japan may soon unveil a plan to make rooftop solar arrays a required feature of all new buildings and houses by 2030, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Sunday.
The plan may be announced in a statement on energy policy by Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the G8 summit, which will be held in northern France this week. As relayed by Reuters, Kan will likely make clear Japan's intention to continue to use nuclear energy after steps are taken to improve safety standards. Workers are still struggling to control the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northern Japan.
Like nuclear reactors, solar panels are a low- to no-emissions source
California Governor Jerry Brown yesterday signed into law a mandate requiring utilities get a third of their electricity from renewable resources like solar panels and wind turbines.
The new bill promises to bring certainty to a fast-growing market for solar energy, in particular. With the transition to a new Governor this year, the future of California's renewables portfolio standard was periodically brought into question (see here and here). Without formal legislative action, the standard would have remained stuck at 20 percent rather than the more aggressive 33 percent.
Faced with the on-going nuclear crisis in Japan -- the costs of which could make the March earthquake and subsequent tsnuami the most expensive natural disaster the world has ever seen -- nearby China may be moving to double its target for solar photovoltaic (PV) power capacity over the next five years.
Citing unnamed sources, China Securities Journal today reported that the country's solar target might be raised to 10 gigawatts (GW) of PV by 2015, up from the current target of 5 GW. For comparison, global solar PV capacity was about 40 GW in 2010.
This news comes after a report released yesterday found that, in terms of clean energy investment, the United States has slipped to third place behind China and Germany.
Wrestling the energy boogieman has become a perennial rite of passage for U.S. presidents, dating at least as far back as Nixon.
Fittingly, President Obama today was at Georgetown University, where he outlined a broad initiative to cut oil imports, boost domestic production of oil and gas, and increase the use of cellulosic ethanol and natural gas to power vehicles.
With gas prices topping $4 a gallon in some parts of the country, like southern California, and the summer driving season not that far off, the president's comments couldn't come a moment too soon.
"In an economy that relies so heavily on oil, rising prices at the pump affect everybody," the Obama said in what the White House billed as a significant energy address.
Regular readers (among others) will know that California is the nation's clean energy leader. The state has on the books a law requiring that a fifth of all electricity come from renewable sources by 2010. A 2009 executive order by former Governor Schwarzenegger raised that target to 33 percent. But, thanks to procedural nuances, the Governator's move could technically be rolled back. In order to still, the new (higher) renewable energy standard must pass formal legislative muster.
As a follow on to yesterday's blog post, where we broadly discussed the country's electricity sources, I got to thinking: Where, exactly, are our nuclear power facilities?
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission offers a lot of useful information, including this map:
With the on-going calamity in Japan and phrases like "nuclear meltdown" and "radiation sickness" in headlines, it's to be expected that people discuss with renewed attention the risks and benefits of nuclear energy. At very least, it's helpful to stop and take a moment to think about where our electricity comes from.
Here in the U.S., we get about one-fifth of our electricity from nuclear power. Coal is still king, representing nearly half of total electricity generation, nationwide. Natural gas is number two, used to meet about a quarter of our demand.
Pay attention, freshman members of Congress... In case you missed it, a couple of weeks ago Gallup released results from a recent poll suggesting that Americans want more alternative energy. Here's what folks were asked:
Some California environmental groups want 2011 to bring about a friendlier relationship between themselves and the solar energy industry. To that end, several state environmental organizations, led by the California Desert and Renewable Energy Working Group and Defenders of Wildlife, have come up with a list of recommendations they hope the U.S. Interior Department will consider when approving future solar energy projects. The U.S. Interior Department had a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, February 10, and discussed the list of requests submitted by the group of environmentalists. The department has yet to formally respond.