IEA Warns CO2 Emissions Set to Climb to ‘All-Time High’ as Rich Nations Skimp on Clean Energy

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

The International Energy Agency warned Tuesday that global carbon dioxide emissions are on track to soar to record levels in 2023—and continue rising thereafter—as governments fail to make adequate investments in green energy and end their dedication to planet-warming fossil fuels.

In a new report, IEA estimates that of the $16 trillion world governments have spent to prop up their economies during the coronavirus crisis, just 2% of that total has gone toward clean energy development.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, slammed what he characterized as the hypocrisy of rich governments that promised a green recovery from the pandemic but have thus far refused “to put their money where their mouth is.” Research published last month revealed that between January 2020 and March 2021, the governments of wealthy G7 nations poured tens of billions of dollars more into fossil fuels than renewable energy.

On top of being “far from what’s needed to put the world on a path to reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century,” Birol said that the money allocated to green energy measures thus far is “not even enough to prevent global emissions from surging to a new record.”

“Governments need to increase spending and policy action rapidly to meet the commitments they made in Paris in 2015—including the vital provision of financing by advanced economies to the developed world,” Birol continued. “But they must then go even further by leading clean energy investment and deployment to much greater heights beyond the recovery period in order to shift the world onto a pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050, which is narrow but still achievable—if we act now.”

The IEA’s analysis—which examines roughly 800 policies implemented throughout the coronavirus crisis by more than 50 countries—finds that “full and timely implementation” of the economic recovery measures would result in CO2 emissions surging to an “all-time high” in 2023 and continuing to rise in the following years, more than wiping out the pandemic-related emissions drop.

“While this trajectory is 800 million tonnes lower in 2023 than it would have been without any sustainable recovery efforts,” the analysis notes, “it is nonetheless 3,500 million tonnes above” what’s necessary to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Paris-based agency’s latest findings come just months after it said world governments must immediately halt all new investments in oil and gas projects in order to avert the worst consequences of the climate crisis, which is wreaking havoc across the globe in the form of catastrophic flooding, deadly heatwavesdrought, and wildfires.

Birol plans to present the IEA’s new report to the leaders of G20 nations, which—according to research published Tuesday morning—have handed more than $3.3 trillion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry since the Paris climate accord was finalized in 2015.

“The action taken by these countries up until this point is a far cry from what is needed,” Antha Williams, the environment lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies, which helped conduct the subsidy research, told The Guardian. “As a host of climate emergencies intensify around the world, the continued development of fossil fuel infrastructure is nothing short of reckless. We need more than just words—we need action.”

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Akon Finally Breaks Ground On His Futuristic $10 Billion Solar Powered “Crypto City”

By | TheMindUnleashed.com

The rapper, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Akon has been making significant progress on his development plans in Africa, which involve the creation of a futuristic city that runs on clean energy and cryptocurrency.

In January of last year, Akon revealed that his agreements with Senegal President Macky Sall were going forward, and a few months later it was announced that the engineering and consulting firm KE International was awarded a $6 billion contract to build the city. The company previously said it had already received $4 billion from investors for the first two phases of Akon City’s construction, giving the project a price tag of at least $10 billion.

The project goes much further than just this one city and it has already begun to make an impact across the continent. In the short time since the deal was finalized last year, a large number of solar street lights, and solar home lighting units, have been installed across 14 African countries, according to Akon Lighting Africa.

The effort was made possible by a private-public partnership model and a well-established network of partners including SOLEKTRA INT, SUMEC, and NARI.

Phase 1 of construction on the city is expected to be completed in 2023 and will include roads, a hospital, residences, hotels, a police station, a waste facility, a school, and a solar power plant. The entire city is expected to be finished around 2029. The city’s economy will be facilitated by Akon’s cryptocurrency “Akoin,” which runs on the Stellar blockchain. Stellar is a crypto ecosystem that includes its own cryptocurrency XLM, and also allows for the development of other projects, such as decentralized exchanges and additional currencies like Akoin. Banks around the world have also been considering using the Stellar blockchain for stable coin deployment.

Akon believes that cryptocurrency is the solution to the corruption problems that create widespread inequality in Africa because the blockchain provides a record that would make corruption extremely obvious if it were to take place. With an independent cryptocurrency, governments are unable to print money and devalue the currency, and the control of the money is decentralized.

In an interview with TMZ last year, Akon compared the vision that he has for the city with the fictional “Wakanda” from the movie Black Panther.

“This movie literally made an idea of what Africa could really be. It’s just ironic that I was already working on this before the movie came out, but it’s something that helped me a lot when I was trying to explain to people what I was trying to do,” Akon said.

The city’s crypto-economic system will also solve many problems specific to the developing world, like instantly calculating conversation rates for currencies, which is often an obstacle because there are so many different regional currencies and methods of trade. In some cases, people even use prepaid cellphone minutes as a currency because it is easier to use and exchange than traditional currencies. Akon says that the Akoin wallet will allow users to trade between cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, and cellphone minutes instantly without having to go through a major exchange using Atomic Swap technology. The app will also teach users to become more familiar with the technology in general.

Federal Panel Rejects Attack on Rooftop Solar in US

By Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams

Federal regulators on Thursday released a pair of decisions expected to impact the expansion of renewable power nationwide—one that was celebrated by environmentalists and clean energy advocates as a crucial win and another that critics warned: “could lead to more pollution by propping up fossil fuel power plants.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delivered a victory to supporters of renewables by rejecting an April petition from the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) calling for federal rather than local jurisdiction over solar net metering policies, which had provoked strong condemnation from a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers, solar investors, and hundreds of advocacy groups.

As Public Citizen explained last month:

Net-metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar power generators for the electricity they add to the grid. It is a crucial component of rooftop solar project financing because it makes solar energy systems affordable for small businesses and families through energy credits for the solar power they generate. The NERA petition would grant FERC sole jurisdiction to govern such programs through the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act [PURPA] or Federal Power Act.

Public Citizen, the Center for Biological Diversity, and over 450 other environmental, faith, and consumer groups sent a letter to FERC in June arguing that “state net-metering policies and distributed solar systems are foundational to achieving the nation’s urgently needed clean and just energy transition—to address historical environmental injustices, fight the climate emergency, and ensure long-term resilience.”

Howard Crystal, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity’s energy justice program, authored a legal intervention filed with FERC regarding the petition. In a statement Thursday, he welcomed the Republican-led commission’s rejection of the NERA proposal.

“This is a big win for our climate and for communities embracing clean solar power,” Crystal said. “FERC’s unanimous ruling ensures that states can keep appropriately compensating people who install rooftop solar. That allows community solar and other distributed renewables to continue playing a critical role in the urgent transition to clean energy.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, president, and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association applauded the panel’s dismissal of the “flawed petition” in a statement that highlighted the solar industry’s record on job creation and contributions to the U.S. economy.

“Our industry holds great promise to help create jobs and revive local economies,” she said. “We are grateful to the state utility commissions and many other partners who strongly opposed this petition. We will continue working in the states to strengthen net metering policies to generate more jobs and investment and we will advocate for fair treatment of solar at FERC where it has jurisdiction.”

Tom Rutigliano, an advocate in the Sustainable FERC Project, which is housed at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), similarly welcomed the decision, saying that “FERC did one thing right today in rejecting the outrageous petition that would have upended the ability of rooftop solar owners to get a fair price for the excess electricity they generate.”

However, Rutigliano expressed concern about the panel’s vote to overhaul PURPA, which is more than 40 years old and has been key to renewable energy growth across the country. As he put it: “Instead of promoting the small, clean generation, FERC is undercutting the ability of solar and wind power to get a fair chance to compete.”

Noting that “utilities have long sought changes to the law” over cost concerns while solar and wind developers say it “is critical to giving renewables a leg up in states that aren’t green-leaning,” Bloomberg reported Thursday that the panel

reduced the mandatory purchase obligation for utilities to five megawatts from 20 megawatts in some markets, and gave states more authority to set the price at which small generators sell their power. The “one-mile rule,” which determines whether generation facilities should be considered to be part of a single facility, was also changed. The agency will now require that qualifying facilities demonstrate commercial viability.

Commissioner Richard Glick, the lone Democrat on the panel, dissented in part but said that the changes would benefit consumers. “Under the old regime, customers were overpaying for power they were receiving” to the tune of $2.2 billion to $3.9 billion, he said.

Rutigliano warned that “homeowners putting solar panels on their roof, farmers leasing their land to wind turbines, and industrial facilities with efficient on-site power all lose under FERC’s rule today.”

“FERC is pushing the nation to use more fossil fuels,” he said, “just when it should be doing everything it can to support clean power.”

To Support ‘Urgently-Needed Clean and Just Energy Transition,’ 450+ Groups Demand Federal Regulators Rebuff Attack on Community Solar

By Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams

Over 450 environmental, faith, and consumer advocacy groups on Monday urged federal regulators to reject a proposal from a secretive rightwing organization that would upend policies seen as “foundational to achieving the nation’s urgently-needed clean and just energy transition.”

The call comes in a letter (pdf) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and concerns the New England Ratepayers Association’s (NERA) April petition arguing for federal jurisdiction over solar net metering policies, which are now under states’ control.

Public Citizen—one of the signatories to the new letter—explained Monday:

Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar power generators for the electricity they add to the grid. It is a crucial component of rooftop solar project financing because it makes solar energy systems affordable for small businesses and families through energy credits for the solar power they generate. The NERA petition would grant FERC sole jurisdiction to govern such programs through the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act or Federal Power Act.

The alternative to net metering is gross metering. Under this scenario, as Pine Tree Watch reported last month,

utilities pay solar users a low credit for supplying solar energy to the electric grid, then charge them a higher rate—the same as what non-solar users pay—for any energy they consume. This can result in solar customers paying for electricity even if they use less than their panels produce. “


The petition also could lay the groundwork for the elimination of states’ ability to promote renewable energy policies that incentivize solar.

According to Nathan Phelps, regulatory director at Vote Solar, “If this is approved, families and businesses across the country will be blindsided by this malicious affront on their good faith investments that were based on state policies that have been protected by FERC for the past 20 years.”

The fact that the attack on clean energy comes in the midst of both a climate emergency and economic crisis—as well as longstanding and unresolved environmental injustices—should compel FERC to reject the petitions, the groups argue.

From their letter:

State net metering policies and distributed solar systems are foundational to achieving the nation’s urgently-needed clean and just energy transition—to address historical environmental injustices, fight the climate emergency, and ensure long-term resilience. Families classified as low-wealth and Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the pollution from centralized dirty fossil power and the ravage of climate disaster. As we tackle the climate emergency and make the urgently-needed energy system reforms, it is critical that the new energy paradigm not only be powered by clean and renewable energy, but also pioneer electricity structures that build community resilience and distribute wealth, power, and decision-making about energy choices equitably. Solar is vital to that future, delivering benefits of equitable community development, local job generation, customer choice, and the energy security and resilience of communities in the long-term. As millions across the country face the threat of electricity shut-offs due to coronavirus-precipitated job losses, it is more apparent than ever that decentralized solar systems can help families generate their own power and decrease dependence on dirty centralized generation to weather such crises, only sure to rise in the face of growing wealth inequality and increasing climate impacts.

“The climate and economic crises are fundamentally linked,” Shiva Patel, an energy justice campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

“Our energy future must not only be powered by clean and renewable energy but have systems that address racial and economic justice through centering community control, ownership, and resilience,” she continued.

NERA’s petition had already sparked concern from two dozen federal lawmakers, who wrote in a letter to FERC sent last month, “States have engaged in deliberate, thoughtful processes to develop and implement net metering laws, which has led to the development of a renewable energy industry employing more than 800,000 workers nationwide.”

The lawmakers, whose ranks include Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also suggested NERA’s shadowy membership should raise eyebrows.

“It is also unclear based on public information whether this group actually represents any New England interests—consumer or corporate—and if it does, it is unclear why a group that advocates for ratepayers in New England is asking FERC for a sweeping order preempting net metering nationwide,” they wrote.

“At a time when states need to ensure low-cost and reliable energy transactions for consumers,” the letter continued, “FERC should not upend 45 existing state policies—and certainly not at the behest of a group funded by 12 anonymous donors whose interests are unknown to FERC or the public.”

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Affordable Ways to Live Sustainably

With global warming increasingly becoming an alarming issue, it is time to make drastic changes to our lifestyles. This may seem like a difficult and expensive task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to bring sustainability into your life without breaking your budget — in fact, it can even help you save money.

From breaking bad habits around the house to making upgrades in your home, you can live guilt-free and keep your newly saved dollar bills while making a positive impact on the environment.

Waste Not

If you’re looking for an easy place to start, head to your kitchen. Whether or not you’ve already begun a personal boycott against plastic silverware and paper plates, look around and count the disposable items around the area. Maybe you can replace Ziploc bags and plastic containers with Mason jars, which can have many surprising uses. For example, you can use them as to-go containers or make them into DIY air fresheners.

Composting is the future of recycling. As more cities across the US fund programs to promote the practice of transforming leftovers into nutrient-rich soil, it is easier than ever to get started. More and more cities are gifting their residents with composting bins to accompany their trash and recycling bins, complete with curbside service. Even if your city is not quite there yet, you can still learn to compost at home.

To take it a step further, replace any disposable products in the kitchen with compostable ones. This can combine the convenience of plastic forks and cups with the responsibility of taking care of the environment.

Related Article: HomeBiogas Device Turns Food Waste Into Clean Cooking Fuel And Nutrient-Rich Fertilizer

Options for Tiny Homes

Tiny homes are a trending way to limit your environmental footprint. Many have been able to live comfortably in functional and stylish tiny homes. This solution is great for those looking to downsize and aren’t bothered by a little less elbow room. Some sellers, like City Design Inc, even sell their these small homes on Etsy. Their smallest model costs less than $20,000 and includes a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living space in 180 square feet.

Compared to a small house, this home could save most people hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, that may still be too expensive for some, as the home will require land to stay on, and those building their own tiny home will have to navigate building regulations. If you’re looking live sustainably while avoiding these potential issues, living in an RV might be right for you.

Related Article: Tiny House Must-See – Couple Converts a School Bus So Well You Won’t Believe It’s a Bus

Affordable Solar Power

A staple in sustainable living, solar power may be what your mind wanders to first, only to be struck down because of the cost. It’s true that converting your home to solar power can be quite an investment, but before you turn away from this alternative source of energy, you may want to look into the available options that can make this change an affordable one.

Funding this endeavor should be the first thing you look into, and grants, rebates, and tax refunds should make up a huge part of your research, which can save you thousands of dollars. Though initially this might take more money upfront, you can also rest assured knowing that your electricity bill payments won’t fund anti-clean energy bills. Reports have found a portion of utility profits help fund companies that, among other things, promote fracking and spread misinformation about climate change.

Though sometimes it seems like we are only getting further from our goal of practicing kindness to our planet, there are many ways to do your part. Whether you start composting, move into a tiny home, or upgrade your energy source, every small victory in sustainable living is a victory for the planet.

Related Article: This Portable, Off-Grid Solar System Is Powerful Enough to Be Your Emergency Back Up

About the Author

Brooke Faulkner is a green-souled writer from the pacific northwest. If pressed, she’ll tell you that her green soul is made up of ferns, recycled goods, and a love of the “shop local” movement. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found gallivanting around the woods behind her house. To read more of her work, follow @faulknercreek.

Check Out This New Invention: A Solar Canopy That Creates Shade and Filters Water Too

Screen capture ThinkPhi

By Derek Markham | Treehugger

A pair of Indian entrepreneurs have developed what they claim is “the most advanced integrated plug and play system” for shade, water, and energy.

Solar canopies and carports, which can provide shade underneath them while harvesting clean energy from the sunlight that hits them, can be a great asset in both public and private spaces, but the startup ThinkPhi goes one step further with its flagship product. The company’s model 1080 not only produces renewable electricity from the sun (and stores it in integrated batteries), but it can also collect and filter rainwater.

The product, which looks a bit like an inverted umbrella, features solar panels on the top surface, as well as a canopy to collect and funnel the rainwater into the filtration chamber, and integrates LED lighting underneath it. The largest of the models, the 1080XL, has a canopy measuring 20 meters by 20 meters and is said to be capable of producing a peak of 45kW while also collecting and filtering hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per year, depending on local rainfall amounts.

The company’s product, while uniquely suited to regions like India that have high solar exposure and seasonal monsoon rains, could be put to work for a number of different applications, ranging from carports to bus and train stops to outdoor seating for businesses. The smaller units appear to only have enough solar capacity to run the LED lighting, with shade and rainwater catchment being the primary benefits of the devices, but the tops of the higher capacity units look to be virtually covered in solar panels, which would generate electricity that could be stored for later use.


Shifting Subsidies to Renewable Energy Instead of Propping Up Fossil Fuel Giants Would Prompt ‘Clean Energy Revolution’, Study Shows

A new report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) showed that if just 10 to 30 percent of the annual coal, oil, and gas subsidies were given to the renewable energy sector instead, the world could see a prompt reduction of fossil fuel emissions by nearly 20 percent.

By Julia Conley | Common Dreams

After two Democratic candidates in this week’s presidential primary debates called for an end to government subsidies for fossil fuel companies, a new study revealed that even reducing those subsidies—as the world’s wealthiest countries pledged to a decade ago—would kick-start “clean energy revolution.”

As The Guardian reported Thursday, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) released a report showing that if just 10 to 30 percent of the annual coal, oil, and gas subsidies were given to the renewable energy sector, the world could see a prompt reduction of fossil fuel emissions by nearly 20 percent.

“Public money is far better spent delivering the clean energy transition than propping up the fossil fuel industry. All countries should be looking to identify where swaps can kick-start their clean energy transitions.”
—Richard Bridle, IISD
Fossil fuel companies receive more than $370 billion per year in subsidies from world governments. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) calculates the amount given to extractive industries as $5.2 trillion, including the cost of the yearly damage done by fossil fuel companies. In the U.S. in 2015, the government spent 10 times more on the fossil fuel industry than it did on education.

Renewable energy companies providing solar, wind, and hydropower electricity are given only $100 billion yearly.

“Public money is far better spent delivering the clean energy transition than propping up the fossil fuel industry,” said Richard Bridle, senior policy adviser for IISD, in a statement. “All countries should be looking to identify where swaps can kick-start their clean energy transitions.”

In 2009, countries at the G20 summit agreed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, but 10 years later, the economies have made little progress.

In the Democratic primary debates on Tuesday and Wednesday, both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden called for an end to the subsidies.

On social media on Thursday, the global climate action group 350.org highlighted recent comments from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said in May, “What we are doing is using taxpayers’ money—which means our money—to boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers, to bleach corals. In one word: to destroy the world.”

Contrary to the claims of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the U.S. and other leaders aligned with fossil fuel industries abroad, even with less financial assistance from governments, the renewable energy sector is growing.

Renewable energy sources are expected to provide nearly 30 percent of electricity by 2023, up from 24 percent in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that natural gas and coal power fell by 7.7 and 2.5 percent, respectively, between 2016 and 2017, while solar, wind, and hydropower saw gradual growth.

Swapping subsidies for extractive industries for assistance that would go to sustainable energy companies would quickly “tip the balance,” Bridle told The Guardian.

The switch would turn renewables “from a technology that is slowly growing to one that is instantly the most viable and can replace really large amounts of generation. It goes from being marginal to an absolute no-brainer.”

The IMF estimates that completely ending fossil fuel subsidies would cut global emissions by a quarter while reducing the number of premature deaths due to pollution by half.

“The reform of subsidies alone is not enough to meet global emissions targets, but it is a good first step,” Bridle said. “Ultimately, the cost of each energy source should reflect its social and environmental impacts. That means increasing taxes on dirty energy and redirecting subsidies to align with government priorities.”

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New Wind Turbine Flaps Wings Like Hummingbird To Produce Clean Energy

By Amanda Froelich | True Activist

Although traditional wind turbines have relatively little impact on the environment compared to fossil fuels, they still aren’t perfect. Mainly, people complain that the installations produce too much noise, pollute the view of landscapes, and kill birds and bats that fly into them. It’s for this reason and because their design can always be improved that a number of innovators are working on alternative concepts. One that might pique your interest was designed by Tyer Winds, and it’s the first mechanical device in the world that mimics the motion of a hummingbird in flight.

The  Tunisian invention is being heralded as a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of mechanics. Hassine Labaied, partner and co-founder of Tyer Wind, told Inhabitat that only recently have scientists begin to apply new understandings of animal and human motion into wings. The new wind power plant design is far more efficient than standard turbines due to 3D Aouinian kinematics pioneered by Anis Aouini.

Related Article: Trees Outfitted With Tiny, Vertical Wind Turbines Generate Clean Energy [Watch]

The unique model replicates the mechanism that allows hummingbirds to fly in one place with a wind turbine that moves in a figure 8 configuration. With two vertical axis wings made from carbon fiber (each 5.25 feet long), kinetic wind energy is converted into emissions-free electricity.

A pre-industrial rated power output of 1kW results from the two wings sweeping an area of nearly 12 square feet.

The video below shows how a pilot machine is presently being tested in Tunisia. Tyer Winds relays that the initial tests for power efficiency, aerodynamic behavior, and material resistance have been encouraging,  and that recorded data will be shared with the public after a period of time.

This isn’t the first time 3D Aouinian kinematics has been utilized to improve innovations. Reportedly, external combustion engines, external combustion engines, pumps, and marine propulsion have all benefited from the technology.

Related Article: Silent Rooftop Wind Turbines Could Generate Half of a Household’s Energy Needs

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

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Trees Outfitted With Tiny, Vertical Wind Turbines Generate Clean Energy [Watch]


By Amanda Froelich | True Activist

One of the biggest criticisms of wind turbines is that in addition to being very loud, they’re not very nice to look at. This is likely to soon change – at least in urban environments, thanks to an aesthetically appealing innovation created by the French company New Wind.

When one first glances at a Tree Vent, it appears to be like any other tree. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes very obvious that each ‘leaf’ on the device is actually a vertical wind turbine.

Related Article: U.S. Dept. Of Energy Endorses Project That Will Bring Wind Power to 1.5 Million Homes and Businesses

According to Newsweek, each Tree Vent is 11 meters (36 ft) tall and 8 meters (26 ft) in diameter at its widest point. The white frame is comprised of steel and holds 72 turbines – each of which is constructed out of a lightweight sheet of plastic called an Aeroleaf. The “leaves” accumulate micro electricity and can individually generate anywhere from 15 street lamps worth of wattage to the power necessary for over 10,000 miles in an electric car. Of course, installing an ‘orchard’ of the trees would ideal for making a big impact on the homes and buildings nearby.


Normally, wind turbines are constructed to be very tall to capture the wind at its strongest. But Tree Vents are only 36 ft tall, which is why the company designed the vertical turbines to spin with the wind blowing as low as 7 km/h (4.4 mph). In effect, the small ‘leaf’ turbines are twice as sensitive as traditional turbines. Their sensitivity has a downside, however. The turbines are only durable enough to withstand wind speeds of 178 – 208 km/h (111-129 mph). Still, it’s the design of the Tree Vents that makes them perfect for urban or even suburban environments.

Intriguingly, support for the Tree Vents has flourished in recent months, despite the innovations being showcased to the public early last year. In March of 2015, a Tree Vent was installed in Paris’s Place de la Concorde to introduce the public to the concept. Not long after, approximately 40 more units were placed around France.

Related Article: Silent Rooftop Wind Turbines Could Generate Half of a Household’s Energy Needs

Fortunately, the devices said to be available for purchase – though they are a bit of an investment. Each tree retails at £23,500 or $33,670. According to the company, the turbines will pay themselves off in a few years due to the money saved on alternate energy sources. Plus, the planet will inevitably benefit – that’s something to feel good about.

Learn more about the Tree Vents by watching the video below and visiting New Wind’s website.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

This article (Trees Outfitted With Tiny, Vertical Wind Turbines Generate Clean Energy [Watch]) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com

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Even Though It Was a Tough Year Ecologically, Here Are 50 Ways 100% Clean Energy Won in 2017

By Jodie Van Horn | Eco-Watch

We’d never argue that 2017 was a great year, but some really great things did happen!

Here are 50 ways (yes, 50!) that clean energy kept winning in 2017 despite Trump’s attempts to roll back the country’s progress.

1. The Republican Mayor Championing 100% Renewable Energy in Louisiana

Republican Mayor Greg Lemons made his small town of Abita Springs the first municipality in Louisiana to commit to 100% clean energy. Mayor Lemons said his 100% renewable energy vision for Abita Springs, which has a population of 2,900, aligns with the conservative values of his community—and it has made him a trailblazer across Louisiana.

2. Madison and Abita Springs Committed to 100% Clean Energy on the Same Day!

On March 21, Madison, Wisconsin and Abita Springs, Louisiana became the 24th and 25th cities in the country to commit to 100% clean energy. Last year, more than 70% of voters in Madison cast ballots supporting Hillary Clinton, while in St. Tammany Parish, where Abita Springs is located, more than 70% of voters supported Donald Trump. They agree on one thing, at least—the need for 100% clean energy.

3. Solar Created Even More Jobs Across America

new report released this year by The Solar Foundation showed that in 2016, the number of solar jobs increased in 44 of the 50 states, and more than 260,000 Americans now work in solar. In several major metro areas, the solar workforce grew by 50% or more. The New York Times ran a major piece in April, which pretty much sums it up: Today’s Energy Jobs Are in Solar, Not Coal.

Related Article: Solar Can Already Generate More Energy Than Oil, Study Says

4. Chicago Committed to Power All Municipal Buildings with 100% Renewable Energy by 2025

In April, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that by 2025, all 900-plus buildings operated by the city, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Housing Authority and City Colleges will be powered entirely by renewable sources. In 2016, those buildings used nearly 1.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity—equal to the energy needed to power about 295,000 homes.

5. U.S. Mayors Announced New National Drive for 100% Clean Energy

Mayors from across the U.S. teamed up with the Ready for 100 campaign to announce Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, a new effort to engage and recruit mayors to endorse a goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy in cities across the country.

6. 100% Clean Energy at the People’s Climate March

A contingent of 100% clean energy activists representing communities from coast to coast joined hundreds of thousands of people marching in the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC on April 29.

7. Atlanta Committed to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy

Atlanta became the largest city in the South to commit to running entirely on clean energy. The city then took it to the people to learn through a series of #CommunityConversations why Atlanta is #ReadyFor100. Atlantans are helping shape the plan, set to be released next year—and they’ve even got some superhero support.

8. More Companies Bought Into 100% Clean Energy

Around the world, a record number of big corporations, ranging from Anheuser-Busch to Kellogg, committed to going all-in on 100% clean energy. Collectively, their energy footprint is greater than all energy consumed in the state of New York. Corporate demand for renewable energy is helping drive a shift away from fossil fuels and bringing more renewable energy online. Google declared it now buys enough wind to cover 100% of its energy use.

9. Even Puppies Love 100% Clean Energy

And what’s more uplifting than puppies?

10. Entire Town of Hanover Voted Unanimously for 100%

At a town meeting on May 9, residents of Hanover, New Hampshire voted to get off of all fossil fuels by 2050. This is the first community in the country to adopt a goal of 100% clean, renewable energy voted on and approved by the residents of the community.

11. Clean Energy Spiked In California and Texas

In California and Texas this year, clean energy like wind and solar set new records for energy generation. On May 13, renewable energy supplied 67% of all power in California. And wind broke records across the country, especially in Texas where 54% of grid electricity came from wind at one point on Oct. 27, breaking a previous 50% record set on March 23.

12. A Movement of Mayors Across Florida

Florida mayors are leading the way towards 100% clean, renewable energy. More than 40 mayors from across Florida have joined Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, the most of any state in the country. Although the Sunshine State gets less than half a percent of its power from the sun, Floridians beat back previous utility-backed effortsto limit solar energy in the state. Now clean energy advocates and dozens of mayors say they deserve better.

13. Pueblo, Colorado Committed to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy

The city of Pueblo, Colorado committed to running entirely on renewable energy by 2035. City council is now exploring options for how they can cut ties with an uncooperative utility, protect low income rate payers, and move to 100% clean energy for all.

14. A Mother’s Clean Energy Vision for Her City

On Mother’s Day, Mayor Heidi Harmon of San Luis Obispo, California, who is also a proud mom of two, shared her vision for 100% clean energy in her community. Citing the safety and health threats that climate change and pollution will pose to children, Mayor Harmon sees a solution: transitioning San Luis Obispo to run on 100% clean energy.

15. Oregonians Committed to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy

On the same day that Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, the Portland City Council and Multnomah County Commission voted to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Thanks to organizations like Verde and Opal, these commitments also represent a strong commitment to racial and economic justice and will ensure that communities of color and low income communities define, lead, and share the economic, social, and environmental benefits of a renewable energy transition.

16. Energy Experts Agreed: 100% Renewable Energy is Possible

In a global survey, more than 70% of the world’s energy experts agreed that powering the globe with 100% renewable resources is achievable.

Related Article: 100% Clean Energy Economy Is Much Closer Than You Think

17. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to Trump: the Steel City Will Move to 100% Clean Energy

Just hours after Donald Trump claimed to represent the voters of Pittsburgh in his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, Mayor Bill Peduto announced his support for a goal of powering Pittsburgh entirely with clean and renewable energy by 2035.

18. Edmonds and Whatcom County Were the First Washington Commitments to 100% Clean Energy

In June, the city of Edmonds became the first community in the state of Washington to commit to 100% clean, renewable energy. Edmonds set the goal of achieving a 100% transition by 2025 shortly after the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in June. Whatcom County became the sixth county in the country to move towards 100% renewable energy.

19. Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina Is a Clean Energy Champ

Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin, Co-Chair of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, is #ReadyFor100. Mayor Benjamin’s leadership paved the way for Columbia to commit to 100% clean, renewable energy in June. As a local and national leader, Mayor Benjamin is sharing his vision far and wide.

20. Wind is Winning Across America

Wind power reached new heights in 2017! Earlier this year, American Electric Power announced that it would make a $4.5 billion investment in the nation’s largest wind energy project, and local advocates like Nancy Moran spoke out in support. The wind farm will provide power in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, and is expected to save customers $7 billion over the next 25 years. In Texas, wind power became a bigger source of electricity than coal.

21. U.S. Conference of Mayors Approved Historic 100% Clean Energy Resolution, Proving That Mayors Are #ReadyFor100

The 85th U.S. Conference of Mayors approved a resolution establishing support from the nation’s biggest cities for an equitable and just transition to 100% clean energy by 2035. Clean energy activists celebrated the mayors’ vote by taking part in an aerial art action on the beach. Is your mayor signed onto Mayors for 100% Clean Energy?

22. One of the Country’s Biggest Bus Fleets Will Be 100% Electric by 2030

This summer, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), voted to transition its fleet of more than 2,200 buses to zero emission electric buses by 2030. Transitioning to all electric buses will help improve air quality, fight climate change, enhance social equity and improve rider experience. Additionally, with policies that encourage local manufacturing, the transition can create good local jobs in disadvantaged communities. Congratulations to the Sierra Club’s My Generation campaign and local partners in Los Angeles who worked hard to achieve this major victory.

23. Orlando’s 100% Clean Energy Commitment is Already Having an Impact

In August Orlando became the largest city in Florida to commit to 100% renewable energy. The city plans to stop using fossil fuels by 2050. Orlando’s commitment to clean energy is already having an impact: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer indicated that the city’s 100% renewable energy goal is a key factor in determining who will become the next CEO of their city-owned utility.

24. The Path to 100% Clean Energy Is Saving Hawai’i Money

The Hawai’i House of Representatives found this year that Hawai’i residents have already saved over a quarter of a billion dollars as a result of the state’s progress toward achieving its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045. The state called on other states and the federal government to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, citing that it makes economic sense today. Hawai’i has a detailed plan to hit its goal five years ahead of schedule.

25. Faith Leaders Asked Boise’s Mayor to Endorse a 100% Clean Energy Future

Boise Faith Leaders representing 20 different faith communities delivered a letter to Mayor Dave Bieter to urge him to support a goal to make Boise the first city in Idaho to commit to 100% clean energy. The Idaho chapter of the Sierra Club has been building grassroots support and asking Mayor Dave Bieter to commit to a 100% clean energy goal.

26. In the Coal-Dependent State of Utah, 100% Is Trending

In a state that still gets nearly 70% of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, municipalities have begun to say “no more.” This year, Summit County and Moab, Utah committed to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. Salt Lake City, which is also in the 100% club, released Climate Positive 2040, a plan to achieve its goal to run on clean energy by 2032, reduce carbon pollution, and take the lead on climate action.

27. 100% Clean Energy Unleashed in Capitals

U.S. lawmakers introduced bills in both the Senate and House of Representatives this year that would move the entire country to 100% renewable energy. Senators Jeff Merkley and Bernie Sanders announced their landmark “100×50” act with community leaders in April. And clean energy supporters from California to Massachusetts have been pushing state lawmakers adopt 100% renewable energy, but many of these efforts are still in progress.

28. 150 Mayors for 100% Clean Energy

The Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy initiative reached a major milestone: 150 mayors from across the country signed onto the campaign and pledged to power their communities with 100% clean, renewable energy. Civic leaders from across the country are stepping up to make it known that they care about the health of their residents and the strength of their local economy by advocating for 100% clean, renewable energy.

29. Local Clean Energy Advocates Rallied for Community Choice

In support of a clean energy future for California, community members rallied in September to protect Community Choice energy programs, like Alameda County’s East Bay Community Energy. Community Choice gives cities and counties the chance to take control of their electric power supply and offer renewable energy to residents and businesses.

Related Article: Look How Much Wind and Solar Energy Have Grown in the U.S. Since 2007

30. North Carolina Counties Went All-In On Renewable Energy

While cities across the country continue to commit to 100% clean energy, some North Carolina communities are going even bigger. Orange County and Buncombe County, North Carolina this year became some of the first counties in the country to commit to 100% clean, renewable energy.

31. Pueblo’s Movement for Energy Justice Featured in Sierra Magazine Profile

In a profile published in Sierra, Michael Tannahill’s story reveals the connections between economic and environmental justice—and highlights why the community of Pueblo, Colorado is pushing back hard against high utility costs and dirty fuels to get to 100% clean energy.

32. Portland’s Commitment to 100% Clean Energy Pushed Portland General Electric (PGE) to Invest in Renewables

PGE acknowledged that Portland and surrounding Multnomah County’s 100% renewable energy goals are shaping its future energy investments. After the Oregon Public Utility Commission rejected PGE’s proposal to expand a gas-fired power station in August, PGE issued a proposal to develop renewable energy and energy storage.

33. St. Louis Became the Largest Midwest City to Commit to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy

On Oct. 27, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the city’s commitment to transition to 100% by 2035. St. Louis, a longtime coal capital home to Arch Coal and Peabody Energy, represents the largest city in Missouri and across the Midwest to establish a goal of transitioning entirely to clean, renewable energy. The city will develop a plan by December 2018 to meet the goal and conduct a transparent and inclusive stakeholder process. This includes community members and representatives from organizations representing labor, faith, social justice, environmental justice, frontline communities and those most impacted by our current energy systems, among others.

34. In Cleveland, the Community Wants Clean Energy for Everyone

Through a series of Community Dialogues in Cleveland, Ohio, Ready for 100 organizer Jocelyn Travis has been helping residents of “the Rock and Roll Capital of the World” envision a 100% clean energy transition in their city. The Dialogues have helped Cleveland’s diverse communities connect with each other, learn about clean energy solutions, and build a movement for a healthy and just clean energy transition.

35. Community Choice Can Help San Diego Reach Its 100% Clean Energy Goal

A City of San Diego study released this year determined that Community Choice Energy can help San Diego achieve its goal of 100% clean energy at a cost competitive rate with the local utility. San Diego is the largest city in the country to have adopted a legally binding 100% renewable energy goal, which the city plans to achieve by 2035. San Diego’s Republican Mayor, Kevin Faulconer, is a co-chair of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy.


US Generates 10% Of Its Electricity From Renewables For First Time Ever

By Amanda Froelich | True Activist

Slowly but surely, the United States is proving itself to be a contender in the race to become powered (at least partially) by renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and hydropower. Evidence to support this claim comes from the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA). In March of 2017, the United States generated 10 percent of total electric from solar power and wind power — a first in history. This is remarkable news, considering the President of the country opposes renewable energy investments and the head of the EPA has numerous ties to the oil industry.

As Inhabitat reports, energy generated from the two renewable energy sources made up approximately seven percent of the nation’s electricity generation in 2016. A three percent increase in one year may not seem like much, but it signifies positive change.

The report notes how seasons impact the amount of clean energy that can be generated in the country. In Texas and Oklahoma, for instance, it is more common for wind electricity generation to reach its peak in the spring. In comparison, the amount of wind energy generated in California usually reaches its height in the summer. Unsurprisingly, solar output is at its highest in the summer due to longer daylight hours.

The EIA report goes on to predict that this is just the beginning of the US generating more than 10 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources. Based on weather patterns from previous years, the EIA predicted that the country would again generate over 10 percent of its electricity from renewables in April. In either the spring or fall, solar and wind combined tend to generate the cleanest energy, said the administration.

So far, wind turbines are providing more energy output than solar. Only California and Arizona generated more solar energy than wind energy in the year 2016. Incredibly, Texas generated the most wind energy out of all 50 states. Additionally, the state of Iowa can boast it generated 37 percent of its power from renewables. Approximately six other states generated about 20% of their energy needs from wind and solar.

Though the United States will be withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement, it has been made clear by numerous politicians that individual states will continue to reduce their collective carbon footprint and invest in green technologies. What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

True Activist / Report a typo

Read more great articles at True Activist.

These 25 U.S. Cities Are Now Committed to 100% Renewable Energy

Illustration by Aaron Goodman

By Lorraine Chow | EcoWatch

Madison, Wisconsin and Abita Springs, Louisiana are transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy following respective city council votes on Tuesday.

Madison and Abita Springs are the first cities in Wisconsin and Louisiana to make this commitment. They join 23 other cities across the United States—from large ones like San Diego, California and Salt Lake City, Utah to smaller ones like Georgetown, Texas and Greensburg, Kansas—that have declared similar goals.

Madison is the biggest city in the Midwest to establish 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero carbon emissions. The Madison Common Council unanimously approved a resolution to allocate $250,000 to develop a plan by January 18, 2018 that includes target dates for reaching these goals, interim milestones, budget estimates and estimated financial impacts.

Madison Common Council Alder Zach Wood said that his city is determined to “lead the way in moving beyond fossil fuels that threaten our health and environment.”

After a unanimous vote, Abita Springs is aiming to derive 100 percent of the town’s electricity from renewable energy sources by December 31, 2030.

The Sierra Club noted that Tuesday’s votes from the politically polar municipalities reflect the growing bipartisan support for alternative energy development. To illustrate, during the November election, more than 70 percent of Madison voters supported Hillary Clinton versus the 75 percent of voters in St. Tammany Parish, where Abita Springs is located, who supported Donald Trump.But as Abita Springs’ Republican mayor Greg Lemons said, “Transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy is a practical decision we’re making for our environment, our economy and for what our constituents want in Abita Springs.”

“Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense,” Lemons added.

LeAnn Pinniger Magee, chair of Abita Committee for Energy Sustainability, had similar remarks.

“In a state dominated by oil interests, Abita Springs is a unique community that can be a leader on the path to renewable energy,” she said. “Our town already boasts the solar-powered Abita Brewery and we can see first-hand how clean energy benefits our businesses and our entire community. By transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy, we will save money on our utility bills and protect our legendary water and clean air in the process.”

Last year’s Gallup poll indicated for the first time that a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents prefer an alternative energy strategy. Fifty-one percent of Republicans favor alternative energy, up from the previous high of 46 percent in 2011.

“Whether you’re Republican or a Democrat, from a liberal college city or a rural Louisiana town, clean energy is putting America back to work and benefiting communities across the country,” Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign, said. “That’s why Madison, Wisconsin and Abita Springs, Louisiana, today join the ranks of 23 other cities and towns across the United States that are going all-in on clean, renewable energy.”

Van Horn noted that local leaders and governments will be increasingly tasked to curb President Trump’s pro-fossil fuel policies and gutting of environmental regulations.

“As the Trump Administration turns its back on clean air and clean water, cities and local leaders will continue to step up to lead the transition towards healthy communities and a more vibrant economy powered by renewable energy,” she said.


Scientists Invent Nuclear Waste–Powered Diamond Battery that Lasts Over 5,000 Years

Source: anonhq.com

By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, scientists turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy.

A team of physicists and chemists from the University of Bristol have developed nuclear waste–powered radioactive diamond batteries that last more than 5,000 years. The new technology — which uses a man-made diamond that generates a small electrical current when placed in a radioactive field — could simultaneously help solve the problems of radioactive nuclear waste, clean electricity generation, and battery life, the researchers claim.

Tom Scott, Professor in Materials in the University’s Interface Analysis Centre and a member of the Cabot Institute, elaborated:

There are no moving parts involved, no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation. By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, we turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy.

“We envision these batteries to be used in situations where it is not feasible to charge or replace conventional batteries. Obvious applications would be in low-power electrical devices where long life of the energy source is needed, such as pacemakers, satellites, high-altitude drones or even spacecraft. There are so many possible uses that we’re asking the public to come up with suggestions of how they would utilize this technology by using #diamondbattery.”

The video below explains how the nuclear waste–powered diamond batteries work:

The University of Bristol researchers created a prototype diamond battery using Nickel-63, a radioactive isotope having a half-life of 100 years, as the radiation source. A half-life of 100 years means in 50 years, the Nickel-63-powered diamond battery would still hold half its charge.

Therefore, to significantly improve the efficiency of the prototype diamond battery, the team is working to use salvaged carbon-14, a radioactive version of carbon (having a half-life of 5,730 years) generated in graphite blocks used in nuclear power plants to moderate the nuclear reactions. A half-life of 5,730 years means in 2,865 years the carbon-14-powered diamond battery would still generate 50% of its initial power.

This means a battery built in 2016 could run on full power until the year 7746. The team hopes to create their first carbon-14 batteries in 2017. Scott told MailOnline:

“The diamond battery would continue to lose power following the radioactive decay rate. Hence after 5,730 years, the diamond battery would reach 50 per cent power, after 11,000 years it would reach 25 per cent power and so on.”

A diamond battery containing 20g of carbon-14 would deliver a small electrical charge of 300 joules per day. By contrast, a standard alkaline AA battery outputs 14,000 joules per day. This means that a diamond battery does not have the strong power output of an AA battery, but it has the power to last much longer. Scott explained:

“An alkaline AA battery weighs about 20g, has an energy density of storage rating of 700J/g, and uses up this energy if operated continuously for about 24 hours. A diamond beta-battery containing 1g of C14 will deliver 15J per day, and will continue to produce this level of output for 5,730 years — so its total energy storage rating is 2.7 TeraJ.”

Since carbon-14 is concentrated at the surface of graphic blocks, the team claims, it becomes possible to remove the majority of the radioactive material and incorporate the extracted carbon-14 into a diamond to produce a nuclear-powered battery.  Dr Neil Fox, member of the CVD Diamond Lab based in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol, added:

“Carbon-14 was chosen as a source material because it emits a short-range radiation, which is quickly absorbed by any solid material. This would make it dangerous to ingest or touch with your naked skin, but safely held within diamond, no short-range radiation can escape. In fact, diamond is the hardest substance known to man, there is literally nothing we could use that could offer more protection.”

Nuclear energy is carbon free, so it is an attractive alternative to fossil fuels; though nuclear energy itself doesn’t contribute to global warming, nuclear waste makes fission bad for the environment and human health. Although nuclear waste is carefully stored and maintained, nuclear power reactor accidents — such as the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that displaced 50,000 households after radiation leaked into the air, soil and sea — can result in a variety of radioisotopes being released into the environment, thus posing serious health hazards.

A typical nuclear power plant creates around 2,300 tons of waste annually. The United States alone is currently stockpiling 75,000 tons of nuclear waste. The UK currently holds about 95,000 tons of graphite blocks, and extracting the carbon-14 from them to use in diamond batteries would reduce the cost of storing or re-processing the nuclear waste.

This article (Scientists Invent Nuclear Waste–Powered Diamond Batteries that Last More than 5,000 Years) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ.com.

Could “Plug-and-Play” Solar Be the Next Clean Energy Wave in the U.S.?

CC BY 2.0 Som Energia Cooperativa

By Derek Markham | Treehugger

In addition to investing in energy efficient home appliances, perhaps we should also be thinking about energy-generating appliances. Plug-and-play solar systems could be an effective clean energy investment for US homes, if only the regulations and paperwork weren’t so burdensome.

Although the US has seen massive growth recently in the adoption of solar electric systems, both for residential homes and for utility-scale power plants, there’s still a long way to go before the average citizen has easy access to clean energy. The price of a residential solar array, while continuing to drop every year, is still a significant amount of money, even after tax credits, and it isn’t a good fit for those who live in multi-unit buildings and don’t own their own roof, or those who rent their home.

Related Article: 100% Clean Energy Economy Is Much Closer Than You Think

There are a few renewable energy options out there for the non-homeowners and those unable or unwilling to finance a full home-sized solar array, such as community solar and clean energy purchase programs through certain utilities, or a solar lease, but there’s also a less-known approach to going solar at home that could be an effective entry-level option. Plug-and-play solar systems, which are self-contained modular units that don’t require any technical expertise to install, might be a solution for more Americans, if it weren’t for the hodgepodge of different regulations across the country that either disallow plug-and-play solar, or are difficult to navigate in order to get utility approval for their use.

Plug-and-play solar systems are designed to be as simple to install as plugging them into a home outlet, where they can directly offset some of the electricity used in the home, and because they can be purchased individually (versus buying an entire solar array at once), could provide more people with a gateway to clean energy. But because these systems also allow anyone to feed electricity back onto the grid, they aren’t allowed to be used in many parts of the US, which severely limits their potential.

According to Michigan Technological University’s Joshua Pearce, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, “plug and play systems could generate more than four times the amount of electricity generated from all of US solar last year.” A recent study completed by Pearce and two other researchers at the university found that plug-and-play solar could provide a capacity of up to 57 gigawatts of clean energy in the US, and deliver an energy cost savings of up to $13 billion per year. And not only that, but the study, U.S. Market for Solar Photovoltaic Plug-and-Play Systems, also found that “plug and play PV systems are economic throughout the U.S. already,” and could be a sound investment for many homes.

“If a household in Michigan is considered having purchased a plug and play PV system at the highest rate ($1.25/W, which amounts to $1,250 for a 1 kW system). With a conservative estimate of four 1 sun hours per day on average, the system will create 1460kWh/year, which is worth over $292/year for those living in the upper peninsula of Michigan. A simply payback results in the system paying for itself comfortably under 5 years and creating a high double digit return that would challenge even those residents with substantial credit card debt as a sound investment.”

Related Article: MIT Says Current Solar Technology Is Good Enough to Take Us into a Clean Energy Future

But what about those regulations and technical requirements that prohibit the installation of plug-and-play solar systems for both residential and small commercial applications? It turns out that perhaps most of those are overkill, and that with today’s solar PV and microinverter technology, systems of less than 1 kW could be safely added to many homes without the need for a costly AC disconnect switch and other barriers to entry. Another study from Pearce and researchers, “A Review of Technical Requirements for Plug-and-Play Solar Photovoltaic Microinverter Systems in the United States,” acknowledges that while safety procedures still need to be followed, currently available solar technology could be installed and commissioned “without the need for significant permitting, inspection and interconnection processes.”


6 Reasons the Whole World Is Shifting to Renewable Energy


Source: EcoWatch

We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: the global shift to clean energy is on today. Not 10 years from now. Not 50 years from now. Today.

We’re already seeing the benefits too in a whole host of sectors. And those below are just for starters. Which highlights why—with the Paris agreement about to go into effect and momentum building for action across the planet—it’s critical for those of us committed to creating a sustainable future to support world leaders working to drop dirty fossil fuels and expand clean solutions today. Read on to learn more.

Related Article: Trees Outfitted With Tiny, Vertical Wind Turbines Generate Clean Energy [Watch]

1. Renewables are Reducing Global Poverty and Expanding Energy Access

Currently, nearly one-fifth of the world’s population lacks access to electricity, most in rural areas of the developing world unable to connect to power grids. But with solar, batteries, LED lights and efficient appliances getting more affordable all the time and entrepreneurs developing new approaches both to technology and support for rural communities, it shouldn’t be for long. Fortune magazine, for example, last year hailed off-grid solar in Africa as “tomorrow’s hot market.” Meanwhile, projects in Bangladesh, Peru and rural villages of India are bringing electricity where there was once none—all through the power of the sun.

2. Clean Energy Saves Lives and Makes the World More Secure

With a warming climate come the challenges of ensuring food and water security for millions, sometimes spurring human migrations and further destabilizing vulnerable countries. But when we embrace clean energy, as militaries around the world are doing, the benefits can be big. Not only is it cutting costs, this choice is actually making our world more secure. Now that’s something worth fighting for.

3. Clean Energy Helps Improve Public Health

It’s simple: Burning fossil fuels pollutes our air, water and land, exposure to this pollution can result in deadly illnesses. Harnessing the power of the sun, wind and water … well … it doesn’t pollute our precious resources. With clean energy, we can all breathe (and drink and farm) easier.

Related Article: 100% Clean Energy Economy Is Much Closer Than You Think

4. We Protect Forests and Reduce Deforestation

Clearing the planet’s forests accounts for approximately 15 percent of global emissions—that’s about the same, if not slightly more, than transportation. But countries like Brazil and India are creating policies to drastically reduce deforestation as key parts of their strategies for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and meeting their commitments in the Paris agreement. When we protect forests, which store hundreds of billions of metric tons of carbon worldwide, we’re keeping that carbon where it belongs. We speak for the trees and we say thanks!