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News roundup: Breaking new records, driving down carbon emissions, conservatives embrace clean energy

News roundup: Breaking new records, driving down carbon emissions, conservatives embrace clean energy

In today’s roundup, wind breaks new generation records, drives down carbon emissions, and a conservative Michigan organization is embracing clean energy.

Wind power drove 4.8 percent of U.S. power generation in January, blowing away last year’s record:

  • Wind was responsible for 4.8 percent of America’s electricity used in January. That’s the highest January total ever, breaking the record from last January, which broke the record for the January before that, and so on. The chart below shows the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Association
  • America’s rising wind power feels unstoppable. That’s because in many areas of the country wind has reached an important tipping point: becoming cheaper than coal and natural gas. In fact, states getting the most electricity from wind include gas-rich Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.

Wind energy is also a great solution in the fight against climate change, cutting U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 4.4 percent in 2013:

  • The growth of wind power in the United States is putting a significant dent in emissions, according to a forthcoming report from the American Wind Energy Association. Wind generation avoided 95.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2013, which is equivalent to taking 16.9 million cars off the road.
  • That's a 4.4 percent cut to power sector emissions, when compared to the level of emissions that would have been generated if that power had come from fossil fuels. Wind proponents say that's evidence that the wind industry is playing a major role in meeting U.S. emissions goals. "Every time a megawatt of wind power is generated, something else is not generated," said Elizabeth Salerno, AWEA's vice president for industry data and analysis.
  • AWEA says two big factors could help boost the continued growth of wind: the extension of the production tax credit, which provides a financial incentive for wind development, and possible changes to the EPA's emission standards for existing power facilities. Regarding the former, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill Thursday that would extend the credit through the end of 2015.

In Northern Michigan, a new organization is helping conservatives get out their message on clean energy and energy efficiency:

  • Larry Ward, executive director of the newly formed Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, spoke to the Northern Michigan University College Republicans, which hosted a discussion on energy policy and national security at NMU's Mead Auditorium. The discussion came on the heels of Gov. Rick Snyder's December energy announcement in which he called for transitioning from coal to clean energy sources, making electricity rates more affordable and eliminating energy waste.
  • Ward said liberals have been taking all the discussion points on energy policy, with people been telling him conservatives had no one to turn to when it came to energy in Michigan. "It's energy," Ward said. "It doesn't need to be Republican-Democrat, but we need to have voices from all sides talking about it."
  • The forum, he said, has a policy that includes multiple forms of energy such as natural gas, biomass, wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower.

Be sure to check out Monday’s roundup: Bipartisan wind power, harvesting Texas wind, tech pioneers invest in clean energy

Sources:

Tom Randall, “U.S. Wind Power Blows New Records. Again. And Again.” Bloomberg. 7 April 2014.

Kate Sheppard, “Wind Power Has Cut U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions By 4.4 Percent: Report.” Huffington Post. 4 April 2014.

Christie Beck, “Conservatives focus on clean energy.” The Mining Journal. 7 April 2014.

 

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