Backyard Talk

We Are Winning With Renewables

The U.S. electric grid added more than 70 times as much renewable energy capacity as natural gas capacity from January to March 2016. According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) reports no new capacity of coal, oil, or nuclear power were added in the first quarter of the year. I know there are many factors in addition to our efforts at the street that makes this possible but you – our grassroots field fighters – can take some credit for this accomplishment.
Today, renewables make up 18 percent of total U.S. installed generating capacity. This is a low number as FERC doesn’t include solar energy on rooftops across America. They only include large scale solar units.
According to an article in Climate by Joe Romm, “There is increasingly clear that we don’t need to add significant amounts of any new grid capacity that isn’t renewable for the foreseeable future. In part that’s because demand for utility power generation has been flat for almost a decade — and should continue plateauing for quite some time — thanks to rapidly growing energy efficiency measures (and, to a much lesser extent, thanks to recent increases in rooftop solar).  We also know that renewable power — both new wind and solar — is now winning bids for new generation around the world without subsidies.  Some bids are coming in at under four cents per kilowatt hour!
This is all good news. What isn’t is that the oil and gas industry still wants to drill, frack and export our fossil fuels. In New Bedford, Texas, Maryland, Oregon and other ports along our coasts are export terminals planned to take America’s resources and ship them overseas. What ever happened to our energy security? So that big oil and gas can increase their profits, the American people lose not only energy security but also the destruction of our water, land and the public’s health.
This is an election year and we – the people – have an opportunity to ask all candidates as they knock on our doors or rally in the park where they stand on destroying our environment and harming public health to export our resources and make big oil/gas richer. I personally think it is un-American hurt our families, environment and not keep the fossil fuels in the ground until just in case Americans need them.

Backyard Talk

Renewables Become the Second Most Popular Source of Electricity

By: Katie O’Brien
Renewables have just become the second most popular source of electricity in the World! Making it the first time since 2001, natural gas was bumped from the number two spot. While coal still holds the number one spot, this is a huge step in the right direction for clean energy.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 41% of electricity still came from coal, but over 22% came from renewable sources, such as solar, wind, and wave power. The increase in renewables can be attributed to 34 countries that are apart of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), that work together to seek answers to common problems, identify good practices and provide a platform to compare policy experiences. The increase however is not caused by a growth in renewable infrastructure, but rather an enormous decrease in coal electricity production. A study done by West Virginia University shows that there will be 39% decrease in coal production by 2035.
Europe has been a frontrunner in renewables. In the first quarter of this year, the U.K. alone produced over 22% of their power solar sources. Last year, Scotland provided enough electricity through wind power to power 72% of homes within the country. The European Renewable Energy Council has predicted that by the year 2050 (or sooner), that the European Union will have a completely renewable energy supply for the entire E.U. territory.
The U.S. is also working towards a more renewable future. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in 2004, investments in renewable energy were around $9 billion. In the first quarter of 2015, that number rose to more than $50 billion. With renewables on the rise, and fossil fuels on the decline, the World is looking to a greener, cleaner, and brighter future.