The Unstoppable Force of Renewables

wind-turbine-10661_640At the 11th hour in 2014, a lame duck Congress pulled a lame duck move, extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) by a mere two weeks.  The PTC grants tax relief to wind projects and can often be the difference between a project getting off the ground and not.  Without it, there is real fear that the development pipeline in wind, at a time when sensitivity to climate change is at an all-time high, will have no choice but to dry up.  There is a chance that the burgeoning solar industry, supported by similar tax relief in the form of the Investment Tax Credit, will follow suit in the face of a conservative Congress.

And then this week happened.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, despite the PTC decision, wind power and solar power are barreling ahead in 2015.  Here are the best headlines from the past seven days:

  • Rocky Mountain Institute launched the Business Renewables Center (with corporate partners including Renewable Choice) to encourage the widespread commercial adoption of renewable energy.

  • Google, which has made a public commitment to source 100% of its energy from renewables,announced that it has signed another long-term power purchase agreement with the Altamont Pass wind farm.  The agreement will power the internet giant’s Mountain View HQ with 100% wind power.

  • Apple, also committed to 100% renewable energy, announced an enormous $850M power purchase deal with First Solar’s California Flats Solar Project in California.

  • AT&T just announced a 20-year solar power purchase agreement with Sun Edison to fuel its Lancaster, Texas distribution facility.

  • The world’s largest solar plant opened in Riverside County in California.  The plant will produce 550 mega-watts per year, enough to power 160,000 California homes.

  • 350.org, the group headed up by Bill McKibben, and the force behind last year’s incredible People’s Climate March in NYC, has been ramping up for Global Divestment Day tomorrow, with divestment actions occurring all over the world in anticipation.

  • A study out of UC Berkeley indicates that cheap, biomass-generated energy could make the western US carbon-negative by mid-century.

  • Scientists have just announced that they’ve found a way to convert solar energy to liquid fuel.  If they’re right, that could be a global game-changer.

If this week is any indication, the momentum that has been building in renewables over the past few years has now reached a tipping point – we’ve officially entered the phase of the unstoppable growth of renewables, fueled in no small part by the commitment of voluntary corporate purchasers who see the economic and environmental value in clean energy.

Here’s to a year filled with this kind of news every week!

 

By | 2015-02-13T20:54:13+00:00 February 13th, 2015|Business Blog, Environmental Blog|

About the Author:

Amy brings 20 years’ experience in leadership and organizations to her work in sustainability communications for Renewable Choice. She earned her M.Ed. at Colorado State University.