Re-Lighting The Night After The City Repossessed Their Streetlights

The City of Highland Park, a predominantly Black city surrounded by Detroit, Michigan, has had most of its residential streets in the dark for the last 10 years. In 2011, the city owed $4 million to utility company DTE Energy.

An agreement was made between DTE and city officials to remove roughly 1,200 streetlights to settle the debt. Reports suggest the repossessed lights were sold for scrap. Since then, Highland Park remained in the dark figuratively and literally. Residents had no clue what happened.

“And it was just really a sad day actually seeing the poles, the trucks came to take the poles out, and it just left these stumps,” says Shamayin Harris, a lifelong Highland Park resident. “So they’re basically all around our city right now. It just looks like a graveyard of cement stubs where lights used to be on the residential street.

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Wind And Solar 94, Gas 2–Yes!

The changing of the seasons has definitely been disrupted by global heating, but it’s still the case, in general, that in the last month of a season there are a few days that are like the season that’s coming. For example, in the first few weeks of March there’ll be days where temperatures are spring-like, for example, and that’s always a good day. We who get it on the climate crisis got something like this recently when it comes to the essential, urgently-needed shift from fossil fuels (think winter) to renewables (think spring). What happened? In the first quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), approximately 2% of the new electrical generation capacity (power plants) came from natural gas, while 94% of it came from wind and solar (see page 4 here), This compares to the first quarter of 2017, when approximately 33% came from natural gas, 61% from wind and solar.

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Cost Of U.S. Solar Drops 75% In Six Years

By Staff of E360 DIGEST – The Trump administration has announced that a federal goal to slash the cost of utility-scale solar energy to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020 has been met early. The goal, set by the Obama administration in 2011 and known as the SunShot Initiative, represents a 75 percent reduction in the cost of U.S. solar in just six years. It makes solar energy-cost competitive with electricity generated by fossil fuels. The Department of Energy attributed achieving the goal so quickly to the rapidly declining cost of solar hardware, such as photovoltaic panels and mounts. And it said it will next focus its efforts on addressing “solar energy’s critical challenges of grid reliability, resilience, and storage,” according to a press release. The DOE also announced $82 million in new funding for solar research, particularly for research into “concentrating solar” — which uses mirrors to direct sunlight to generate thermal energy — and into improved grid technology. It set a new goal to reduce the cost of solar even further: 3 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2030.

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Half Of California’s Energy Met With Solar For First Time

By Danielle Ola for PV Tech – From the hours of 11am to 2pm on 11 March, the total solar share of gross demand exceeded 50%, according to the EIA. Source: Flickr/ lindalino. On 11 March, for the first time ever, over 50% of California’s power needs were met with solar power, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). From the hours of 11am to 2pm, “the total solar share of gross demand probably exceeded 50%,” the EIA said – noting that it was a combination of residential and commercial rooftop generation that constituted 4 million kWh of electricity during peak time. During the same time window, wholesale electric rates dipped below zero, compared to the average price of between US$14-$45MWh in March between 2013 and 2015.

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Utility Survey: Trump Will Not Stop the Clean Energy Transition

By Gavin Bade for Utility Dive. Today, President Trump is poised to release a long-anticipated executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s signature climate initiative.

The order is expected to be accompanied by directives to lift a moratorium on federal land coal leases and to cease the use of the social cost of carbon — all part of a broad campaign to dismantle environmental regulations on the power sector that Trump blames for the decline of the coal economy in the United States.

But while rescinding the rules could help slow coal power’s decline in the short term, analysts say it is unlikely to reverse its long-term downturn, mostly due to the economics of natural gas and renewables.

That attitude is shared not just by market observers, but by electric utilities themselves.

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Solar Accounts For 1 In 50 New U.S. Jobs In 2016

By Avery Palmer for The Solar Foundation – WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2016 — The American solar workforce grew at a historic pace in 2016, a year when one out of every fifty new U.S. jobs was in the solar industry, according to the new National Solar Jobs Census 2016, the seventh annual report on solar employment issued by The Solar Foundation. The National Solar Jobs Census 2016 found that solar industry employment growth outpaced the overall U.S. economy by 17 times as it increased by over 51,000 jobs, for a total of 260,077 U.S. solar workers. The solar workforce grew by 25 percent over 2015, the largest annual growth percentage since The Solar Foundation’s first National Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010.

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Oregon To Replace Coal With Clean Energy

By Mary Anne Hitt for the Sierra Club. The “Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan”, will move Oregon completely off coal by 2030 – including phasing out coal power being imported into the state on the grid – and ensure that most of that power is replaced by clean energy by doubling the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50 percent by 2040. It was passed with bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats, and it’s an historic victory for climate and clean energy leadership.

Oregon coal plants make of 25 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Analysis of the legislation’s expected impact has shown that the plan will reduce carbon pollution across the western states by 30 million metric tons – the equivalent of taking 6.4 million cars off the road. It also includes measures to keep electricity prices affordable and ensure reliable electric service.

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New Electrical Energy Generated In January Came From Wind & Solar

By Staff of Eco Watch – In the first 2016 issue of its monthly Energy Infrastructure Update report, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) notes that five new “units” of wind (468 megawatts) and six new units of solar (145 megawatts) accounted for 100 percent of new electrical generation brought into service in January. No new capacity for nuclear, coal, gas or oil was reported. Renewables now account for 17.93 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: hydropower (8.56 percent), wind (6.37 percent), biomass (1.43 percent), solar (1.24 percent) and geothermal (0.33 percent). In fact, installed capacity for non-hydro renewables…

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EPA Protested At 10 Regional Offices Over Clean Power Plan

By Staff of Our Power Campaign. Below is a storify of the national day of action against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan which people see as rhetorical cover for expanding the use of methane gas, which is usually fracked gas, incinerators to burn waste and nuclear power. On Tuesday January 19th, activists with the Climate Justice Alliance’s (CJA) Our Power Campaign met with EPA administrators and held rallies outside of EPA offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Our Power Campaign, Climate Justice Alliance

The actions called for stronger safeguards for frontline communities and a “just transition” to a clean energy future. The called for community-based solutions and transition to a clean energy future. Clean energy does not include methane gas, incinerators or nuclear energy

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With Nevada Squashing Rooftop Solar, Clean Energy Fight Heats Up

By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – Renewable energy advocates in Nevada are outraged by the state’s solar-killing moves, and they’re not going down without a fight. The state’s Public Utilities Commission considered requests Wednesday from solar company groups, homeowners, activists, and the state consumer advocate to put a stay on a rate hike that took effect January 1. The Republican-appointed Commission (PUC) in late December voted to increase a fixed monthly fee for solar customers by about 40 percent while simultaneously reducing the amount customers get paid for excess power they sell to the grid.

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There Are Now More Solar Jobs In America Than Oil Jobs

By Shane Ferro for The Huffington Post – Solar is the energy employer of the future — or at least that’s how the numbers look today. A new report on the state of the solar industry out Tuesday from the nonprofit Solar Foundation shows that the number of jobs in the United States in the solar industry outpaced those in the oil and gas industries for the first time ever. As of November 2015 there were almost 209,000 people who worked in the solar industry, 90 percent of whom only work on solar-related projects, according to the report. There were only about 185,000 people working in oil and gas in the United States in December 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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National Geographic: Blueprint For A Carbon-Free World

By Staff for Popular Resistance. National Georgraphic has published an interractive tool that allows you to search their data base of nations and determine the mix of renewabale energy they could have if the were to move to a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy.
National Geographic describes the project: “Mark Jacobson, a Stanford engineering professor, believes the world can eliminate fossil fuels and rely on 100 percent renewable energy. Following up on his state-by-state road map for the United States, he has now released data on plans for how 139 countries could wean themselves from coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power. For more coverage of Mark Jacobson’s 100 percent renewable plans,

For example, the mix for the United States would be:

– 30 percent onshore wind

– 17 percent off shore wind

– 24% solar plant

– 8% residential rooftop

– 7% commercial and government rooftop

– 7% concentrated solar

– 3% hydroplant

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Rebuilding The World: An Interview with Lester Brown

By Amitabh Pal for the Progressive. The two big issues we are facing are climate change and water shortages. Water shortages are more imminent. They’re here now. We suddenly look around and realize that water tables are falling everywhere: throughout the high plains of the United States, for instance, in the Ogallala Aquifer. This is a huge source of water, but it has already been pumped out in Texas-Oklahoma.

Much of the water used in the world comes from aquifers. There are thirty-seven major aquifers. More than twenty of them have no major recharge at all. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Over the last thirty years, numerous lakes and rivers have disappeared in the world, and that’s going to continue. Some of the larger rivers no longer make it to the sea, such as the Colorado River or the Yellow River. We’ve got to reshape the economy to make it much more water-efficient than it now is.

We know that there are already a number of countries that are running out of water. They’ve pumped their aquifers dry or they’re getting very close to it. This includes Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. And in India, water tables are falling everywhere. The question is: What happens when wells start to run dry?

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Newsletter: The Obvious Blinds Us, Unless The Truth Is Told

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance – It has been a busy two weeks since our last newsletter for #BlackLivesMatter, seeking climate justice, fair wages and stopping the TPP. We have been doing weekly newsletters since Occupy, last week we missed our first week as we were at the Localize This Action Camp of the Backbone Campaign. The reality of our times and of our history is that truth needs a messenger. Truths, especially difficult ones to face, do not become known on their own. Telling the hard to face truths is where movements begin; spreading that truth creates a national consensus for change and is the source for mobilizations that force essential transformations.

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Obama Administration Moves To Make Solar More Expensive

By Amy He for the China Daily – The US Commerce Department is imposing higher tariffs on Chinese solar products imported to the US marketplace.

Commerce had indicated that Chinese companies may be entitled to lower rates, but the decision announced on Wednesday to impose tariffs of 238.95 percent reverses that.

The department had conducted a review of whether solar manufacturing companies in China had received subsidies from the government between March 2012 and November 2013. Manufacturers now face anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rates of about 31 percent on products made in China. “The Department of Commerce chose against lowering the tax on solar imports. Keeping these stiff tariffs in place makes solar power less affordable, slows job growth and prevents more American homes, businesses and utilities from switching to clean solar energy,” Shah said in a statement released in response to the review’s results.

“Despite booming solar employment, economically counterproductive tariffs have artificially made solar panels prices in the United States the most expensive in the world. This decision does nothing to correct this imbalance,” Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energ added.

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