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February 01, 2013

The Latest Great Clean Energy News

WindClean energy and clean air lovers hooted and hollered yesterday when the American Wind Energy Association announced some outstanding 2012 wind power statistics - namely this one:

Wind was the top new energy source to come online in 2012.

The U.S. wind energy industry installed a record 13,124 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity in 2012, which brings the total wind power in the U.S. to 60,007 MW. AWEA says that's enough to "power the equivalent of almost 15 million homes, or the number in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio combined."

See more of the awesome stats and numbers in their 2012 report.

But there's other good clean energy news that came out this week, so I thought I'd highlight a few good ones. The Bloomberg New Energy Finance Report revealed this week that "(r)enewable-energy capacity in the U.S. almost doubled from 2009 to 2012, helping reduce the nation's carbon-dioxide emissions last year to the lowest since 1994..."

Meanwhile, our friends at the Center for American Progress took a great look at the potential for offshore wind along the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. and what needs to be done to get those turbines spinning.

In other wind power news, a prototype deep-sea wind turbine is headed for Castine Bay in Maine. The turbine was designed and developed by the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine and is a test of small scale wind power:
The testing of a small-scale wind tower in Castine is the second phase of a five-phase plan (they hope) will end with the implementation of full-scale offshore wind farms about 20 miles off Maine's coast.
Universities leading the way in clean energy technology - what a great way for students to be part of a cutting edge industry!

In solar power news, one New Orleans school is showing off its new solar panels just ahead of the Super Bowl. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology in the Lower 9th Ward will unveil its solar installion project today, followed by a panel discussion with installer NRG, an economist, and Saints' QB Drew Brees. NRG is working with the San Francisco 49ers to install solar panels on their stadium and hopes to get solar power on every football stadium in the U.S.

And if football isn't your type of entertainment, how about comedy? Comedian Sarah Silverman is standing up for solar power by helping her solar-power-entreprenear-brother-in-law (need more hyphens?) with his indiegogo project. If you support his plan to get solar power installed on a tiny island, you could end up Skyping with Silverman. Details:
San Cristobal, the easternmost island in the Galapagos archipelago, currently derives almost all of its power from diesel fuel, which is both expensive and potentially harmful to the delicate environment. To deal with the problem, Yosef Abramowitz's company Energiya Global plans to build a 300-kilowatt solar field to mitigate the island's dependence on the polluting fossil fuel. But given the small-scale of the project, reaching out to investors isn't an option. Enter indiegogo crowd sourcing.
You could get signed photos of Silverman, but the one person who donates five grand will get to Skype with her. Not bad!

In non-celebrity solar news, Hawaii solar power advocates are greeting with open arms the state's huge rush for rooftop solar. Just look at how much the state loves it: "In 2012, as many permits for new solar units were issued on the island of Oahu alone as in the entire state over the last decade."

A new partnership is allowing homeowners and utilities to move even faster in getting panels on roofs and that solar power onto the state's grid.

If I missed any great clean energy news, do share in the comments!

-- Heather Moyer, Sierra Club

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