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Adam Browning's Posts

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Mark Ruffalo & One Hulking Solar Opportunity in NY

Actor Mark Ruffalo is taking a break from playing a big, green superhero in the movies to talking about something bigger and greener happening in New York: new solar policy. With rising electricity needs, plenty of sunshine, and a local workforce primed for jobs, New York has what it takes to lead the nation's solar economy. But the state's existing policies have installed just over 100 megawatts of solar to date. By comparison, their neighbors in New Jersey have more than six times that amount. After nearly three years of hard work - lawmakers in Albany are just steps away …

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Might and Maine: One state brings renewable power back to the people

Maine citizens are taking renewable power into their own hands.Photo: Matthew David PowellAs the Durban climate talks come to a disappointing (if predictable) close, Politico takes a look at prospects for federal action on energy issues and breaks the news that with a deadlocked Congress -- in a presidential election year -- no one should expect anything anytime soon. For anyone anxious for change, that’s not a pretty picture. And given the fact that a majority of Americans favor an international treaty to curb climate change, and even more want to see an increased investment in renewable energy, the lack …

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NY Times needs a time out

I recently turned 401.  But I didn't start feeling old until this weekend -- because that's when I started yelling at newspapers2. On Saturday, the New York Times published a lurid, sneering, over-the-top piece on renewable energy that was riddled with errors and really missed the forest for the trees.  We've prepared a document rebutting some of the incorrect assertions in the article. You can find it here. NRG, the owner of the solar plant at the heart of the story prepared a similar doc, here. And AWEA was out with a factcheck of their own, here.  Even Time is …

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Colorado to achieve 30% renewables 8 years early, ratepayer savings of $409 million

Advocates say that massive amounts of renewable energy are feasible and will save money in the long run. But how do we know that's true? Because that's exactly what's happening.  Let's take Colorado. The state has a 30 percent renewable energy requirement. How are things going? Xcel, the largest utility in the state, says it will meet that requirement in 2012 ... that's eight years earlier than required. OK, some may say, but isn't such a massive investment going to be painfully expensive? Actually, according to Xcel, investing in renewables is going to save money in the long run. They …

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Solar comes out of the shadows

Mainstream energy companies may finally be seeing the light when it comes to solar power.How do we know when solar becomes a mainstream energy source? One tip-off: when mainstream energy companies get serious about solar. For example, take NRG, a Fortune 250 wholesale energy generator with about 26 gigawatts of capacity in its portfolio. Most of that is coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear. That's the past. Going forward, as per a recent Platts article: About 85 percent of NRG Energy's committed investments for the next three years will go to solar projects, mainly for three utility-scale projects that have …

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Reports of the death of solar power are highly exaggerated

The solar company Solyndra recently filed for bankruptcy, which media reports have depicted as the end of solar power in the U.S. This is like saying there is no future for the internet because Netscape went out of business. The molar-grinding irony of it all is that Solyndra was the victim of a big success -- the price of solar power has fallen rapidly, making more expensive technologies like theirs uncompetitive, but more importantly, making solar power a real player in the U.S. energy economy. Since October of 2008, the average price of solar modules has fallen from $4.20 per …

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Asphalt to Ecosystems

Say you were abducted by aliens, flown around the galaxy, then finally dropped off in what appears to be an American town.  There’s not a soul about.  What kind of place is this? Are you among friends or are there going to be more of those ‘probes’?  Then you notice a school.  You walk closer.  There’s the flagpole, there’s the gym...and gardens.  Everywhere, gardens.  Green grass to play on, veggie plots bursting with abundance, trees providing shade. You know what you do at this point?  You relax.  A community that rips up asphalt and grows its kids in greenery is …

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Solar could help with that

A major heat wave is causing record demand in Texas--Monday set a record of 66,867 MW, and Tuesday is expected to set another.  As a result, the grid operator is asking that people help avoid blackouts by reducing electricity usage between 3 and 7 PM.  And as of 3:45 PM today, Texas paid $3000 MWh for wholesale electricity.  Yes, three dollars a kilowatt hour. May I suggest that solar could help with that?  A tracking system would generate very well during that time slot, at a thirtieth of the cost. What's more expensive than solar?  No solar.

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San Antonio utility 'floored' by low prices, increases order to 400 MW of solar

CPS, the municipal utility in San Antonio, Texas, is making a strong play for favorite utility of the year. The utility has a 14 MW plant up and running, contracts for another 3 plants of 10 MW each, and an an oversubscribed standard offer contract program for another 10 MW.  All pleasant experiences to date...so much so that earlier in the year, the utility went out to market with a request for offers for 50 MW of solar power. Here's where it gets good. The utility was "floored" by the low prices they saw...and so upped their order to 400 …

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Bachelorette contestant, Charlie Sheen add wattage to NYC solar campaign

The Bachelorette's Ryan Park. Photo: Karina Marchese of REC Solar What do GE, Charlie Sheen, and the most promising bachelor on The Bachelorette have in common? They all are playing a role in bringing solar to New York. The New York Solar Jobs Act is an effort to bring 5 gigawatts of solar to the state by 2025. It's the biggest solar campaign currently underway in the U.S., and GE is doing its part by joining a broad coalition of businesses supporting the effort. The global solar photovoltaic market is going strong -- it surged from $2.5 billion in 2000 …