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Stephen Lacey's Posts

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China set to surpass U.S. in solar installation

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. With European solar markets in decline, the industry is looking for the next hot solar region. Even with political troubles in the U.S., companies still see America as a good long-term bet. (And let's remember, Europe's slowdown doesn't mean the region is going to stop being a major player.) But analysts now see the Asia Pacific solar market as the Next Big Thing, driven largely by growing domestic demand in China. For the first time this year, China may surpass the U.S. market, according to analysis from NDP Solarbuzz. Historically, that country has been a supplier …

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Will Bill O’Reilly live up to his word and go solar?

Time for O'Reilly to put his money where his mouth is.Photo: Justin HochCross-posted from Climate Progress. Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly likes to say he operates in a "no spin zone." So when O'Reilly proclaimed recently that he wanted to install solar panels on his Long Island home, dozens of solar companies in New York took him at his word. Speaking on his show to Alan Colmes last week, O'Reilly said he was ready to buy a solar system, but that he couldn't find anyone in the area to do it: "There's nowhere, no one," he exclaimed. Well, his predicament …

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Cap-and-trade program fuels economic growth in Northeast

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. A new report finds that America's first mandatory, market-based carbon cap-and-trade system added $1.6 billion in value to the economies of participating states, set the stage for $1.1 billion in ratepayer savings, and created 16,000 jobs in its first three years of implementation. Says Susan Tierney, managing principal at the Analysis Group, which produced the report: We tracked the dollars spent, and RGGI [the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative] generates greater economic growth in every one of the 10 states that participate in RGGI than would occur without a carbon price. The states' auction of the CO2 …

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Wind electricity to be fully competitive with natural gas by 2016

Photo: Vlasta JuricekCross-posted from Climate Progress. The best wind farms in the world are already competitive with coal, gas, and nuclear plants. But over the next five years, continued performance improvements and cost reductions will bring the average onshore wind plant in line with cheap natural gas, even without a price on carbon, according to analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). After analyzing the cost curve for wind projects since the mid-1980s, BNEF researchers showed that the cost of wind-generated electricity has fallen 14 percent for every doubling of installation capacity. These cost reductions are due to a number …

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Polling reveals that being anti-clean energy is bad politics

Perry wants to end all energy subsidies. Photo: Gage SkidmoreCross-posted from Climate Progress. Anyone who cares about addressing climate change and strengthening America's economic competitiveness knows that being anti-renewable energy is terrible policy. Turns out, it's bad politics too. A new poll conducted by ORC International for the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute finds that 77 percent of Americans -- including 65 percent of Republicans surveyed -- believe "the U.S. needs to be a clean energy technology leader and it should invest in the research and domestic manufacturing of wind, solar, and energy efficiency technologies." The poll found that Americans support …

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Texas toast: State’s drought-crippled ag market has global impact

Lakeview Park, Texas.Photo: dasrooflessCross-posted from Climate Progress. In August, agronomists showed that the historic drought in Texas had caused a stunning $5.3 billion in losses in the agricultural sector. Two months later, even with some rain finally coming to the state, Texas farmers are being crippled by a drought that could stretch beyond next summer. As the economic losses pile up, they are having an impact on global commodities like cotton and beef -- stretching this crisis well beyond the state of Texas, and showing just how "global" the problem of global warming truly is. Kate Galbraith reported on the …

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Rep. Cliff Stearns doesn’t understand how government subsidies work

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.)Photo: Republican ConferenceCross-posted from Climate Progress. So far this week, four of the world's top five oil companies have announced more than $24 billion in third quarter profits. And by the logic of Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), that should mean those oil companies deserve more subsidies, not less. Speaking at a town hall meeting Oct. 22 in his home state of Florida, Stearns displayed a very sketchy grasp on how subsidies should work, explaining to Climate Progress that incentives should be given to mature companies, not early-stage companies. "When somebody is successful, then you give them the …

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Which are cheaper — tradeable credits or feed-in tariffs?

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. A few years ago, a heated debate started within the U.S. solar industry about which was more cost-effective: solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) or feed-in tariffs (FITs). Now that we've had more experience with both policies, the question is again being asked. Researchers at the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) attempted to answer this question, and released a report earlier this month concluding that long-term contracts for clean energy are more cost-competitive than tradeable credit markets. (Note: Some are now calling FITs "CLEAN Contracts." We'll use both terms in this post.) So what does that …

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Romney attacks green jobs, ignoring the 64,000 created in his state

Mitt Romney's facts are illusory -- not green jobs.Photo: World Affairs Council of PhiladelphiaCross-posted from Climate Progress. Former Massachusetts governor and presidential front-runner Mitt Romney -- once a candidate who stood up to coal and supported clean energy -- is now calling green jobs fake. In an op-ed in the Orange County Register published Monday, Romney regurgitates GOP talking points on loan guarantees to Solyndra and Fisker Automotive, two stories that have turned leading conservative politicians and media pundits into a pack of scandalmongers -- even while many of those politicians supported the same government investments for companies in their …

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Colbert v. Browner: Former chief defends the EPA against truthiness

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. In Wednesday night's interview with former EPA Administrator Carol Browner, Stephen Colbert came out swinging with a line straight out of the Republican playbook: The EPA is useless. That is an indisputable fact ... We protected the air and the water. We cleaned it up. Now you're just rubbing it in our faces by continuing to keep it clean. Colbert gave Browner, a Center for American Progress senior fellow, the chance to defend the EPA, who explained why regulations create more economic opportunity. Ultimately, Colbert came up with his own solution -- describing why pollution is …