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Stephen Lacey's Posts

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Kind of a big deal: $1.6 billion coming for energy efficiency projects

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. Two separate initiatives formed this week that could unlock more than $1.6 billion in private investment for energy efficiency projects around the U.S. Yesterday at the Clinton Global Initiative, two of the largest U.S. pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTERS, announced that they would invest $1 billion toward energy efficiency projects. This follows a June announcement at the Clinton Global Initiative, where the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers announced a similar goal that has already resulted in over $150 million in investment. In making the announcement yesterday afternoon, former president Bill Clinton explained, "This is …

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Over 100,000 Americans work in solar industry

A worker installs solar panels for the Oregon Department of Transportation.Photo: Oregon DOT Cross-posted from Climate Progress. This Thursday, Republicans in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are holding a hearing called "How Obama's Green Energy Agenda is Killing Jobs." Could they make their ideological opposition to clean energy any more clear? The Solyndra bankruptcy and subsequent layoff of 1,100 workers has given opponents a platform to rail on green jobs as some kind of fantasy -- even when the evidence suggests otherwise. Case in point: There are now 100,237 jobs in the American solar industry, according to preliminary …

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Obama proposes cutting oil and gas subsidies to fund jobs plan

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. Just when it seemed like the debate about repealing oil and gas subsidies had faded away, President Obama gave the issue new life. Speaking at the White House yesterday, Obama proposed cutting certain tax credits to profitable oil and gas companies to pay for part of his $467 billion job-creation package. "The bottom line is, when it comes to strengthening the economy and balancing our books, we've got to decide what our priorities are," he said, speaking in the White House Rose Garden. "Do we keep tax loopholes for oil companies, or do we put teachers …

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Bush admin pushed Solyndra loan guarantee for two years

Solyndra had backers on both sides of the aisle.Photo: John Martinez PavligaCross-posted from Climate Progress and coauthored by Richard Caperton. It's often claimed that the Solyndra loan guarantee was "rushed through" by the Obama administration for political reasons. In fact, the Solyndra loan guarantee was a multi-year process that the Bush administration launched in 2007. You'd never know from the media coverage that: The Bush team tried to conditionally approve the Solyndra loan just before President Obama took office. The company's backers included private investors who had diverse political interests. The loan comprises just 1.3 percent of the Department of …

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Reinventing fire: five ways to save our energy-hogging economy

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. We almost got away with it: Before America's comprehensive climate and energy bill turned into a devastating failure in 2010, the U.S. seemed to be on the verge of having an energy plan based on a sustainable vision for the future. But today, with "climate," "clean energy investment," and "green jobs" being dirty words to one major political power, we've moved further away from that goal than ever. That's why the Rocky Mountain Institute's (RMI) recent project, "Reinventing Fire" -- a peer-reviewed, commercially-viable vision for the future of energy -- should help inform the future conversation …

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U.S. solar projects boom as PV prices keep falling

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. With solar module prices falling closer to the $1-a-watt threshold, many manufacturers are struggling to keep their heads above water. But project developers are doing quite swimmingly. The continued decreases in panel prices are causing a boom in commercial-scale development throughout the U.S. According to analysis from Solarbuzz, the non-residential project pipeline has increased from 17,000 megawatts (MW) to 24,000 MW in just two months. Those figures include projects in all stages of development, so it doesn't necessarily mean they'll get built. But activity is increasing at an very rapid rate. According to a 2010 analysis …

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Chinese cheaters? How China dominates solar

Solar panel outside Beijing.Photo: Philip McMasterCross-posted from Climate Progress. Armed with tens of billions in loans from the Chinese government, Chinese solar companies have scaled at a rate unthinkable only a few years ago. At the end of this year, there will likely be 50,000 megawatts (MW) of manufacturing capacity in place around the world, with much of that new capacity being developed in China and other Asian countries. (In the year 2000, there were only 100 MW of production capacity worldwide.) In four years, the solar manufacturing sector shifted from being led by a geographically dispersed number of companies …

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Chris Christie met with Koch brother before pulling out of climate pact

Chris Christie has been palling around with the Kochs.Photo: Bob JagendorfIn late May, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced he was pulling his state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), explaining that it was "not working." Now a stunning tape of a secret meeting between Christie and David Koch sheds light on the governor's inexplicable decision to abandon a program that was not only cutting pollution, but was funding clean energy and, as it turns out, reducing New Jersey's budget gap. Here's part of the transcript, as reported by Mother Jones and The BRAD BLOG: David Koch, …

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Rick Perry: The EPA 'won't know what hit 'em'

Rick Perry.Photo: Gage SkidmoreCross-posted from Climate Progress. Speaking at a campaign stop in his home state Monday, Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry announced his intentions to make the Environmental Protection Agency unapologetically pro-pollution. His remarks were reported by the Houston Chronicle: "I'll tell you one thing: The EPA officials we have an opportunity to put in place, they're going to be pro-business, and there's not going to be any apologies to anybody about it," he said. "Those agencies won't know what hit ‘em." It's not hard to see why Perry would want environmental regulations to be crafted by polluters, …

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Solar stunner: U.S. exports almost $2 billion of solar products

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. With all the stories about China dominating the solar photovoltaics (PV) manufacturing sector, you might not think that America is a net exporter of solar products. But it is -- to the tune of $1.8 billion. That's a $1 billion increase over net exports documented in the solar sector last year. In fact, a report released this morning from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) found that the U.S. has a $247 million trade surplus with China. U.S. imports in 2010 were estimated at $1.4 billion, while exports were estimated to be between …