Thursday, March 13, 2014 News

This Week's News, March 13th

by Andy Hollis

The solar industry had a banner year in 2013 growing its U.S. market by 41%.

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Both of South Carolina’s neighboring states, Georgia (#7) and North Carolina (#3), now find themselves ranked in the top ten states nationally for installed solar.

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The ongoing coal ash controversy in North Carolina is additional motivation for South Carolina to feel some urgency in charting its clean energy future. Although our state is ahead of the curve in addressing coal ash problems, we have fallen behind the curve in allowing clean energy resources like solar to be successful.

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The operator of our nation’s largest electric grid, PJM Interconnection, has concluded that up to 30% of its power could come from solar and wind without posing any significant challenges to grid operations. In addition, a study prepared for PJM estimates that this level of renewable capacity would lower average energy prices for customers, significantly reduce carbon emissions, and necessitate only a small amount of additional power to balance renewable intermittency.

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The Obama Administration took another step towards oil and gas development off the South Carolina coast with last week’s release of a final draft for rules pertaining to exploration activities. Despite substantial public opposition and a litany of negative environmental impacts to wildlife, the Administration appears poised to move forward.

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The International Energy Agency estimates that energy efficiency gains since 1974 are responsible for offsetting the equivalent of two-thirds of our current energy demand each year. That’s nearly equal to the world’s combined annual output of oil, gas, and coal.

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The National Academy of Sciences has released a new publication on the science of climate change. Climate Change: Evidence & Causes was designed for readability and access by general audiences and includes an up-to-date overview of what the best science is telling us about our changing climate.

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