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January 04, 2012

Energy News of Note

SolarHappy New Year! How about some good news on energy? First up, Think Progress has a great piece on how the recent Chesapeake Bay pollution safeguards announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would create more jobs than the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. From the blog post:

A new report released today by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation highlights the job creation numbers expected to come from achieving new pollution goals set by the EPA’s “Total Maximum Daily Load” restrictions. Finalized in December 2010, these rules require a 25 percent reduction of pollution flowing into the Bay by 2025 and have already spurred state and federal investment in stormwater mitigation projects, upgrades at sewage treatment facilities, addition of power plant smokestack scrubbers, and improvements to management of agricultural runoff and livestock waste management....

According to the Foundation’s report, environmental clean-up and monitoring jobs have increased by 43 percent — 42,000 jobs — over the last two decades in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia alone. Montgomery County, MD has begun work on a stormwater pollution control project that will create 3,300 jobs in that county alone. And these numbers don’t begin to account for the increase in employment opportunities and revenue for small businesses that depend on a healthy coastal ecosystem, from tourism to commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture.

Job killing? Nope.

Meanwhile, the American Wind Energy Association released its review of 2011, and the news is great. Some highlights:

-Both Iowa and South Dakota reached the important milestone of 20 percent of their electricity coming from wind power, a first for the U.S.

-According to the latest edition of the U.S. Department of Energy's "Wind Technologies Market Report," turbine prices decreased by as much as 33 percent or more between late 2008 and 2010.

-When more than 50 power plants totaling 7,000 MW unexpectedly went offline in Texas due to unusually cold weather early in the year, wind power was there to help stabilize the system and keep the lights on. Wind energy played a critical role in limiting the severity of the blackouts, providing enough electricity to keep the power on for about three million typical households.

In two short solar power news hits: Fort Bliss, a U.S. Army base in Texas, will install a solar energy system expected to save $39 million over the next 24 years. And an elementray school in Clinton, Tenn., will install solar panels that will generate $118,000 in electricity every year.

Got any other good clean energy news to share? Post it in the comments!


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