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February 16, 2012

Clean Energy, Here and There

Photo from ewea

Today's clean-energy news had everyone looking across the pond and admiring what's going on there. Despite the world's ongoing economic problems, clean energy had a fantastic 2011 in Europe, representing 70 percent of new energy capacity. "That's almost a 10-fold increase over deployment in 2000, when only 3.5 GW of renewable energy projects were installed. Last year, 32 GW of renewables -- mostly wind and solar -- were deployed across European countries," writes ThinkProgress.  

"Representing 21.4% of new power capacity, wind energy installations in 2011 were very similar to the previous year's 9,648 MW. The wind industry has had an average annual growth of 15.6% over the last 17 years," according to the European Wind Energy Association. The continent is on pace to reaching 34 percent renewable by 2020 with almost all countries exceeding 2020 goals.

Meanwhile back in the states, Massachusetts gave us something to cheer about this week. Two energy companies, Northeast Utilities and NStar, hopped onto the offshore-wind boat by agreeing to purchase more than a quarter of the energy that's slated to come out of the Cape Wind offshore wind farm, a project that is expected to provide for up to a half-million homes. Unlike Europe, the U.S. has yet to connect any offshore wind turbines to the grid. This announcement is a big boost for an industry that has yet to produce electricity despite its massive potential, especially along the Eastern Seaboard.

-- Brian Foley/photo: European Wind Energy Association

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