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U.S. Reduces Investments in Overseas Coal Plants

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Feb 23, 2015 3:42:00 PM

To comply with President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, U.S. agencies are withdrawing support for coal-fired plants in foreign countries. But will Congress thwart this progress?

THE U.S. GOVERNMENT has provided essential financing for major infrastructure in foreign countries for decades, including coal-fired power plants and other fossil energy projects. Most of these investments have flowed through one of two federal agencies: the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which invests to boost development in poor countries, or the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), which provides financing for projects that will create demand for U.S. exports. The aggregate emissions from projects funded by these agencies have been significant: according to an analysis by Greenpeace, they produced 8 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions in the period from 1990 to 2003.

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Solar's Rise Trumps Politics

Posted by Matt Power

Aug 12, 2014 8:10:00 AM

Now that innovation and information have gone global, big oil and big government won’t be able to stifle the coming of the Solar Age.

WHEN I FIRST STARTED WRITING ABOUT HOMEBUILDING, back in 1991, the magazine I was eventually to lead, Custom Builder, had been through a series of upheavals. What started as Solar Age morphed into Progressive Builder morphed into Custom Builder. It wasn’t simply changes in ownership that led the edtiorial drift from renewable energy to homes for the most affluent. It was politics and economics.

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Norway’s One Percent

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Apr 29, 2014 12:20:25 PM

Electric vehicles (EVs) are taking Norway by storm. After a banner year in 2013, nearly one percent of all the vehicles on Norwegian roads are now EVs, a far higher percentage than in the U.S. Since September of last year, one EV model or another has topped Norwegian monthly sales several times, and last November, EVs surpassed 12 percent of all vehicles sold during the month. The brisk sales have continued into this year.

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Three More States Tweak Energy Codes

Posted by Mike Collignon

Apr 29, 2014 12:02:19 PM

MINNESOTA
Energy Code Information: The state’s Construction Code Advisory Council approved a draft energy code based on the 2012 IECC. It then moved to a review by the state’s Department of Labor and Industry. A public comment period was held earlier this year, though the state first has to work through the issue of residential sprinklers. Once they finally get to the energy code discussion, they will review the following amendments proposed to both the commercial and residential codes:

Commercial: The IECC commissioning requirements were incorporated into ASHRAE 90.1-2010, so there is consistency between the code and standard.

Residential: Wall insulation R-value is R-21 for the prescriptive table, while the U-value table remains the same as it was. Ventilation requirements have been increased to balanced ventilation (cannot use exhaust or supply).Two options for basement wall insulation: R-15 continuous or R-10 exterior insulation; however, 2.5 ACH50 must be proven.Elements to ensure basement walls are waterproofed, which helps mitigate moisture damage.
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London Calling: The U.K.’s Distributed Energy Revolution

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Apr 7, 2014 12:51:35 PM

Last fall, at a Conservative Party conference in the United Kingdom, Greg Barker, a Conservative Member of Parliament and the country’s Energy & Climate Change Minister, called for a revolution. “I want to unleash a completely new model of competition and enterprise,” he said. “I want to encourage a vast new army of disruptive new energy players to challenge the Big Six [U.K. energy suppliers] …A decentralized power-to-the-people energy revolution—not just a few exemplars, but tens of thousands of them. The Big Six need to become the Big 60,000.”

What an invigorating call to action and inspiring vision of the future! Tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the U.K., each generating its own power and sharing excess with the grid. It’s a compelling idea, one made all the more remarkable by the fact that it’s not really new. In fact, one might call decentralized—or distributed—power the oldest idea in the energy business.

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