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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Getting Greener

This article says Las Vegas has become the largest city in the US to run solely on renewable energy (i.e. solar power). There's one caveat, however -- all those huge resorts on the strip are not in the city of Las Vegas. They are in Clark County, Nevada, which has not made the same green commitment. Still, anytime a sizable municipality gets its energy from the sun instead of coal or natural gas, it's a win for all of us.

Then you have mega-companies that are committing to renewables as a way to save a lot of money. For instance, Google announced last week that all of its global data centers will be fully powered by renewable energy sources later this year.

Meanwhile, there's a lot of investment in wind energy all over the country, and that's unlikely to stop under the Trump administration, says Justin Gillis:

For starters, when Mr. Trump gets to the White House, he will find that the federal government actually has relatively little control over American energy policy, and particularly over electricity generation. The coal industry has been ravaged in part by cheap natural gas, which is abundant because of technological changes in the way it is produced, and there is no lever in the Oval Office that Mr. Trump can pull to reverse that.

The intrinsically weak federal role was a source of frustration for Mr. Obama and his aides, but now it will work to the benefit of environmental advocates. They have already persuaded more than half the states to adopt mandates on renewable energy. Efforts to roll those back have largely failed, with the latest development coming only last week, when Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a Republican, vetoed a rollback bill.

The federal government does offer important subsidies for renewable energy, and they will surely become a target in the new Congress. But those subsidies are already scheduled to fall drastically over five years, in a deal cut a year ago that gave the oil industry some favors and that passed Congress with many Republican votes.

If Mr. Trump pushes for an early end to the subsidies, he will find that renewable energy has friends in the Republican Party. Topping that list is Charles E. Grassley, the senior senator from Iowa. That state — all-important in presidential politics, let us remember — will soon be getting 40 percent of its electricity from wind power.
Read Gillis' full piece here.