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Solar powerThe good people at the League of Conservation Voters have highlighted a couple of encouraging stories this morning in their weekly newsletter about the rapid progress occurring in the solar energy business (even as the fossil fuel industry and their paid helpers in government and the conservative think tanks do their utmost to stop it).

#1 – Environomics: Solar Jobs Leave Fracking in the Dust

The solar energy industry in NC already produces nearly eight times the number of jobs that fracking supporters predict their risky enterprise will create in our state — and unlike the fracking will-‘o-the-wisp, these real solar jobs are climbing fast. That’s 3,100 jobs and rising.

We’re already fourth in the nation in solar electric generating in the US, and half of that capacity was built just in the last year. And that power and jobs production from solar in NC will keep climbing—so long as legislators and regulators don’t listen to anti-renewable energy lobbyists and ideologues and do something stupid like throwing out the existing policies that are creating the solar boom here.

A few years ago, the big power companies’ trade association mocked solar energy with an ad using the Annie musical song, “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow”. In case they hadn’t noticed it, tomorrow is here, baby. More here.

#2 Around the Globe: Germany Makes Solar Breakthrough

For another stake in the heart of the myth that renewables can’t produce enough power to make a difference, here’s the latest from Germany. As of last month, that major industrialized nation produced a full half of its summer-day electric generation from solar power.

Not only that, but 90% of Germany’s solar generation is coming from rooftop installations rather than big solar farms. That kind of evidence should be enough to make folks over at the N.C. Utilities Commission re-think the stakes involved in the ongoing cases over rates to be paid for solar electricity.

Read the details about Germany’s recent solar electric production records here.

Lunch links 2

It’s only Tuesday but another week of obstruction and political hostage-taking by American conservatives is well underway. As I noted in last Wednesday’s Weekly Briefing column on the far right’s nullification/secession movement, however, there’s a heck of a lot more than just the Affordable Care Act these folks want to repeal. Ari Berman at The Nation has more on this subject in a new article published online today.

And speaking of obstructionism, conservatives in the U.S. Senate continue to block numerous qualified individuals from even receiving up or down votes on their nominations by the President – whether it’s half-year long blockade on Congressman Mel Watt’s nomination to serve as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency , Richard Burr’s stonewalling of Jennifer May-Parker’s nomination to serve as a federal judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina or the ongoing filibuster to prevent three highly-qualified Obama nominees from serving on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Happily, Senate Majority Leader Reid has filed a cloture petition on the filibuster of D.C. Circuit nominee Patricia Millett. Let’s hope it works.  

And speaking of maddening delays of the kind that would make cable providers proud, Read More

The far right is pushing an ideologically-driven scheme to repeal North Carolina’s very modest 2007 renewable energy law just as it’s really starting to make a difference in jump-starting a homegrown sustainable energy sector. This morning’s Wilmington Star-News explains why backtracking would be big mistake:

“Why would a state intentionally limit its potential for economic growth? That was the probable result of a bill to eliminate a renewable-energy requirement that is nurturing the growing alternative-energy industry in North Carolina. Fortunately, some lawmakers in Raleigh apparently realize the damage the bill could do and have put the brakes on it, for now….

At a time when China and other nations are investing more in alternative energy sources and when demand for renewables is increasing, our state should not reject this currently small but thriving industry. If our leaders continually dwell in the present with no vision for the future, the result will be economic stagnation. Read More

AP reports some very encouraging news from Germany this morning – see below. Now, if the U.S. could just get over its own ridiculous addiction to fossil fuels and move aggressively in this direction, the planet might really be getting somewhere.

BERLIN (AP) — The production of renewable energies in Germany is expected to grow faster than the government’s forecast and account for almost half of the country’s electricity within a decade, a top official said Monday. Read More

Uncategorized

Economist Dean Baker takes confused New York Times columnist David Brooks to the woodshed this morning for his partisan and inaccurate attack on clean energy and global warming.

Brooks tries to attack the Obama administration for its investments in green energy and then, as “evidence” that the investments have “failed,” states that there’s an oversupply of solar panels and that their price has fallen dramatically.

But, as Baker notes, that was one of the main objectives!

“Wow, what a disaster! Prices of solar panels have fallen by three quarters in 4 years. Those people in the Obama administration must feel really stupid. They thought their clean energy program would make alternative energy competitive, but look now, prices of solar panels fell by 75 percent in four years. Read More