I winced yesterday when James Gavin, chair of the Partnership for a Healthier America, said he’d like to see Walmart double its U.S. store count. He was speaking at Michelle Obama’s event announcing that several retailers will open stores in “food deserts.” It was a sort of half-jokey remark, but, still, in a conversation about food in America, the suggestion that Walmart should have an even bigger role in our food system is pretty disturbing. This is a company that already captures 25 percent of grocery sales nationally and more than 50 percent in some metro areas. Continue reading
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The Golden State has covered over 50,000 roofs with solar PV in the past decade, but could it also save 30% or more on its current solar costs? It turns out switching energy policies could save ratepayers billions.
If 2011 is a banner year and the state sees 1 gigawatt (GW) of installed capacity, the savings to ratepayers of a CLEAN program (over 20 years) would be nearly $3 billion.
A serialized version of our new report, Democratizing the Electricity System, Part 5 of 5. Click here for: Part 1 (The Electric System: Inflection Point) Part 2 (The Economics of Distributed Generation) Part 3 (The Political and Technical Advantages of Distributed Generation) Part 4 (Regulatory Roadblocks to Democratizing the Electricity System) Download the report. The… Continue reading
Energy policy matters, a lot. The Germans have a comprehensive feed-in tariff, providing CLEAN contracts to anyone who wants to go solar (or wind, or biogas, etc). The U.S. has a hodge-podge of utility, state and federal tax-based incentives. What does that mean?
Much cheaper German solar. In fact, it’s like having your favorite craft or microbrew beer at a price that beats Budweiser. From a study of U.S. solar prices reported in Renewables International:
Perhaps most surprisingly, the study found that the planned arrays larger than one megawatt have an average installed price of $4.50 per watt, with only a third of the systems in the pipeline coming in at prices below four dollars per watt. As Renewables International reported in January, the installed system price of photovoltaics in the US was easily 60 percent above the level in Germany in 2010 for equivalent system sizes (arrays smaller than 100 kilowatts).
Here’s a chart illustrating that cost differential, with the German prices updated for the 2nd quarter of 2011.
If the German solar prices are wunderbar, that makes the U.S. “furchtbar.”
A recently released solar map of New York City found enough room for solar panels on building rooftops to power half the city during hours of peak electricity use. And the city is not alone. Almost 60 million Americans live in areas where solar prices are competitive with retail electricity costs, and this kind of… Continue reading
Senior Researcher John Farrell presented on the benefits of local clean energy to a crowd in Boulder, CO, in April 2011 at the invitation of the local organization Clean Energy Action. The city of Boulder is currently considering municipalization of its utility. Continue reading
WI Public Service Commission schedules Two Wisconsin EIS Scoping Meetings (CapX2020)
July 14 in Cochrane, WI
Original date: June 15, 2011
The Baraboo Town Board opposes plans for 150-foot-tall, high-voltage electrical towers marching past the town and over the Baraboo Bluffs.
Original date: June 19, 2011
Thousands of area homeowners could someday see more of power lines. That’s if the American Transmission Company gets approval from the state Public Service Commission to build a massive power line through western Wisconsin.
People in the La Crosse area got to voice their opinion today about the American Transmission Company’s (ATC) proposed Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project. Some people don’t want the lines to cut through their backyard.