America’s Solar Boom, in Charts

Here are some great numbers and news about the solar growth in the U.S.! Spread the word that we need to grow solar in N.C. one rooftop at a time to protect our water, air, land and our health!

Here Comes the Sun: America’s Solar Boom, in Charts
It’s been a bit player, but solar power is about to shine.

Tim McDonnell
Nov. 7, 2014

Last week, an energy analyst at Deutsche Bank came to a startling conclusion: By 2016, solar power will be as cheap or cheaper than electricity from the conventional grid in every state except three. That’s without any changes to existing policy. In other words, we’re only a few years away from the point where, in most of the United States, there will be no economic reason not to go solar. If you care about slowing climate change or just moving toward cleaner energy, that is a huge deal.

And solar energy is already going gangbusters. In the past decade, the amount of solar power produced in the United States has leaped 139,000 percent. A number of factors are behind the boom: Cheaper panels and a raft of local and state incentives, plus a federal tax credit that shaves 30 percent off the cost of upgrading.

Still, solar is a bit player, providing less than half of 1 percent of the energy produced in the United States. But its potential is massive—it could power the entire country 100 times over.

So what’s the holdup? A few obstacles: pushback from old-energy diehards, competition with other efficient energy sources, and the challenges of power storage and transmission. But with solar in the Southwest already at “grid parity”—meaning it costs the same or less as electricity from conventional sources—Wall Street is starting to see solar as a sound bet. As a recent Citigroup investment report put it, “Our viewpoint is that solar is here to stay.”

Some numbers that tell the story:

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installation graph

 

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countries graph
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Sources

Solar growth: Solar Energy Industries Association

New solar installations: SEIA

Sunlight: Sandia National Lab, Energy Information Administration/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Electricity generating capacity: SEIA

Carbon savings, electricity demand: SEIA, EIA/NREL

Installed PV capacity: International Energy Agency

Solar jobs: The Solar Foundation, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Solar panels on a typical house: NREL

Panel cost, VC funding: Greenpeace; Mercom Capital Group (2013 & 2014)

 

Image credits: Shutterstock (Earth, USA); Maurizio Fusillo/Noun Project (solar panel); Okan Benn/Noun Project (car); Q. Li/Noun Project (chart); Sergey Krivoy/Noun Project (coal trolley); Marcio Duarte/Noun Project (worker); Alex Berkowitz/Noun Project (cash)  

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/11/solar-energy-power-boom-charts

Make Duke Energy Pay

Isn’t it time to make Duke Energy pay? Would you like to to make Duke pay to help you save money, energy and protect our air, water and health? You betcha’!!!

Duke Energy is required by law to offer Energy Efficiency (EE) programs to rate payers. Image if everyone took advantage of these offers and cut our energy use by qt least 20%! We could avoid paying for expensive new power plants, decrease our Mountain Top Removal coal use, save tons of water, and clean up our air and water. 

I just place my order for 3 types of bulbs:

2 x Philips PAR20 Flood – Retail $22.95, Store price $17.95, Duke incentive $7.00 = My cost $10.95

10 x TCP G25 Globe – Retail $5.50, Store price $3.00, Duke incentive $1.70 = My cost $1.30

15X CREE LED A Lamp 9.5W – Retail $9.97, Store price $9.87, Duke incentive $7.00 = My cost $2.97

Total retail cost $250.45, My cost $79.45 (plus zero tax and free shipping!)

And I plan to make Duke Energy pay more!

Here are some of the Energy Efficiency programs that Duke Energy is offering (click on images for more information).

Home Energy House Call

Make Duke pay for a $180 home energy assessment – check your home for air leaks, examine your insulation levels, check your appliances and more. Plus you’ll get a free energy efficiency starter kit (free CFLs, showerhead and more), valued at $30, to help you start saving right away.

Duke EE House Call

LED Lightbulbs

Make Duke pay you to replace even your CFLs with LEDs – see the chart below about why this is a good idea and how to select your bulbs.

Duke EE Lightbulbs

Duke EE LED bulbs

LED vs CFL vs Incandescent Bulbs

LED vs CFL vs Incandescent Bulbs

Appliance Recycling

Make Duke pay you $50 to pick up and recycle your outdated, energy hog old frig!

Duke EE Appliance Recycling

 Smart $aver

The  home improvement rebate programs help you make your home more comfortable. You can improve the air quality in your home, fix uneven temperature spots and make sure your equipment is running efficiently. These changes help you reduce your energy usage and save on your monthly bill!

Make Duke Energy pay you to save energy, save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Duke EE Smart Saver

Duke EE Smart Saver List

Save Energy and Money Programs and Information

Get a free customized report that will show you how your home uses energy — and other specific recommendations to reduce your energy use. Get answers to your energy questions and learn how to make simple low cost changes that result in big savings.

Duke EE Save Energy and Money

If you are a formewr Progress Energy customers there are similar but sightly different programs. Check the Duke Energy website for details.

Make Polluters Pay for Their Toxic Waste!

Take Action: Polluters Must Pay for Superfund Sites Take Action: Polluters Must Pay for Superfund SitesCongress enacted the Superfund toxic waste cleanup program in 1980, following the discovery of toxic waste seeping into homes and harming health in Love Canal, New York. Even though the Superfund program has been responsible for the cleanup of hundreds of toxic waste sites, more than a thousand sites continue to threaten health and water.

When the polluter pays fees stopped in 1995, the Trust Fund quickly dried up — leaving taxpayers to pay the full cost of cleaning up abandoned Superfund sites.

Take Action
Contact your senators today and tell them to support the Superfund Polluter Pays Restoration Act of 2014 (S 2679) to make polluters pay for their toxic waste!


Take Action: No More Coal Ash Disasters Take Action: No More Coal Ash Disasters

Coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal for electricity, is one of the largest waste streams in the country, with nearly 140 million tons produced each year. This toxic waste, which contains dangerous chemicals like arsenic, mercury, chromium, selenium, lead, and boron, is stored in more than 400 landfills and over 1,000 wet impoundments across the country. Yet currently no federal safeguards exist to protect communities and waterways from coal ash pollution.

Take Action
Tell your state legislators to support the EPA on finalizing strong coal ash safeguards by the end of this year.

The Dan River coal ash spill. Photo by Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins.


Sign Up: Our Wild America Sign Up: Our Wild America

Sign up for our monthly Our Wild America newsletter to get the inside scoop about the Sierra Club’s work to explore, enjoy, and protect America’s wild legacy.

Stay up-to-date on the challenges facing our public lands and wildlife (especially in the face of climate disruption), follow what the Sierra Club is doing to connect people with nature, and learn what actions you can take to help protect our great outdoors.

Sign up today.


Grassroots Activism: Keep the People's Climate March Momentum Going! Grassroots Activism: Keep the People’s Climate March Momentum Going!

It’s been a week since more than 400,000 people marched in NYC for climate action (and in many other cities across the U.S. and world), but you can still take action!

Take Action
Tell the Environmental Protection Agency you support the Clean Power Plan.

“We Don’t Want Your Pipeline” By Robin and Linda Williams

Opposition to the Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline is growing…

“We Don’t Want Your Pipeline” By Robin and Linda Williams
Protest Song about proposed Dominion Gas Pipeline coming through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
Robin and Linda Williams (copyright 2014)
Video from Richard Adams
http://www.augustacountyalliance.org

From Robin and Linda’s newsletter of Oct 5:

We’re involved in some local opposition to a proposed natural gas pipeline that wants to come through our county and run on down to North Carolina. There are some local issues involved: property rights, Eminent Domain, fragile karst geology and water contamination, and the fact that they want to come through the George Washington National Forest. But, after studying the arguments pro and con, and realizing that each side likes to use scare tactics and smoke screens, we’ve come to believe that the central issue is Climate Change and that it’s a real and immediate problem. Everyone has their own opinion on this issue and ours is that Dominion Power is wrong in wanting to spend five and a half billion dollars on carbon based energy when that money, with the future in mind, could be used more wisely on renewable alternatives. So we’re acting locally in opposing this pipeline. And we’ll try and not “screed” you on any more of our missives.

Robin and Linda, thanks for speaking out and singing out on this issue!

Duke Dominion Pipeline Map

October 3, 2014 3:00 pm

Augusta County musicians Robin and Linda Williams have penned a new protest song aimed at the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The Williams are among the local property owners vocally opposed to the proposal to build a 550-mile natural gas line to North Carolina by way of Virginia.

This week, five Nelson County residents filed suit contesting Dominion Resource’s authority to conduct land surveys on their property for the project.

Dominion  lead company behind the pipeline proposal said it’s been following the law and will continue to do so.

The Williams’ video, “We Don’t Want Your Pipeline,” was promoted online by local grassroots groups springing up to fight the pipeline, including the Friends of Nelson and Free Nelson.

At one point, the clip references 2008′s fiery rupture of a Williams gas company pipeline in Appomattox County. That explosion injured five people and destroyed two homes.

“The sinkholes, explosions and gas line leaks, you hear it on the news almost every week,” Robin Williams sings while strumming a guitar. “Dominion says, don’t worry. But it ain’t wise to be flirting with disaster with their pipeline.”

Dominion, on its project website, said gas pipelines nationwide have a strong safety record.

“Pipelines are the safest way to transport energy,” it wrote in a FAQ link. “Dominion is dedicated to building, monitoring and maintaining the ACP safely.”

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposal is still under development and will require regulatory approval. Dominion hopes to start prefiling an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission later this year.

http://www.newsadvance.com/news/local/press-pass/video-musicians-voice-pipeline-opposition-through-song/article_58209d8e-46c0-11e4-90eb-0017a43b2370.html

 

 

Oct 6 – MSNBC “All In: Coal Country” with NC Coal Ash and Duke Energy

On Monday, October 6th at 8:00 PM, Chris Hayes on MSNBC will be doing an hour-long investigative special on the coal industry. It looks like he’ll be devoting a significant amount of time to looking at Duke Energy’s mishandling of coal ash here in North Carolina.
 You can watch the preview by clicking below.
Spread the word about this program on Facebook and with your friends and neighbors!

Coal Country MSNBC Trailer

 

 

Memories and Images of the Peoples Climate March

Thanks to long time Sierra Club member Nancy Bryant for this great message!

Memories of the “Great March”

Nancy C. Bryant

On Saturday, 8pm, September 20, our charter bus, along with nine other buses from NC, took off for New York City for the People’s Climate March the next day. The 55 people on our bus were to join what we had hoped would be 250,000 others, but which would become 400,000 at the final tally.

Now, why would 400,000 people come from all over the US and Norway and Canada, and who knows how many other counties, to march for one day? People of all ages, all colors, cultures and backgrounds. People singing, playing instruments, chanting, shouting, carrying signs and posters and waving flags and flying birds and giant parachutes, people walking, in strollers, in wheelchairs, on floats, on bikes, on scooters, on roller skates, dancing, prancing……..

I’ll tell you why. Because they care about what is happening to this, our fragile planet earth. They care about the future of their children and grandchildren and all living things on this earth. They care about the climate that is now changing so rapidly that we see it in front of our eyes, if we look about and pay attention to the climate. Just ask the farmers who were there. Just ask our local farmers. They want fossil fuels to continue being replaced with renewal energy sources, not 10 years from now, not 50 years from now, but now. They want the fracking to stop. They want our climate to get back into balance instead of heating up.

At first, my stepson, Jeep Bryant, and I marched with the contingent of people of faith and scientists, but later we joined the indigenous peoples of the world. There were people from labor, families, students, elders, environmental justice, community groups, neighborhood groups, the City Council of NYC, the head of the UN, movie and pop culture advocates – every possible group of people concerned about the issues.

The people who marched were marching with hope and exhilaration, knowing that millions more of us would also march for our fragile earth and the future for generations to come if they could. Deb from Anson, James from Montgomery and Harry from Richmond, my busmates, join me in saying that it was a highlight of our lives to be marching on Sunday, sharing the hope of a better world.

And now for some scenes from the People’s Climate Change March.

Enjoy the memories. Rekindle the passion. Take some action on the Climate Cris today and everyday…

PCM ImagesPCM Art and Photos

And for a special treat, listen to the “Voices of the the Peoples Climate March” by Brian Kasher

The audio stream includes over forty (40) mini-interviews; street music from: the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, Rocket McFlyy, the Raging Grannies and more; chants, Central Park crickets, police helicopters, and general crowd ambiance. Two-hundred fifty three (253) sounds clips were recorded during the March.

PCM Voices 1

Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline – Keystone XL of the East?

New coverage of the Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline debate. In this update:

  • Shale Gas Impacts in North Carolina
  • Get Ready for Keystone Pipeline 2?
  • Plans for natural gas pipeline worry some in Nash County
  • Dominion pipeline event brings out hundreds of Augusta County residents
  • Augusta residents learn how to fight the pipeline
  • Dominion discusses aspects of pipeline project with Nelson residents

If you missed the other updates, check them out at They’re Building A Pipeline Song – Help Protect the Wilderness (Sept 15), Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline – Communities Voice Opposition (Sept 15), Duke Energy/Dominion Pipeline – N.C. Public Meetings, VA/WV Local Government and Community Reactions (Sept 13),  Opposition Growing in Virginia Over Atlantic Coast Pipeline (Sept 12), Update on Duke Energy/Dominion Fracking Gas Pipeline (Sept 10) and  “Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline” (Sept 7).

Shale Gas Impacts in North Carolina
Thanks to Frack Free NC for this map (click to enlarge).  A picture is worth a thousand words…
shale_gas_impacts_map1

Get Ready for Keystone Pipeline 2?
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposal has the potential to become the Keystone XL of the East.
A. Barton Hinkle | September 15, 2014

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline fits that bill. Nevertheless Glen Besa, who heads the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, responded to the pipeline announcement by saying he felt as though he’d been “punched in the gut.” Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action network, said McAuliffe had made a “huge mistake.” The Southern Environmental Law Center said it was “disappointed.”

On the other hand, the fact that Dominion always meets opposition does not mean its opponents are always wrong. And one of their biggest concerns also carries a lot of weight: the potential for the company to ride roughshod over small landowners through eminent domain.

As a regulated utility, Dominion inhabits a weird gray area between private enterprise and public agency. Members of the public don’t elect its officers, and its employees are private citizens. Yet thanks to state and federal law, Dominion surveyors can enter private property without permission. What’s more, in cases where landowners decline an easement, the company can seize the property it wants. That raises several worries.

Take the right-of-way. Will Dominion use herbicides to keep it clear? If so, that could ruin a farmer’s chance of being certified organic. A property owner who wanted to put a driveway across the right-of-way might have to get Dominion’s permission—if she can. And if Dominion needed to check the pipeline, its employees could cut across her property, again without her permission.

The utilities want to spend as little as possible. That might lead to cases such as the one a few years ago in Wythe County. Duke Energy offered $60,000 for some property belonging to Harold Hart and Larry Ball. They declined, the case went to court—and the jury said they actually deserved $1.8 million. Sometimes it pays to stand firm.

Then there’s the question of “quick take”—a process by which the utility takes immediate possession of the property it wants, and settles up later. This keeps a project from being held up while the courts go through the regular eminent-domain process, which is more time-consuming. But it also puts the landowner at a disadvantage.
Read the full report at: http://reason.com/archives/2014/09/15/get-ready-for-keystone-pipeline-2

Plans for natural gas pipeline worry some in Nash County
WRAL Sept 15, 2014

Nash County Pipeline

In addition to Nash, seven other North Carolina counties – Cumberland, Halifax, Johnston, Northampton, Robeson, Sampson and Wilson – would be affected by the project.

Some Red Oak residents worry that the proposed pipeline could reduce property values, threaten water supplies and pose environmental risks.

John Huffman, who owns a 20-acre plot of land in the community, is among those who are concerned.

“The issue you worry about is breaches,” he said Monday. “These things blow up.”

But Red Oak Commissioner Lavelle Langley says it could cost his town $1 million to tap into the pipeline, and he questions how it will benefit the community.

“It doesn’t help us a bit. It’s not going to bring us any jobs – not in this county,” Langley said. “I wouldn’t think (it would) because there’s going to be outside contractors putting it in.”

Gas is being relied upon to generate more of the nation’s electricity in recent years because new domestic supplies have lowered its price and because natural gas burns cleaner than coal.

It does, however, have environmental drawbacks. Experts say that when gas leaks or is otherwise released directly into the atmosphere it heats the planet much faster than carbon dioxide. Fracking, the drilling technique that has led to increased U.S. supplies, has raised concerns about water use, water contamination and other issues.
Read the full report at: http://www.wral.com/plans-for-natural-gas-pipeline-worry-some-in-nash-county/13985101/#DbZFJovyHkS3Y4vg.99


Dominion pipeline event brings out hundreds of Augusta County residents

AFP editor Chris Graham
Sept 15, 2014

Augusta Pipeline 2

Critics have pointed to concerns over infringement on landowners’ rights along the proposed pipeline path and environmental impacts on western Virginia, with the George Washington National Forest in Augusta County a particular point of focus.

Bobby Whitescarver, the former USDA district conservationist in the Shenandoah Valley, and now the principal in Natural Resources Management LLC, an environmental consultancy, raised another concern, with the karst topography in western Virginia, and the abundance of underground caves and sinkholes in the region.

“It’s like building on swiss cheese on top of a surface of sand. Putting rigid steel pipe on terrain that could subside is a recipe for environmental disaster,” said Whitescarver, who writes and edits an environmental blog at GettingMoreontheGround.com.

Whitescarver said that according to the maps of the proposed pipeline path made available to this point by Dominion, “they’re going to put this through at least 30 known sinkholes, and we’re just talking about the known sinkholes.”

“And in my years as district conservationist here, we saw new sinkholes open up occasionally. I’ve personally seen new sinkholes open up that could literally swallow an 18-wheeler,” Whitescarver said.

Dominion could submit formal plans to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission related to the pipeline as early as this fall, according to Neville. If that were to be the case, final approval could come in the second or third quarter of 2016, with construction to begin at that point on schedule to conclude in 2018.

At least one critic hopes the process leads to the pipeline never seeing anything resembling a green light from the federal government.

“My hope is that it doesn’t get built. That’s my first priority,” Whitescarver said. “Just think about what would happen if we put $4 billion into solar power instead of putting it into fossil fuels. We’re just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Referencing the claims made by the governor and other project boosters regarding the economic benefit of Virginia, Whitescarver pointed out that the pipeline is not likely “to benefit Augusta County in any way.”

“It’s not going to benefit the landowners who are impacted by this pipeline. It’s not going to impact our tax base,” Whitescarver said. “They’re trying to ram this down our unsuspecting throats so they can export it and make more money. It’s Robin Hood in reverse. The rich taking from the poor and giving more to themselves. This is corporate greed at its worst.”
Read the full report at: http://augustafreepress.com/dominion-pipeline-event-brings-hundreds-augusta-county-residents/

Augusta residents learn how to fight the pipeline
September 7, 2014 7:00 am
BY BOB STUAR

Augusta Pipeline
Saturday’s meeting at the Augusta County Government Center was a tutorial for county residents on how to fight and ultimately prevail against the construction of Dominion Resources’ proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

For two hours, a cadre of legal and conservation experts and concerned residents of Augusta County marched to the platform to tell a crowd of more than 150 how to fight back against the encroachment of their land.

Speakers told the crowd how they can write and lobby the permitting agency for the pipeline — the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The crowd was also given tips on legal steps they could take to protect their land, and the possible damage to their land values and the environment if the pipeline is built.

Southern Environmental Law Center senior attorney Greg Buppert said the permitting agency desperately needs public input. “I think FERC needs to hear from you and how the pipeline will harm you and your property and will harm all the things that are special about Augusta County,” he said. “If FERC doesn’t hear from you the balance is already tipped in favor of Dominion.”

The crowd received further encouragement to contact FERC from Bobby Whitescarver, the retired Augusta County conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a Swoope farmer.

“What Dominion is trying to ram down our throats, our forests and farms will fragment our forests forever,” said Whitescarver. He said beyond this battle, legal and constitutional reform is necessary. Whitescarver urged those in the path of the pipeline to obtain conservation easements for their property, saying the easements would provide another hurdle to the pipeline.

Taylor Cole, a Deerfield resident and chairman of the Augusta County Planning Commission, said his research has shown him that the potential of pipelines present “no upside for us and potentially a lot of downside.”

Cole said the one-time payment to property owners by Dominion will not come close to matching the “costs that go on for decades and decades.” He said the pipeline would affect property values and could affect mortgages.

“Dominion can be defeated. Writing FERC is vitally important,” Geary said. He offered information about a Norfolk law firm that fights eminent domain cases, and told the crowd that the firm doesn’t bill for services unless a suit is won.

Nancy Sorrells, a former Augusta County supervisor and co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance, said Dominion’s path for the project goes through a part of the Shenandoah Valley that has been vulnerable to major flooding, erosion and mudslides. “Dominion could not have made a worse decision,” said Sorrells of the projected pipeline path.

Buppert said the timeline for the seeking of the federal approval would start in 2015, when Dominion officially seeks a permit from FERC. He said the agency will then seek public comments regarding the project’s environmental impact and said final consideration of the permit would come in 2016.

“The process hasn’t started for Dominion, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write to FERC,” Buppert said.
Read the full report at: http://www.dailyprogress.com/newsvirginian/augusta-residents-learn-how-to-fight-the-pipeline/article_fbbba534-35f8-11e4-b4ed-0017a43b2370.html


Dominion discusses aspects of pipeline project with Nelson residents

Nate Delesline III
Sept 16, 2014

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would begin in West Virginia, run through Virginia and end in North Carolina. During construction, officials said a 125-foot right-of-way would be required. Once construction is completed, a 75-foot right-of-way would be required to maintain the pipeline, which would be between three and five feet below ground, depending on the topography of the area and intended use of the land above.

As night fell and the crowd inside the meeting room grew, a handful of protestors holding anti-pipeline signs next to U.S. 29 drew occasional horn blasts from passing motorists. Back inside, Nelson County resident Roy White paused after studying one of the large maps.

“I wish I felt I could trust large corporations and government, but where I am in my life now, I’ve learned — painfully — that you can’t always trust them,” White said.

Nelson Supervisor Connie Brennan said Tuesday night that she’s concerned some of the community’s poorer residents might not have the time or energy to speak up to get their concerns on the record. The Nelson board recently passed a resolution opposing the project.

“I think it is a big burden on our community,” Brennan said. According to a recent project economic analysis, Brennan said projected annual state tax revenue after 2019 is $233,027.

“If the state is only going to get $233,000, what do you think little Nelson County is going to get?” said Brennan, who added that residents have expressed concerns about quality of life and safety.

“We think property values will diminish, and we already know of some Realtors who have contracts pulled out when people found out the pipeline was coming near the properties,” said Brennan, who has lived in Nelson County since 1974 and is in her fourth term as a supervisor.

Marc Chanin, who lives off Route 635 in the Glass Hollow area of the county, said he’s very concerned and frustrated that the pipeline’s path might run near or through protected national park lands such as the Blue Ridge Parkway.

“They should find an area that’s not going to hurt our environment the way this is. I believe there are already other pipelines that are already in existence where they can put this pipeline in conjunction with the other ones if they already have right-of-way,” Chanin said.
Read the full report at: http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/dominion-discusses-aspects-of-pipeline-project-with-nelson-residents/article_75f45574-3e02-11e4-85aa-001a4bcf6878.html