Clean Energy

Texas is Saving Big with Wind Energy


Renewable energy is really paying off in Texas, as the state recently detailed how it saved $5.75 billion in wholesale electricity in 2017.

Wind-produced energy now accounts for over 17% of all of the electricity generated in the state.  Compare that to the less than 1% market share it accounted for in 2002, making the trend clear.  Solar energy is also on the upswing in Texas, though to a lesser degree than wind energy.  According to the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), electricity rates would have been 8.2% higher without the help of the renewable energy being added to the state’s energy grid.

Texas electricity consumers that are located in the deregulated areas of the state benefit in two ways from this increase in renewable energy.  Firstly, their electricity rates are lower across the board than they would have been without the renewables, no matter which electricity plan they have.  Secondly, they can select one of the many 100% renewable electricity plans if they so choose, which saves them money and helps the ecosystem.

Bay Area Company Unveils Energy Storage System


BatteryThis week the EnerVault company in Stanislaus County, California unveiled two large energy storage tanks that are a part of a flow battery, which stores energy from the area’s solar panel systems. The battery is the largest flow battery in the world, and could play a significant role in California’s quest to develop larger and more efficient methods of energy storage.

Flow batteries store energy in tanks of electrolytes, which means that the large tanks outside Turlock, California contain a fluid of water and minerals in which energy can be stored. That fluid is pumped through individual batteries when they require power.

Energy can be obtained from solar power plants and wind farms, but the output of those facilities can be quite variable according to weather and other conditions. If that energy could be collected and stored on a large scale, then those supply sources could be evened out and made more reliable. Officials and industry experts in California see energy storage as a in important element of the state’s goal to shift to use of more renewable energy, and this demand has resulted in a young but quickly growing energy storage industry in the Bay Area.

The tanks were unveiled to the public on Thursday, May 22 in a ceremony with state and federal officials in attendance.


Austin Church Lights A Beacon of Hope For Businesses Considering Solar Energy


Church Goes SolarThe Saint David’s Episcopal Church in Austin is pioneering the way in urban solar power with a massive solar project. The church administrators are hoping to reduce its electricity costs that is fueled by a restaurant, coffee shop, bookstore, parking garage and preschool attached to the building.

The idea for the solar panel project came ten years ago but the low interest rates, government rebates caused members to grasp at the opportunity to go ahead with it. The initial project proposal consisted of 150 KW. However, it was rejected by Austin Energy as it was deemed to be too large.

The project was so huge, it would produce more energy than the church needed and posed a potential safety issues. The excess energy could result in equipment damage overtime as well as cutting off power from the building. As a result, the capacity of the proposal had to be reduced in order to gain approval.

If the solar system works for the church, it will be a beacon of hope for businesses and other interests that are considering solar energy.  Texas electricity rates have been so cheap the past several years that it has been difficult for solar energy projects to get funded in many cases.

Clean Energy and Clean Transportation Jobs Will Create More than 15,000 Jobs


nat gas bus _ medA report released by Environmental Entrepreneurs states that over 15,000 jobs could be created following announcements of 80 clean transportation and clean energy projects by companies and communities during the third quarter of this year. The projects include the generation of solar energy, recycling, bio-fuels and manufacturing that is clean energy related.

The manufacturing and renewable power generation industries topped the list following announcements of 10,000 jobs all together. The states that topped the list for job announcements were Nevada, California, Michigan, New York and Texas. Leading the way with clean energy and clean transportation job announcements were the states of Nevada and California.

The report found that although federal level policies had an impact on growth, renewable energy policies in some states were having notable influence on job creation. Since 2011, Environmental Entrepreneurs have been tracking jobs created by clean energy and clean transportation.