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Cost of Renewable Energy Continues to Fall

Wind and solar projects now offer electricity at prices that conventional plants can't match

Posted on Feb 8 2018 by Scott Gibson

In an energy auction in Mexico last fall, the Italian energy conglomerate ENEL was reported to have submitted the lowest ever bid for supplying solar electricity — just $17.70 per megawatt hour, or 1.77 cents per kilowatt hour. It turns out the bid actually was for wind-generated power, not solar, but the initial reporting error didn't change the underlying fact: the cost of both wind and solar electricity is sinking fast.

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Image Credits:

  1. Brookhaven National Lab via Flickr

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Vermont Sets New Noise Rules for Wind Turbines

Neither side is happy with the limits approved by utility regulators

Posted on Nov 16 2017 by Scott Gibson

The adoption of new rules limiting noise from wind turbines was intended to meet the requirements of legislation passed last year, but neither side seems especially happy with the outcome.

Wind advocates think the new regulations are too strict and complained they will make it tough for Vermont to meet a goal of getting 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, The Associated Press reported. Opponents said turbines will still be too noisy.

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Image Credits:

  1. Richard Allaway via Flickr

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An Introduction to Pressure Diagnostics

Fans, wind, and the stack effect cause some areas of your home to be pressurized and others to be depressurized

Posted on Aug 18 2017 by Martin Holladay

When it comes to understanding heating systems, most of us are comfortable with the basics. To warm up your house on a cold day, you need a source of heat in your living room — say, a wood stove or a radiator. To keep the heat in your house, you need insulation.

That’s the way most builders understood heating from 1935 to 1980. Somewhere around 1980, however, building scientists began to realize that the old picture was imperfect.

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Image Credits:

  1. Fine Homebuilding

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Wind Overtakes Hydro as Top Renewable in U.S.

Solar is growing at an unprecedented rate, but is still dwarfed by the country's wind farms

Posted on Mar 9 2017 by Scott Gibson

Last year was a big one for wind power in the U.S. For the first time, the total installed capacity of the country's wind farms exceeded that of hydroelectric projects to reach a total of 82,183 megawatts — enough to run some 24 million American homes.

The website Proud Green Building reported the wind industry installed 6,478 megawatts in the fourth quarter of the year alone, according to a market report from the American Wind Energy Association.

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Image Credits:

  1. Bob Shrader / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Flickr

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GBA Prime Sneak Peek: Green Building in the Cheap Energy Era

In 2016, green builders will need to face the implications of low energy prices

Posted on Jan 5 2016 by Martin Holladay Prime subscribers have access to many articles that aren't accessible to non-subscribers, including Martin Holladay's weekly blog series, “Musings of an Energy Nerd.” To whet the appetite of non-subscribers, we occasionally offer non-subscribers access to a “GBA Prime Sneak Peek” article like this one.

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Lawmaker Seeks to Extend the Investment Tax Credit

The bill would extend the credit for solar equipment and other types of renewable energy equipment for another five years

Posted on May 29 2015 by Scott Gibson

A California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would extend a key federal tax credit for solar and wind energy systems until 2021, five years later than its scheduled expiration for residential systems.

UtilityDive reports that Representative Mike Thompson, a Democrat, called the investment tax credits (ITC) essential to the growth of the U.S. solar market.

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Image Credits:

  1. ThinkStock

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Report Gauges Future of Untapped Renewable Energy

In western areas of the U.S., solar and wind energy will be closer in cost to natural gas in 2025, even without subsidies, a new report says

Posted on Sep 23 2013 by Scott Gibson

The cost of solar and wind energy in western states of the U.S. will be cost competitive with natural gas by 2025 even without government subsidies, a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests.

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Image Credits:

  1. Arizona Public Service Company

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Rebuilding in Tornado Country

Devastating storms in Oklahoma spark a discussion about the most appropriate type of construction for the region

Posted on Jun 17 2013 by Scott Gibson

Tornadoes have struck the Midwest with a vengeance this year, killing dozens of people and causing widespread destruction of property. In the city of Moore, Oklahoma, a tornado with winds topping 200 miles per hour struck on May 20, reducing whole neighborhoods to rubble.

Many homeowners will rebuild, so what should their new houses look like? In a post at GreenBuildingAdvisor's Q&A forum, David Gregory raises that question.

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Image Credits:

  1. Greg Henshall/FEMA

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North Carolina Mulls Renewable Energy Rollback

A legislative committee approves a bill that would repeal a renewable energy requirement first adopted in 2007

Posted on Apr 8 2013 by Scott Gibson

A bill narrowly approved by a North Carolina legislative committee would repeal renewable energy requirements established in 2007.

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Image Credits:

  1. DB King

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Commercial-Scale Wind Power

Large wind turbines provide one of the solutions we so desperately need to address climate change — so why are so many Vermonters opposed to wind development?

Posted on Feb 14 2013 by Alex Wilson

Last week I wrote about the challenges of small wind turbines and the difficulty of successfully integrating wind power into buildings. This week, I’ll look at larger-scale commercial wind power developments.

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Image Credits:

  1. Martin Holladay

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