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Fuel from sewage is the future -- and it's closer than you think

It may sound like science fiction, but wastewater treatment plants across the United States may one day turn ordinary sewage into biocrude oil, thanks to new research. The technology, hydrothermal liquefaction, mimics the geological conditions Earth uses to create crude oil, using high pressure and temperature to achieve in minutes something that takes Mother Nature millions of years.

The Northeast is emerging as a clean energy leader

This year, Grassroots Solar announced partnerships with SunPower, a leading U.S. rooftop solar company, and sonnenBatterie, a German storage company, allowing Laberge to provide his customers with both solar technology and innovative battery backup — and he’s also capitalizing on a Vermont’s push for consumers to use cold-climate heat pumps and switch to electric cars. “We just did a system for a couple who only required 24 panels to cover their current needs, but [who knew they’d] eventually put in cold-climate heat pumps and electric cars,’’ Laberge said.

Waste heat from combustion could power 11.4 million U.S. homes a year

Engineers at Berkeley, California start-up Alphabet Energy have developed a cutting-edge renewable energy device that taps the energy from an often over-looked source: waste heat.  Now, we've definitely seen technologies before that harness energy from waste heat, but according to Berkeley Engineer, Alphabet's devices are the most efficient thermoelectric devices ever created and the company is setting their sights on major sources of waste heat -- combustion exhaust from power plants and vehicles.  “Waste heat is everywhere,” said CEO Matt Scullin.

Iowa Approves New $3.6 Billion Energy Plan

For the past 12 years, Iowa and MidAmerican Energy have worked to achieve their goal of 100% renewable energy across the state. Now, the largest wind energy project in the history of Iowa is underway – this revolutionary project, which will begin in 2017, is called Wind XI.     “Renewable energy is going to be good for our customers,  the environment, Iowa communities and our economy,” Ashton Hockman, MidAmerican Energy representative, said.  Wind XI, MidAmerican Energy’s eleventh wind project, was initially approved in August 2016.

Vermont releases renewable energy siting rules

The rules, implemented under Act 174, allow towns to have a say in how renewable energy projects are sited, but does not give municipalities the ability to reject solar and wind developments altogether.  The regulations require municipalities to participate in a local and regional planning process.  While the Public Service Board will consider municipal plans, the board has the ultimate say regarding where renewable energy projects are sited. Critics have objected to Act 174 because it doesn’t give towns veto power.

Share of Farm Businesses Receiving Lease and Royalty Income From Energy Production Varies Across Regions

Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil trapped in shale formations, commonly referred to as “fracking,” impacts agriculture in many ways. Farms in shale regions, for example, face competition from energy companies for labor, water, and transportation infrastructure—as well as an increased risk of drilling-related soil or water contamination. But farmers may also earn payments from energy companies.  Whether fracking’s net effect on a farm is positive or negative depends largely on who owns the farm’s mineral rights.

EPA moves forward with optional cap-and-trade system for climate rule

The Obama administration is moving forward with an optional cap-and-trade system that states could use to comply with its climate change rule for power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final model trading rule went to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review, the office said Friday, despite the fact that the underlying Clean Power Plan is on hold by order of the Supreme Court.

Obama administration sends $28 million to aid coal regions

The U.S. government released $28 million in federal grants to 13 coal-producing states on Wednesday to help them cope with the decline of the coal industry, driven by the move toward cleaner energy.  With the Obama administration's announcement, over $66 million has been awarded this year to 71 projects that aim to aid workers displaced from coal company bankruptcies and create new industries in these areas.

FL:Down in the polls, utilities pump another $3.5 million into Amendment 1 campaign

Florida's largest utilities decided last week that $22 million wasn't enough to spend on Amendment 1, so they pumped in another $3.5 million into the effort, according new campaign finance reports.  Amendment 1, which has been dubbed a "pro solar" amendment by the political committee financed by the utility giants, would inject language into the state Constitution that could be used to keep solar competition out of Florida, making it easier for the utilities to control the solar market and preserve their utility monopolies.

Rocky Mountain Power's Subscriber Solar program nearly sold out

Nearly 20 megawatts of solar energy due to come online in Utah in early 2017 has been sold to residential and business consumers who want to cut their monthly utility bills or become more reliant on clean energy. Rocky Mountain Power's Subscriber Solar program is 95 percent sold out, and officials anticipate the last few blocks of power will be sold by this week or next.

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