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2016 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index

See how your state ranks! The U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index tracks and ranks the clean-tech activities of all 50 states and the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. – from EV (electric vehicles) and renewables adoption to policy and investment activity.  The objective of the Leadership Index is to serve as a tool for regional comparative research, a source for aggregated industry data, and a jumping-off point for deep, data-driven analysis of the U.S. clean-tech market.  

New Michigan policies make energy efficiency a priority

One long-standing program that provides a means by which an entity can get capital for energy efficiency projects is known as the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. PACE allows local governments to issue bonds to property owners that finance energy retrofits at their facilities, which they and back over a period years. However, entities with significant building portfolios and energy intensive operations like local governments lacked a similar avenue to achieve the same savings – until now, that is.

The EPA's Proposed 2017 RFS Standards: Is a Push Still a Push?

The EPA released the preliminary 2017 RFS Standard on May 18. The preliminary rulemaking also established biomass-based diesel (BBD) volume requirements for 2018. Here, we first re-examine the magnitude of the likely conventional biofuels push contained in the final rule making for 2014-2016 and then the likely magnitude of the push in the preliminary rulemaking for 2017. Those calculations will indicate if the EPA is continuing the policy of providing a measurable push for conventional biofuel consumption beyond the E10 blend wall.

Solar Power Net Metering Most Beneficial According to Study

The Brookings Institution study determined net metering provided $36 million in benefits to all NV Energy customers, regardless of whether they were receiving net-metering credits. The paper largely concludes the benefits associated with net metering outweigh the costs and don’t pose significant cost increases for non-solar ratepayers. Net metering allows solar power users to send excess electricity back to the electric grid in return for rate credits.

Whatever Happened to Advanced Biofuels?

Cellulosic ethanol continues to struggle to use inedible crop waste to match ethanol from corn—and fossil fuels.  The Project Liberty plant is a multi–$100-million effort to get past the obstacles of food-versus-fuel debates, farmer recalcitrance and, ultimately, fossil fuels. It is also the fruition of a 16-year journey for founder and executive chairman Jeff Broin of ethanol-producing company POET.

Why This Power Company Is Making Energy From Pig Poo

Power giant Duke Energy announced plans on Tuesday to buy gas generated by the waste from pigs on farms in North Carolina. The company will use the gas, made of methane, to generate electricity at two power stations.

Failed oil well near Wasta may put state in $2 million hole and could endanger water

An attempt three years ago to drill an oil well 9,700 feet deep, through multiple water aquifers and a highly dense layer of pre-Cambrian rock near Wasta, ended very badly.And now the state of South Dakota may be on the hook for a $2 million repair and clean-up bill, and officials are worried over the failed well's impact on local fresh water supplies. The trouble began when a drill bit broke partway down after going through several aquifers. The bit and a long length of drill pipe are still in the hole at the well that is located about 45 miles east of Rapid City.

Reassessing Local Wind Energy Standards

Wind energy continues to be a growing industry in the United States. Several states are tapping this renewable resource for over 20% of their power needs. As growth continues, projects are breaking new ground. Developers are interacting with more communities and landowners in the process.  While landowners received at least $180 million in land lease payments (and that number could continue to grow to $1 billion annually by 2050), many still face challenges from the development of projects on their land.

EPA finalizes rules to reduce methane leakage

Last August, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first-ever rule targeting methane leaks from oil and gas infrastructure. Environmentalists lauded its potential to keep the greenhouse gas, which is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide, out of the atmosphere. Yet the rule had flaws: It did not apply to existing wells and facilities, or to low-producing wells, and therefore did little to address methane plumes emanating from areas with a history of production, such as the hot spot over the Four Corners region. 

What the West’s trees tell us

How can biomass and carbon data help us mitigate the effects of human activity?  Every tree tells part of the story of Earth and its atmosphere, from the planet’s available carbon and oxygen to its soil and water health. Tree height and forest undergrowth help scientists study biodiversity and predict wildfires, while the location and density of growth are linked to hydrology and erosion in mountainous regions. Scientists have long studied these patterns, but until five years ago, there was no comprehensive way to keep track of them.

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