Reports on new funding by the DOE and the Department of Interior for various advanced hydro projects, including sustainable run of the river hydro and pumped storage as well. The announced $17 million in funding over the next three years is targeted for research and development projects to advance hydropower technology.
This post takes a look at hydro power potential in the US, which is significant. For example, Oak Ridge National Laboratory has estimated that there is more than 12GW of untapped capacity at existing dams across the US; this is in part due to the fact that only 3% of existing dams generate electricity. Furthermore a 2006 DOE report noted that in every region realistic increases in generation capacity ranged from a minimum of 50% to well over 100%, which represents a lot of potential additional power. Large dams have serious environmental issues, disrupting Salmon runs for example, but a lot more power can be generated from existing dams and from less disruptive run of the river hydro.
To shift the global economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy will require the construction of wind, solar, nuclear, and other installations on a vast scale, significantly altering the face of the planet. Can these new forms of energy approach the scale needed to meet the world’s energy demands?
The RES Alliance for Jobs, a coalition of America’s renewable energy companies and national renewable energy associations, has released a new study showing that a 25% by 2025 national Renewable Electricity Standard would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the United States. The “Jobs Impact of a National Renewable Electricity Standard” study found that a 25% by 2025 national RES would result in 274,000 more renewable energy jobs over no-national RES policy. This additional employment is equivalent to 2.36 million additional job-years by 2025. The study found that new jobs would be supported by renewable energy in every region of the United States. While the biomass, hydropower and waste-to-energy industries would see significant job gains in the Southeast, the states of the Great Plains and Midwest would employ thousands developing their wind resources and the Western United States would see job gains in its solar and hydropower industries. Without stronger near-term targets than currently envisioned, the study found that industries like wind will experience flat job growth and long-term stagnation, while the U.S. biomass industry could collapse altogether. The Alliance recommends that aggressive near and long-term federal RES targets should be pursued in order to attract manufacturing investment in the sector and to ensure global competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy industry.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced in Washington that the Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $750 million in new funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help accelerate the development of renewable energy generation projects. This funding will be targeted to cover the cost of loan guarantees for renewable energy projects and could support as much as $4 to 8 billion in lending to eligible projects, and the Department will invite private sector participation to accelerate the financing of these renewable energy projects.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently announced their list of the greenest cities in the United States and have released their findings on a new web site, called Smarter Cities. The survey includes all cities in the United States with populations larger than 50,000. Smarter Cities is considered to be one of the nation’s most comprehensive and robust database of U.S. urban progress toward sustainability. Seattle ranked number one and San Francisco ranked number 2 among the 67 large cities that were evaluated. Madison, Wisconsin placed firstand Santa Rosa, California came in second among the 176 medium cities that were surveyed. Among the 402 cities that were evaluated, Bellingham, Washington came in first place and Mountain View, California came in second.
The Princeton Review, today released its second annual Green Ratings of colleges. In this measure of how environmentally friendly the institutions are on a scale of 60 to 99, the company tallied its Green Ratings for 697 institutions based on data it collected from the colleges in 2008-09 concerning their environmentally related policies, practices, and academic offerings. The Princeton Review also named 15 colleges to its “2010 Green Rating Honor Roll” – a list that salutes the institutions that received the highest possible score – 99 – in this year’s rating tallies.