Tag: Renewable Energy

How the Northeast’s Push for Hydroelectric Power Demonstrates the Challenges and Future Considerations for Renewable Energy

The United States’ continued build out of renewable energy, is giving rise to tensions between competing environmental interests.[1] One such conflict is between constructing more renewable energy infrastructure and the ecological damage that comes with it.[2]

Renewable energy is needed more now than ever as the U.S. continues to rely heavily on fossil fuels.[3] Most domestic greenhouse gas emissions are still caused by burning coal, natural gas, and hydrocarbons.[4] Despite a seven percent drop in global carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 due primarily to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting transportation emissions, these numbers figure to rise again as pandemic restrictions are lifted and travel resumes.[5] Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy will mitigate water and air pollution, excessive water and land use, ecological loss, public health concerns, and climate change.[6]

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BLM Poised to Expand Renewable Energy Development on Federal Lands Despite Revoking Amendments to Desert Renewable Energy Plan

The Biden administration recently issued a decision walking back proposed amendments to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)[i] which, if adopted, would have opened 800,000 acres of land in the California desert for renewable energy development.[ii] Conservation advocates praised the decision while renewable energy developers lamented the loss of an opportunity to expand solar and wind generation in the region.[iii]

Developed during the Obama Administration, the DRECP sets aside nearly 11 million acres of public lands in the California desert for renewable energy development and conservation projects.[iv] Billed as a collaboration between federal and state partners including the California Energy Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, BLM, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the DRECP seeks to capitalize on the region’s abundant sun, wind, and geothermal resources while also preserving the area’s ecological diversity.[v]

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A Tale of Two Energy Bills in Springfield

Illinois legislators are evaluating two different proposed clean energy bills that would accelerate renewable energy growth in the state. One bill, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) would focus on consumer protection, expanding energy efficiency programs, increasing EV charging stations and protecting existing clean energy jobs in the state.[1] The second bill, Path to 100, focuses more on funding clean energy jobs.[2] Both bills seek to ensure Illinois achieves 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.[3]

CEJA would continue to fund and expand programs established by the 2014 Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA),[4] which has lowered the cost of Illinois energy bills from some of the highest in the country to some of the lowest.[5] Funding from the 2014 Act is running low, and CEJA would protect thousands of clean energy jobs by bolstering funding for those programs.[6] The most ambitious provisions in the bill seek to achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030 and 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.[7]

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