State-level Renewable Energy Regulations

by Emily Audet

States have often passed environmental regulations that extend past and are more stringent than federal regulations. With the current administration and Congress appearing to not prioritize sustainability nor clean energy regulations and legislation, pushes at state-level policy could be a viable political strategy for those concerned with advancing clean energy. As of January 2017, 29 states and Washington, D.C. have passed a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), a type of regulation that bolsters use and production of renewable energy [http://midwestenergynews.com/2017/01/09/report-benefits-of-state-renewable-energy-policies-far-outweigh-costs/]. State-level RPSs significantly impact the nation’s energy landscape—RPSs caused the creation of the majority of all renewable energy projects established from 2000 to 2017, and if states fully implement existing RPSs, a projected 40% of the energy for the whole country will come from renewable sources by 2050. Continue reading

The Importance of Wood as a Renewable Energy Resource

by Shannon O’Neill

The importance of wood as a renewable energy resource has often been solely associated with developing countries. However, Aguilar (2015) stresses the importance of wood in developed nation’s energy markets, specifically in the growing trend of mandated transitions to more renewable energy resources. In the United States alone, wood energy provides 25 percent of renewable energy consumption, which is greater than both wind and solar energy. As wood energy is often overlooked, he highlights the importance of recognizing this valuable and complex resource. Continue reading

Incentivizing Renewable Energy Projects from Landfills

by Shannon O’Neill

Every year, a total of 164 million tons of waste is disposed of in landfills. This has created a concern for waste management, particularly due to the fact that landfills are the third largest source of methane, a greenhouse gas that negatively effects the environment. However, methane has been developed as an energy source, in which it is recaptured and used to power homes and businesses. Today, there are more than 630 landfill gas energy projects that together, produce 16.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year. This is enough energy to provide for 1.5 million homes. The picture above suggests an additional approach of adding photovoltaics, but this post is just about biogas Continue reading