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Category Archives:

Economy

Life After Coal

Coal- it’s the original fossil fuel. Its concentrated energy powered the Industrial Revolution, and raised humankind’s standard of living to heights that had never been possible.

But now that coal has been thoroughly supplanted by natural gas, which may soon itself be replaced by renewables, how can we restore mining communities, provide stable, high-paying jobs and an identity for former coal communities that they can be proud of? The answer may come from Germany, a country with a lot of former coal mines and ambitious renewable energy goals.

In the northwest region of the country, two professors at the University of Essen-Duisberg began to brainstorm possible uses for the old mines- the last of which will cease operations next year- and have come up with an intriguing concept: repurpose the old mines as battery storage for the wind turbines that are quickly replacing the mines in German coal country.

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Here Comes Solar Gets Some Love from BRIC TV

If you’ve been curious about Solar One’s Here Comes Solar program, thanks to the awesome folks at BRIC TV, you can learn all about it in this informative video. Professional futurist Garry Golden will show you his own rooftop solar array in South Park Slope, Brooklyn, and Here Comes Solar program director Noah Ginsburg explains how the program works and its goal to help solarize Brooklyn…and beyond.

City Council Speaker, Members Visit S1 Workforce Training Lab

Council.Members.at.S1“We’re very committed to creating jobs,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito declared to 26 green job trainees at Solar One’s Workforce Training Lab on Monday. She was joined by the City Council Majority Leader, Jimmy Van Bramer, and Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair, Committee on Environmental Protection.

“We must all do our part to make New York a more sustainable City. The Solar One Workforce training program provides needed green job training skills to New Yorkers, and I’m proud to support this important initiative,” the Speaker told our trainees as she toured our lab in Long Island City.

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What’s Your Take on the Plastic Bag Bill?

plasticbagbanBack in March 2014, the NY City Council began considering the ramifications of ending the long-standing practice of giving shoppers free carrier bags. The bags have a dismal recycling rate, tend to blow everywhere (I mean, who hasn’t seen trees with bags stuck in the branches?) and create problems when they clog storm drains and get into waterways. Some people seem to take the bags- and stores hand them out- without even thinking, so many get used for an even shorter time than disposable coffee cups. Other cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and even Washington DC have either banned single-use plastic bags or imposed a small fee, usually 5 or 10 cents per bag.

The reason the bill hasn’t passed, though, is that some Council members worry that the new fee would place an undue hardship on low- and fixed-income households. Proponents argue that this will not happen, because WIC and SNAP recipients won’t have to pay, and the city will work hard to distribute free, reusable bags in lower income neighborhoods.

However, this may not be enough.

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Get Ready for a Global Solar-Powered Energy Revolution

solarchart
For absolute proof that solar power is the future, check out this graph from the Earth Policy Institute, which shows the trajectory of solar world-wide over the past 40 years.

As the price of panels has plummeted, the capacity of solar installations has grown exponentially. In fact, solar power use has increased 53 times since 2006.

How many other industries have grown 53 times larger in 9 years?

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What “Repo Man” Can Teach Us About Solar’s Residual Value

repomanIf you’ve never seen Repo Man, Alex Cox’s 1984 sci-fi dystopian comedy tale of a kid who gets caught up in the repo business, starring a very young Emilio Estevez, it’s highly entertaining, and highly recommended. But the repo model also has some interesting value for the future of solar power.

So what does repossessing cars have to do with solar panels?

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