With the year more than half-way over, its clear to me that 2015 will be a year for the history books in terms of the clean energy transition.
First, in 2015 globally there is greater recognition of climate change. When the head of the Catholic church calls the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy a moral imperative, people sit up and take notice. I think it could be argued that Pope Francis has done more for the clean energy industry than any other global leader in history.
Second, 2015 is the year that the United States finally got serious about cleaning up its power supply. This summer the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final rules for the Clean Power Plan; rules that will force states to curb carbon emissions from power plants over the next 15 years. It’s big deal for America, a country that has fought curbing carbon since 1997 when it refused to sign on to the Kyoto protocol. Finally the U.S. will head to the Climate Talks in Paris this December with a firm plan in hand for how the second biggest emitter of carbon pollution will lessen its carbon impact on the world.
Third, in 2015 the U.S. began construction on the first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. Why is this momentous? For 10+ years Jim Rogers attempted to develop the 468-MW Cape Wind and for 10 years he faced challenge after challenge, mostly through NIMBY activists with homes on Cape Cod. The message those lawsuits sent to the wind industry was clear: stay away. But the 30-MW, 5-turbine Block Island wind farm, now actively under construction, opens a new chapter in the country. With it, the U.S. shows the world that is it serious about large-scale renewable energy and its waters are open for business.
Jennifer Runyon, Chief Editor