Solar power is on the rise across the country. The United States has more than 200 times as much solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed today as it did in 2002. With solar module prices coming down, increasing national awareness of solar energy, and a growing legion of solar businesses large and small, solar power is emerging as a mainstream energy solution with widespread benefits for our health, our economy and the environment.
A new report released today by Environment Minnesota revealed that Minnesota’s wind energy is already avoiding more than 4.5 million metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution – the equivalent of taking almost 950,000 cars off the road, while saving over 2 billion gallons of water per year – enough to meet the needs of over 80,000 people.
Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has fused two technologies—hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—in a highly polluting effort to unlock oil and gas in underground rock formations across the United States.
As fracking expands rapidly across the country, there are a growing number of documented cases of drinking water contamination and illness among nearby residents. Yet it has often been difficult for the public to grasp the scale and scope of these and other fracking threats. Fracking is already underway in 17 states, with more than 80,000 wells drilled or permitted since 2005.
A new report from the Environment Minnesota Research & Policy Center finds that Xcel Energy’s Sherburne County or “Sherco” Power Plant is the state’s biggest carbon polluter, producing as much global warming pollution as 2.7 million cars each year. Sherco is the 21st most carbon-polluting power plant in the country, according to the report. Scientists predict that extreme weather events will become more frequent and severe for future generations, unless we cut the dangerous carbon pollution fueling the problem.
Several months after flooding in Duluth led to $100 million in damages, a new Environment Minnesota Research and Policy Center report found that weather-related disasters are already affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, and documents how global warming could lead to certain extreme weather events becoming even more common or more severe in the future.
Weather disasters kill or injure hundreds of Americans each year and cause billions of dollars in economic damage. The risks posed by some types of weather-related disasters will likely increase in a warming world. Scientists have already detected increases in extreme precipitation events and heat waves in the United States, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently concluded that global warming will likely lead to further changes in weather extremes.
On Earth Day, Environment Minnesota released a new guide to help Minnesotans improve the energy performance of their homes and workplaces. The renewable energy and energy-saving measures proposed by Environment Minnesota’s Plug into Clean Energy Guide promise to lower energy bills and reduce pollution from power plants across the state.
Environment Minnesota held a press conference at WeatherNation to release a new report documenting how global warming could lead to extreme weather events becoming even more common in the future. The report also highlights recent extreme weather events that have impacted Minnesota, our nation, and the globe.
America has virtually limitless potential to tap the energy of the sun. Solar energy is clean, safe, proven and available everywhere, and the price of many solar energy technologies is declining rapidly. By adopting solar energy on a broad scale, the nation can address our biggest energy challenges – our dependence on fossil fuels and the need to address global warming – while also boosting our economy.