Quantcast

Solar Beats Natural Gas in Game-Changing Court Ruling

Business

Solar energy faced off against natural gas in a courtroom this week, and the greener of the two came out on top.

Minnesota administrative law judge Eric Lipman recommended a solar project to help Xcel Energy, one of the state's largest utility, provide 550 megawatts (MW) of new electricity generation by 2020. Lipman could have selected one of five natural gas projects instead, but he realized Geronimo Energy’s Aurora Solar Project was the better deal. 

“It’s the first time that solar’s gone head-to-head with gas facilities in this sort of a proposal and has received this sort of a recommendation," Betsy Engelking, Vice President of Geronimo, told the St. Cloud Times.

Geronimo's project is a 100-MW distributed solar project, spread across 20 to 25 farms in 18 counties. Each site would be 2 to 10 MW.

A Minnesota judge made a monumental decision by recommending a collection of solar farms instead of any of five natural gas projects. Photo credit: Bob White/Flickr Creative Commons

The $250 million project will not receive state subsidies, but qualifies for a federal investment tax credit, according to Climate Progress. If approved, construction on the farms would begin in 2015.

"[Aurora Solar] will have numerous socioeconomic benefits, minimal impacts on the environment and best supports Minnesota's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases," Lipman wrote in his 50-page ruling. 

Geronimo estimates 800 construction jobs and 30 permanent jobs. The farms, expected to have 60 to 70 solar panels, would take four to nine months to build. 

"[Solar energy] has always been better for our environment ... rulings like this one in Minnesota are proving that it's better for our pocketbooks too," Greenpeace spokesman David Pomerantz told AlJazeera America.

"Electric utilities around the country should embrace the solar revolution that their customers are increasingly demanding, or they risk becoming fossils themselves."

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Micromobility is the future of transportation in cities, but cities and investors need to plan ahead to avoid challenges. Jonny Kennaugh / Unsplash

By Carlo Ratti, Ida Auken

On the window of a bike shop in Copenhagen, a sign reads: Your next car is a bike.

Read More Show Less
An American flag waves in the wind at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California on May 17 where a trial against Monsanto took place. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Six of the nineteen wind turbines which were installed on Frodsham Marsh, near the coal-powered Fiddler's Ferry power station, in Helsby, England on Feb. 7, 2017.

Sales of electric cars are surging and the world is generating more and more power from renewable sources, but it is not enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the global climate crisis, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Read More Show Less
"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less