Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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

A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. CARLOS FABAL / AFP via Getty Images

NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
A baby receives limited treatment at a hospital in Yemen on June 27, 2020. Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2006 oil spill was the largest incident in Philippine history and damaged 1,600 acres of mangrove forests. Shubert Ciencia / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jun N. Aguirre

An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.

Read More Show Less