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Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shares his country's mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation. TED / YouTube screenshot

Let's be real: Renewable energy is super cool. Harnessing virtually limitless energy from the natural world? Check. Without releasing dangerous carbon pollution into our atmosphere? Double check.

Around the world, cities, states, countries, and companies are making the switch to clean, renewable energy to help stop climate change. Better yet? It just makes good economic sense.

Here are five eye-opening TED Talks that show how renewables are taking over every corner of the world — from Bhutan to Costa Rica, back to Germany, and more.

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Excitement over a new solar installation. Black Rock Solar / CC BY 2.0

By Lacey Shaver

When a city decides to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, headlines follow. But the work has only just begun. Cities have many options for generating and purchasing renewable electricity, each of which comes with distinct benefits and challenges.

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A new study based on data from the Energy Information Agency found that coal plants are now far more expensive to run than wind and solar power projects. reynermedia / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

In propping up the coal industry, the Trump administration is not only contributing to dangerous pollution, fossil fuel emissions and the climate crisis, it is also now clinging to a far more expensive energy production model than renewable energy offers.

That's according to a new report from renewable energy analysis firm Energy Innovation, showing that about three-quarters of power produced by the nation's remaining coal plants is more expensive for American households than renewables including wind, solar and hydro power.

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The Timber Road II Wind Farm's 52 windmills in Paulding County, Ohio, generate enough electricity to power 29,000 homes. David Grant / Flickr

By Jeff Turrentine

From a political standpoint, defending coal consumption is harder than ever. Coal is far and away the dirtiest fossil fuel there is in terms of carbon emissions and regular old air pollution (and its messy mining practices certainly aren't helping its reputation). And when you factor in health care costs, environmental costs, and costs to local communities in the form of reduced tourism and property values, coal is also a real loser economically speaking—especially in relation to natural gas and renewables like wind and solar.

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Pexels

Today, the U.S. celebrates Presidents Day, a day to commemorate the leadership and legacy of the so-far only men who have governed the country since its founding.

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The Paradise Fossil Plant in western Kentucky. CC BY 3.0

Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.

Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.

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"Energy harvest." K.H.Reichert / Flickr

By Dan Lashof

The Green New Deal means different things to different people. In some ways, that's part of its appeal. On the other hand, a Green New Deal can't mean anything anyone wants it to, or it will come to mean nothing at all.

More concept than concrete plan so far, the Green New Deal would fight climate change while simultaneously creating good jobs and reducing economic inequality. Described in such broad terms, more than 80 percent of U.S. registered voters support it, including majorities across the political spectrum, according to a survey conducted by Yale and George Mason universities. (Most respondents had never heard of the Green New Deal when the survey was conducted, so these findings no doubt depend on how the question was worded and will change as specific proposals are fleshed out and debated.)

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Wind farms dominate the landscape in West Texas. Robert Coy / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

During the 2016 campaign and in various postelection rallies, President Trump promised to save America's flagging coal industry and put the nation's coal miners "back to work." While Trump continues to labor under the delusion that easing emissions standards will somehow resuscitate the coal industry, his administration's own numbers tell a different story. In fact, more U.S. coal plants have been deactivated in the first two years of Donald Trump's presidency than were taken offline during President Obama's entire first term. Domestic coal use in 2018 was also the lowest it's been since Jimmy Carter was in office.

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Nancy Pelosi takes the gavel from House minority leader Kevin McCarthy after being elected House speaker. SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images

By Rhea Suh

Minutes after opening the 116th Congress last week, incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued a stirring call to national action on what she called "the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis."

In Pelosi we have a leader who is listening to the science—and to the American people across the country as they rally around the urgent need for effective action to stem this global scourge.

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Kauai Island Utility Cooperative /YouTube screenshot

Hawaii has a new, game-changing tool in its renewable energy arsenal. Power producer AES Corporation and the not-for-profit Kaua'i island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) unveiled what's claimed to be the world's largest solar-plus-storage peaker on the island of Kauai on Tuesday, the Lāwa'i Solar and Energy Storage Project.

This is a significant step to help the Aloha State reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045, one of the most aggressive decarbonization targets in the nation.

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Wind turbine and the Tricastin Nuclear Power Plant in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, France. Sylvain Sonnet / Corbis Documentary / Getty Images

By Grant Smith

Last year the Trump administration's Energy Department announced the launch of a media campaign to counter what an official called "misinformation" about nuclear power. We haven't noticed an upsurge in pro-nuclear news—because there is none to report.

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