The Clean Energy Pipeline Is Loaded with Solar Power

Solar represents the largest share of capacity in the clean power pipeline, accounting for 54%, followed by land-based wind at 23%, offshore wind at 13%, and battery storage at 9%.

The American Clean Power Association’s (ACP) Clean Power Quarterly 2021 Q3 Market Report shows the U.S. clean energy industry installed 3,336 MW of new capacity during the third quarter, with additions totaling 15,317 MW in the first three quarters – a 23% increase compared to 2020.

Demand for clean power continues to rise in the third quarter. Overall, a total of 17,442 MW of PPAs have been announced in 2021, representing a 16% increase compared to the same period in 2020.

Source:  Ariana Fine,

Image credit: Zac Durant, Unsplash

Electric Sheep: How solar companies are collaborating with farmers

Two industries are collaborating to create an unlikely pair: sheep and solar panels.

Sheep can graze at solar sites, eating the grass, and in turn maintaining the land; creating a symbiotic relationship between the sheep and the solar panels. The American Solar Grazing Association connects solar companies with shepherds, where the companies basically pay the farmers to use the land.

“A solar company can hire a farmer grazer, rather than hiring a big operations maintenance company,” said Lexie Hain, co-founder of the American Solar Grazing Association.

It’s a win-win situation: solar companies don’t have to use and pay for fossil fuels to maintain the land, and shepherds get access to the land and get paid to graze their sheep.

Knowing that they have to manage the vegetation to prevent shading [over the solar panels]… to go in with mowers using fossil fuels and stuff to the bed is ironic,” said Todd Schmit, Cornell associate professor of agricultural economics. “I think there’s a real opportunity for [farmers] that are faced with land constraints… to have access to a land base or feeding your sheep, and getting paid to do it.”

Cornell is partnering with these farmers and solar companies to dive deeper into the possible business opportunities of this collaboration. Schmit is the researcher leading the three-year project, with $500,000, funded by Cornell and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“We’ll see through the course of this project, whether there’s farmer interest in collaborative marketing, developing a branded product for sheep raised under solar rays…even investment in their processing facilities,” said Schmit. “The point is, it’s a farmer-driven business model.”

New York currently has a goal of 70% renewable energy by 2030. This collaboration could be the catalyst for more development, and further help the state reach those goals.

“I think that this project is going to be instrumental in helping me ensure that there is agricultural use of those solar sites,” said Haim.

The future could even possibly incorporate other livestock sharing the land with solar panels.

“They were thinking even beyond sheep, pasture-raised chickens, or pollinators, or… beehives,” said Schmit.

Who knows, the next slogan could be ‘Poultry & Panels’!

Source: Rhea Jha,,NBC NEWS18

Image credits: Lindsay France, Cornell University

In first, US intel agencies warn climate change driving security threats

White House says Defense Department and other agencies will integrate consequences of global warming into national security planning.

US intelligence services said Thursday for the first time that climate change poses wide-ranging threats to the United States’ national security and stability around the world.

More extreme weather “will increasingly exacerbate a number of risks to US national security interests, from physical impacts that could cascade into security challenges, to how countries respond to the climate challenge,” the White House said in a summary of the intelligence reports.

The prediction was made in the first official assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, which oversees the sprawling US intelligence apparatus.

The document “represents the consensus view of all 18” elements in the intelligence community, the White House said.

According to the agencies, climate change is driving “increased geopolitical tension as countries argue over who should be doing more,” cross-border “flashpoints” as countries respond to climate change impact by trying to secure their own interests, and fallout from climate on national stability in some countries.

On a practical level, US national security bodies will be integrating climate change effects into their planning, the White House said.

The Pentagon, for example, will consider climate change “at every level, which will be essential to train, fight, and win in an increasingly complex environment.”

Migration, a politically sensitive issue on the US southern border, will also be seen partly through the lens of climate change, the White House said.

“This assessment marks the first time the US government is officially recognizing and reporting on this linkage.”

The report was issued just ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which President Joe Biden will be attending.

“With more than 85 percent of global emissions coming from beyond US borders, we alone cannot solve this challenge. We need the rest of the world to accelerate their progress,” a senior US official, who asked not to be identified, told reporters.

“It is definitely a security issue and a national security issue.”

A separate government report issued later Thursday characterized climate-related risk as “an emerging threat to financial stability of the United States,” according to the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

Recommendations included directives for regulators to require additional climate disclosures of companies and other regulated entities and consider mandates for them to undertake “scenario analysis” on climate outcomes.

“This report puts climate change squarely at the forefront of the agenda,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at a meeting of the FSOC, which was set up after the 2008 financial crisis.

Yellen described the report as a “critical first step” as she called for immediate action, saying “the longer we wait to address the underlying causes of climate change, the greater the risk.”

Source: The Times of Israel

Image Credit: Armando Babani/AFP, Bram Janssen/AP