GE Focuses on Wind and Solar

GE Solar Panels on Carport

At the end of June, GE announced it was shrinking to grow. Spinning off much of its other units it will retain three key manufacturing industries: engines, solar, and wind.

GE’s focus on solar and wind is important as it shows these areas as what GE believes to be growth sectors.

The Monroe County Environmental Commission holds the same view. Our latest data show consistent savings to taxpayers when investments are made in solar on County buildings.

Advertisements

Solar Panels on All Homes?

The State of California is poised to usher in a requirement that all new homes and multi home structures be built with solar panels. The LA Times reported that these changes will take place in 2020. The rule would also include a provision for a minimum amount of insulation. These are ambitious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This story might seem far fetched in Indiana where our legislature creates disincentives for solar on residential. However, I counter that what California does now, we will be considering in a decade.

Predictions aside, follow the ambitious regulations coming out of California. It certainly gives food for thought.

Scott Pruitt and the EPA

I’m sure you have heard all about the scandals swirling around the EPA and Scott Pruitt in particular. While the investigations are ongoing, and further allegations are announced or leaked, it is too soon for a verdict.

However it is incumbent upon us to stay informed and vote.

I encourage you to stay up to date on energy and environment developments:

The second thing you should do this month is vote! Early voting in Monroe County is going on now through the May 09th primary. There are great candidates running on the federal, state, and local levels. Do your research and vote! Find out more at http://monroecountyvoters.us/voterinformation.html.

EPA Budget Cuts to Hurt Hoosiers

Abram Hurt writes for thestatehousefile.com and covered Indiana Legislators arguing that the proposed 31% cut to the EPA Budget would directly effect Indiana. Read his article in the previous link or in today’s Herald Times.

This is not a new argument. In fact, in a post written in January, I covered the EPA’s Gina McCarthy talk at IU where she sounded the same warning for Indiana.

These proposed cuts are a clear example of how Federal policy directly touches the lives of Hoosiers. Call your federal elected officials and tell them that Indiana’s air, water, and natural resources are in need of protection!

Light Rail in Indiana

A bright light of mass transit in Indiana arrived as January came to a close. The Indiana House lifted the ban on light rail in the counties in and around Indianapolis. The IBJ article covering this is here.

We’ll see what the Senate and eventually the Governor will do…

It is worth noting that China is heavily investing in light rail as a solution to growing cities. They are also using exciting technology. See an intersting article here. The reason this is worth noting is that the House is reacting to a major employer considering Indiana. If we don’t start improving our mass transit systems to catch up to Chinese and other country’s investments, we will find it very difficult to attract an increasingly urban workforce.

It would also benefit our great state and our ability to attract and retain an educated workforce by investing in regional mass transit.

EPA’s Gina McCarthy Offers 3 Reasons to be Optimistic

EPA Admin  Gina McCarthy at Indiana University

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy came to Bloomington last night. Read her (bio), and follow her on Twitter (@ginaepa).

She offered three reasons to be optimistic despite a Trump Administration’s proposed 31% cut to the EPA budget.

  1. We are living in the midst of a Clean Energy Revolution that doesn’t depend on Washington budgets, but is driven by the markets. This is clearly evident in Monroe County by the growth of solar installations on County and residential structures. She mentioned that this revolution could move faster with government investment, which we are seeing in Monroe County!
  2. A Transportation Revolution is on the horizon. Driverless vehicles and electric cars are rapidly developing. Numerous countries are also looking to ban the internal combustion engine. McCarthy also warned that China will soon lead the way in green technology and US companies will be looking East to catch up. Fortunately here in Monroe County there are already electric car charging stations, as I wrote about in October 2017.
  3. McCarthy urged unity and continued effort which is something Monroe County is very good at doing! To this end two groups brought Administrator McCarthy to Bloomington. Indiana University’s Environmental Resiliency Institute and the newly formed Concerned Scientists at IU.

The EPAs Janet McCabe was also in the audience. The Monroe County Environmental Commission brought her to Bloomington in 2016 for a talk on the Clean Power Plan.