Solar Energy Policy in Maine 2016

In 2016, the United States and Canada had a beautiful blossom-filled spring, an ideal wedding season. But while the temperature may have been ideal, the actual weather was anything but. Over the course of the year, the two countries suffered more droughts and heat waves than they had in decades. The worst was undoubtedly the summer of 2016, characterized by record-breaking temperatures and crippling drought, particularly in the American West. This led to a rash of devastating wildfires, which destroyed thousands of homes and forced thousands of families to flee their homes.

While it’s certainly not the first time that climate change has threatened the stability of North America, the sheer ferocity of this year’s wildfires is surely a chilling reminder of what is at stake. The fires have since been mostly extinguished, but the psychological toll of the summer of flames remains. The United States, in particular, is struggling to move on. In a recent Gallup poll, 47% of Americans said that climate change was a “very important issue”, compared to 38% who thought it was “somewhat important” and 15% who thought it was “not important at all”. These statistics are particularly telling in light of the fact that more than half of the respondents were former Trump voters, who had rallied to his cause during the height of the drought, only to see him go down in flames.

Despite the setbacks, there were many positive developments in the world of solar energy in 2016. The year began with massive protests around the globe in support of ecological and climate causes. These rallies were followed by decisive governmental actions, such as France’s adoption of a full-fledged universal basic income program. The year ended with a clear indication that the future of electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy is looking up.

Record-breaking Solar Installations

Perhaps the most significant development in the solar sphere in 2016 is the fact that America’s appetite for solar energy only increased. Between January and June of this year, solar installations grew by 24% compared to figures from the same period in 2015. Similarly, throughout the year, the prices of solar energy systems decreased, which means that more people have the financial means to invest in solar power. These trends are reflected in Figure 1, which demonstrates the meteoric rise of solar energy in the United States over the past few years.

According to figures from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the solar market grew by 17% in 2016 compared to figures from 2015. In January to June of this year, there were 281,000 new residential solar system installations in the United States, which is an increase of 24% compared to figures from a year earlier. The number of new commercial solar installations also increased by 23% in the same period.

The global solar markets are growing too. Figure 2, which displays statistics from the International Energy Agency (IEA), reveals a 31% increase in solar installations across the world in 2016 compared to 2015. During the past year, solar power grew significantly in India, China, and much of Southeast Asia. Solar energy is now available for nearly every home and business in these countries, which has driven the overall market upward. The IEA predicts that by 2022, one-third of the world’s energy will come from solar power.

Maine’s Renewable Energy Mandate

Another major development in 2016 related to solar power is the fact that the State of Maine adopted a renewable energy mandate, requiring all electrical utilities in the state to purchase enough power from renewable sources to meet 100% of the state’s needs by 2035. According to the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC), this new law goes into effect in January 2021 and will require all utilities to transition to more sustainable energy sources.

In other states, such as California and Hawaii, similar laws have been proposed, but have yet to be passed. This legislation will ensure that the supply of renewable energy meets the state’s growing demand, which is good for economic growth and job security. As a result of these developments, state and local governments across the United States are investing in solar energy, creating jobs and boosting the overall economy. The State of Maine’s decision to pass such a law is a clear indication that voters understand the growing threats posed by climate change and believe that investment in renewable energy is the key to a sustainable future. This law will require all utilities to purchase enough power from renewable sources to meet 100% of the state’s needs by 2035. Moreover, it will reduce carbon emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2030.

Record-breaking Electric Vehicle Sales

The automotive industry witnessed major breakthroughs in 2016, with global electric vehicle sales increasing by 39% compared to figures from 2015. This was due in large part to lower prices, which is great for consumers.

According to research firm LMC Automotive, electric vehicle sales were up 48% in 2016 compared to 2015, with volume up 69% in January to June compared to the same period in 2015. This is particularly impressive considering that prices decreased by 26% in 2016 compared to 2015 (see Figure 3). These trends indicate that more and more people are realizing the benefits of electric vehicles, which is great for the environment because they eliminate gas-guzzling cars and reduce carbon emissions. Moreover, due to their zero-emission nature, electric vehicles are perfect for areas that suffer from air pollution, such as cities.

Despite the fact that 2016 was a banner year for renewable energy, the news was not all good. The price of solar energy rose by 77% in 2016 due to increased demand and limited supply. This situation will continue in the coming years, which is why it’s so important to plan for the future now. Investing in renewable energy now means that you’ll save money in the long run and ensure a stable source of electricity for your home.

Fortunately, there are measures that we can take to ensure that the news is positive in the long term. One option is to invest in green household products and technologies. If you buy green toilet paper, detergents, and air fresheners, you’ll be doing your part in protecting the environment. Similarly, switching to a more sustainable energy supplier can mean significant costs savings in the long run. These savings will then be reinvested into sustainable projects, expanding the benefits of green energy even further.

There’s still a lot of work to be done. As mentioned, climate change is one of the major issues that the world needs to combat, and the effects of rising temperatures are already being felt. In addition to being a major cause of climate change, fossil fuels (such as oil and coal) are also a major source of pollution, contributing to air, soil, and water contamination. Moreover, it’s vital to promote sustainable energy use and discourage the generation of harmful plastics. All of these factors make combating climate change a major priority.

Record-breaking Wind Energy Installations

Another important source of renewable energy is wind power. Due to the fact that it doesn’t require much in the way of resources to produce, wind energy grew by 56% in 2016 compared to 2015. This is attributed to the fact that more people are realizing the many advantages of this type of energy (see Figure 2).

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), there were 13,600 new wind energy installations in the United States in 2016. This represents an increase of 56% compared to figures from 2015. In addition to new residential and commercial installations, there were also significant increases in the number of turbines, tower tops, and powerhouse capacity, which are all associated with wind power. Moreover, the cost of wind power has continued to decline, resulting in more people having the financial means to invest in this type of energy. These trends are reflective of the AWEA’s 2017 forecast, which indicates that the wind power industry will add 17,500 jobs and generate $16.9 billion in new economic activity by the end of 2020.

It’s crucial to promote renewable energy production and use to combat climate change. In its report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted the importance of decarbonizing the energy sector, particularly the transportation and industrial sectors. The report stated that reducing carbon emissions will be a key element in limiting global temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius.

If we’re serious about combating climate change, we need to begin with a paradigm shift, moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. The good news is that we are now at a tipping point, where investment in wind, solar, and other types of renewable energy is becoming more affordable and accessible. We also need to be looking at more sustainable energy choices, such as hydrogen fuel cells and electric vehicles. If we want to avoid the most serious effects of climate change, we need to begin immediately.

It’s time to put America and Canada’s thirst for energy into action. As the world’s largest energy consumers, we can play a critical role in shifting to a renewable energy future. It’s time to begin a new era of energy independence and security for North America and beyond.

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