This week a couple of contrasting and noteworthy stories made the headlines which illustrate the slow, but steady progress in the US towards a renewable energy future.
First, LEEDCO the developer behind the Icebreaker project being planned for Lake Erie, just off the coast of Cleveland, Ohio announced that so far it has gathered 4,500 signatures from customers who have pledged to purchase (and pay extra) for the electricity which will be produced by the windfarm.
Also showing support for the project, Cleveland Public Power has already pledged to buy 25% of the project’s electricity, or up to 5 megawatts.
This is an interesting shift from a part of the country not traditionally known for taking a leading role in renewable energy innovation and development. At a gathering in Cleveland this week the Mayor Frank Jackson addressed the crowd.
“This project creates a sustainable economy because money spent on renewable energy installation tends to remain in the community, creating jobs and fueling local economies,” Jackson said. “This is the type of project that I envisioned when I launched Sustainable Cleveland 2019 four years ago to transform our economy.”
The other bookend to this weeks news can be found out in Cheyenne, Wyoming where for the first time there were no bids received to secure the rights to mine a newly opened coal tract in the state.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Beverly Gorny said it as plainly “This is the first time it’s happened in Wyoming”
Market conditions, political uncertainty and cheap natural gas were the main reasons cited for the absence of and interested bidders.
The recognition that fossil fuels are no longer the exclusive way forward, the need for innovation in our energy supply and the serious development of the full range of utility scale alternatives is slowly becoming the accepted norm in the US as it has been for a while throughout the rest of the world – these two stories seem to illustrate some of that important progress nicely.