renewable energy

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

In an effort to reduce Pittsburgh's environmental impact and improve air quality, the city is launching a set of goals to achieve by 2030.

Outlined in the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan are the following goals:

Renewables In The Trump Era: Doomed Or Too Big To Fail?

Aug 24, 2017
John Stamets / Flickr

Donald Trump is a big fan of fossil fuels. Renewables not so much.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At a renewable energy roundtable discussion held Friday, Mayor Bill Peduto and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) agreed that climate change is the biggest threat facing civilization, and that in the absence of federal leadership, states and cities will have to step up.

NRG Energy

When Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt visited a Greene County coal mine last week, he said, to applause, “the war on coal is done.”

In California, there is so much solar energy that grid operators have to switch off solar farms. One solution of dealing with the additional power generated is to share the renewable wealth across state borders – but in the West, it's sparking some not-so-neighborly opposition.

Nancy Traweek's job is to balance California's electrical grid at the California Independent System Operator, keeping the lights on for 30 million people. She relies on huge natural gas power plants that put out a steady stream of electricity.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

You need office space and classrooms for children with room for a few experiments -- just enough to put your hands in the earth and squiggle around. But you can't use any toxic construction materials. And once it's built, it has to both recycle its own water and produce more energy and than it consumes.

That was the challenge mastered last year by Phipps Conservatory when its Center for Sustainable Landscapes became Pittsburgh's first structure to meet the strict environmental requirements of the Living Building Challenge.

Marufish / Flickr

SolarCity, the largest solar energy provider in the nation, announced Monday it's extending service into the western Pennsylvania region.

Climate State / Flickr

Residents and hobbyists are invited to see some 20 homes and businesses harnessing solar power in the area as part of Saturday's 5th Annual Pittsburgh Solar Tour.

“People can go to places within their neighborhood or maybe take a little bit of a trip farther out to see the solar installations that are throughout the region,” said Lauren Fraley, director of communications at Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, or PennFuture, the event’s organizer.

CO2 emissions accounted for 82 percent of all U.S. human greenhouse gases in 2012, and with renewable fuels becoming more and more popular researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have asked how to dispose of CO2, and maybe make it into a renewable fuel.

Past efforts to convert CO2 consumed more fuel than they produced according to John Keith, an R.K. Mellon faculty fellow in energy.

What Role Will Coal Play in Pennsylvania's Future?

Jul 30, 2014
Joseph A / flickr

Coal has long played an important role in the history of western Pennsylvania. It was coal that was excavated in the areas surrounding Pittsburgh, and then shipped to the city where it was used to power the steel mills.

It made for an effective system of production, but the smog that blanketed the city could turn days into nights.

Following World War II, civic leaders sought to clean up Pittsburgh, and reducing smog was particularly important. That struggle continues today- coal is still a major player in local energy, but the government is still looking to further curtail its pollution.

The EPA announced it’s Clean Power Plan in June, and hearings are being held this week in several U.S. cities. One of those cities is Pittsburgh- the biggest city in Appalachia, the heart of coal country. Environmentalists strongly support the reforms, but plenty of citizens in the region worry about a loss of jobs and an increase in energy prices.

Climate change activist Bill McKibben has been spending considerable time in Pittsburgh recently, first for the Power Shift 2013 conference in October, and on Monday to receive an award from the Thomas Merton Center.

The Thomas Merton Center bills itself as “Pittsburgh’s peace and social justice center,” and along with McKibben, they are launching a campaign to pressure the City of Pittsburgh and other regional institutions to divest from the fossil fuel industry.