Renewable energy industry news roundup: May 16-22, 2016

Renewable energy industry news roundup: May 16-22, 2016

Image: Ben Franske / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Microsoft continues its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, offshore wind projects have the potential to create 19,000 jobs in Virginia, and a new report from FERC report shows that nearly all new electric capacity added in Q1 of 2016 was renewable energy. Read these stories and more in this week's roundup.

Report: Virginia has 19,000 Wind Power Jobs in the Air

Virginia could potentially support 14,000 offshore wind-related jobs and 5,000 composite material manufacturing jobs annually through 2030, according to a recent report created in partnership with Virginia Tech that was led by the American Jobs Project. Although the U.S. offshore wind industry is not yet moving at full tilt, many expect the industry to develop. If it does, technicians with specialized skills will be needed to carry out these projects.

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Microsoft Pledges to Use More Renewable Energy in its Data Centers

Microsoft recently announced it will step up its commitment to reduce the impact its data centers have on the environment. The company aims to reach 50 percent use of renewable energy to power its data centers by 2018 and top 60 percent in the next decade. “Across the tech sector, we need to recognize that data centers will rank by the middle of the next decade among the largest users of electrical power on the planet,” said Brad Smith, the company's president and chief legal officer.

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FERC: Virtually all New Electric Capacity Added in Q1 2016 was Renewable

A Q1 infrastructure update from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) shows renewable energy made up almost all new capacity added in the United States so far this year: 1,291 MW, compared to 18 MW of new gas capacity and no nuclear or coal. More than 700 MW of wind and 500 MW of solar were added in the first quarter, from a combined 53 new generating facilities. However, it's important to note that natural gas, coal and nuclear power still dominate overall.

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Doubling Global Renewable Energy Could Save More Than 4 Million Lives, According to IRENA

According to a new brief published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), doubling the global share of renewable energy could dramatically decrease worldwide energy pollution, and save up to 4 million lives per year by 2030. The biggest health benefits would come in some of the world's biggest coal countries, such as China, India, Indonesia, and the U.S., as well as in developing countries, where traditional bio-energy (such as burning coal or wood) is used for heat.

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