Climate Central: Obama Announces Plan to Train 75,000 Solar Workers

As part of President Obama’s plans to combat climate change, the White House announced a program on Friday for the U.S. Department of Energy to train 75,000 people to work in the solar power industry by 2020, many of whom will be part of a military veterans jobs initiative called Solar Ready Vets.

The announcement comes as the solar industry in the U.S. booms, adding more than 30,000 people to its workforce between 2013 and 2014. Another 36,000 solar jobs are expected to be added this year. Solar power project prices are falling and investments are streaming toward solar as one of the most promising low-carbon electricity generating technologies used to help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving up global temperatures.

Arizona Republic: Arizona's Solar Water-Heating Industry Cools Off

Arizona utilities have been battling with rooftop solar-electric companies over rates, and the solar water-heating industry is suffering serious collateral damage.

Utilities across the country are targeting solar electric for higher fees, including Salt River Project, which added fees that could average $50 a month for new solar-electric customers. Arizona Public Service has proposed raising solar-electric monthly fees to $21.

"We have so much negative talk about solar and the fear of a $50-a-month surcharge in SRP and what is coming in APS, that it has really taken a toll on us," said Jim Combs, who runs Conservative Energy Systems in Mesa with his brother.

Politico: Tom Steyer’s Group Shutters Climate Policy Arm as Political Efforts Ramp Up

The nonprofit launched by environmentalist Tom Steyer is shutting down its climate and energy program, in a likely signal that the billionaire is shifting resources to his organization’s political arm ahead of the presidential elections.
Next Generation, co-founded by Steyer in 2011, plans to end its climate policy work and continue as a “nonprofit incubator,” energy program leader Kate Gordon wrote in an email obtained by Politico.

The move doesn’t mean Steyer is giving up on his pledges to make the environment and climate change major campaign themes in 2016. In fact, it indicates that Steyer will probably shift more resources away from his organization’s policy arm and toward its political efforts, including his super PAC NextGen Climate Action.

CBS: Iran Deal Blocks Pathways to Bomb, Says Energy Secretary

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said that the framework for a nuclear deal with Iran addresses every way the country could possibly get a nuclear weapon and gives the international community "unprecedented access and transparency" to Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

There is a fair amount of concern about the deal -- which would scale back Iran's nuclear facilities in exchange for long-term sanctions relief from the international community -- among both members of Congress and some U.S. allies, including Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for example, has argued that the deal does not do enough to slow Iran's ability to create a nuclear weapon.

Dallas Morning News: As Wind Power Booms, Texas Lawmakers Consider Yanking Support

Thousands of wind turbines have sprung up across West Texas and up and down the Gulf Coast. Companies as diverse as Google and Dow Chemical are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Texas in a race to lower their carbon emissions. With almost 20 percent of the country’s total capacity, Texas has become the undisputed king of wind energy.

With so much success, state politicians are asking whether it’s time for Texas to end its support for the renewable power industry.