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Solar's Existential Threat to America's Electricity Industry

Government incentives have long sought to boost the viability of renewable energy sources. Though it accounts for less than a quarter of 1 percent of America's power generation, utility companies say its time to stop subsidizing solar.
July 29, 2013, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"For years, power companies have watched warily as solar panels have sprouted across the nation’s rooftops. Now, in almost panicked tones, they are fighting hard to slow the spread," reports Diane Cardwell. "Alarmed by what they say has become an existential threat to their business, utility companies are moving to roll back government incentives aimed at promoting solar energy and other renewable sources of power. At stake, the companies say, is nothing less than the future of the American electricity industry."

"The battle is playing out among energy executives, lawmakers and regulators across the country," she explains. "Nowhere, though, is the battle more heated than in California, home to the nation’s largest solar market and some of the most aggressive subsidies. The outcome has the potential to set the course for solar and other renewable energies for decades to come."

Of note: the recent U.S. energy chart released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory indicates that "solar energy production in the U.S. jumped by 49 percent last year, and wind energy by more than 16 percent," reports John Upton in Grist.

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Published on Friday, July 26, 2013 in The New York Times
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