Renewable Energy Investments Increase, Integrated Pest Management in Schools and More

Learn about how renewable energy investments are increasing, how Seattle schools are protecting students from pesticides, and Stoneyfield Farm’s initiative to go solar.

Solar Panels

Green power currently accounts for about 2 percent of America’s electricity supply, but investment is accelerating the development of renewable energy.

PHOTO: FOTOLIA/ HIMMELSSTURM

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Green Energy Investments Rise

Renewable energy investments in the United States now support 2,200 megawatts — up more than 1,000 percent in five years, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy. Green power currently accounts for about 2 percent of America’s electricity supply, but investment is accelerating the development of renewable energy. The number of residential customers who buy green power has more than doubled over the past five years, and green energy purchases by large businesses and other U.S. organizations have also increased dramatically. The new report also notes that as wind power has become more competitive with natural gas over the past five years, the premiums consumers pay for power from renewable sources have declined at an average annual rate of 8 percent.

Seattle Adopts Pesticide Policy

Last fall, the Seattle School Board adopted a policy to protect students from exposure to hazardous pesticides at area schools. The policy requires parental notification prior to pesticide use, severely restricts the use of the most toxic pesticides and calls for the implementation of integrated pest management at all school sites. For more information, go to the Washington Toxics Coalition website.

Solar-Made Yogurt

New Hampshire’s largest solar power array, about 10 times larger than any other solar project in the state, sits atop Stonyfield Farm’s 120,000-square-foot organic yogurt facility in Londonderry. The 5,000-square-foot photovoltaic array will generate about 50,000 watts of energy on sunny days — comparable to the amount of electricity 10 average-sized homes use annually. “This project is another step for us on our journey toward our dream of freeing Stonyfield Farm from the impacts and risks of fossil fuels,” says Gary Hirshberg, the company’s CEO.