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It’s just good business: Even red states are dumping coal for solar

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Arizona, despite being GOP-dominated, is number 3 in the US for residential solar power production. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, Arizona homeowners put in 52.83 megawatts of new solar installations. As for industrial-scale solar, Arizona utility APS generates 1.4 gigawatts worth of solar power, equivalent to a small nuclear plant. APS’s rival TEP is planning residential solar installations in 90,000 Arizona homes. APS is also pursuing new storage capacity and wind power. Arizona now generates more electricity from solar than from hydroelectricity, though its 4 gigawatt Palo Verde nuclear plant is one of the state’s most important sources of power.

All five members of Georgia’s Public Service Commission are Republicans, and they just decided to double their order for new solar power and to close a coal plant, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Matt Kempner. They are planning enough solar to power 200,000 homes. Georgia has 3.2 million households, so that is 6% of the state’s homes. This is only the beginning, since solar panels over time are rapidly dropping in price and increasing in efficiency. These Republican officials haven’t taken these decisions to be politically correct or because they fear the climate emergency produced by the world spewing 37 billion metric tons a year of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They made the decision because it makes good economic sense. And if even this GOP-dominated body in Red State is going in this direction, fossil fuels are doomed.

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New Orleans has decided to add 90 megawatts of solar power, nearly doubling Louisana’s current 99 MW. Although there are questions about implementation, the decision itself is remarkable in the part of the country. Louisiana is a center of petroleum production and refining and its politicians have often been hostile to renewables.

Texas has been, inexplicably, a laggard in the solar sector. It is a wind giant. But precisely for that reason, solar installations are increasing and the state has jumped to sixth in the country for solar production. That is because wind typically blows harder at night, so that putting in solar farms helps smooth out energy production and take up the slack. Trump tried to retard the growth of solar by slapping tariffs on less expensive Chinese panels, but technological advances have kept the panel prices plummeting and it is still cheaper to put in a wind farm than a new coal or gas plant. In fact, it in Texas it is probably cheaper to put in a new wind farm than just to go on operating existing coal and gas plants.

So, to summarize: Republican decision-makers increasingly see solar as just a good business investment that produces electricity more cost-effectively than coal. One important consideration is that the fuel is free, so that municipalities that want 25-year bids favor renewables over fossil fuels. Who knows how expensive natural gas will be in 2044? But sun and wind will still be free. And it should be underlined that the potential for increases in efficiency and decreases in price in solar panels is enormous. Coal is typically figured to produce electricity at 5 cents a kilowatt hour (it is actually more like 80 cents a kilowatt hour if you figure in the health and environmental destruction). Idaho just agreed to pay Jackpot holdings about 2.2 cents a kilowatt hour for 120 megawatts of solar-produced electricity. At that price, coal is a dead man walking. Even in a red state like Idaho.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump is ‘having a full-blown mental breakdown’ and needs to resign: Ex-Trump staffer

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Leading Republican elected officials should work with President Donald Trump's family to negotiate him resigning from office, a former top White House official suggested on MSNBC on Friday.

Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci blasted his former boss during an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC's "Meet the Press Daily."

"He has totally and completely lost it. There is nobody that can look at the situation, read the tweets, look at the press sprays, and say he hasn’t lost it," Scaramucci argued.

"What does that mean, lost it?" Todd asked. "Define that."

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Obama’s chief economist warns of ‘a very high chance’ Trump’s trade war could cause 2020 recession

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The former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama warned of "a very high chance" of Trump's trade war with China resulting in a recession -- "just in time for 2020."

Austan Goolsbee was interviewed by MSNBC's John Heilemann on Friday after the DJIA closed down over 600 points after the trade war escalated on Friday.

"Just give us, if you would, Austan, your sense of what has unfolded today and how bad it is," Heilemann asked.

"Yes, it’s terrible, I'm phoning from a bunker as we speak," Goolsbee replied.

"There hasn’t been a day like this in a very long time. Yes, the markets sell a lot but the fact we’re going to have an escalating trade war, the president of the United States is publicly declaring the head of the Fed an enemy of the state and, oh, by the way, 40% of the Amazon is on fire and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being treated for pancreatic cancer," he continued. "If this is on a Friday, it makes it bad for Monday."

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Trump responds to China raising tariffs — by raising tariffs on over half a trillion dollars in Chinese goods

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After US markets tanked on Friday, President Donald Trump dramatically escalated his trade war with China.

"For many years China (and many other countries) has been taking advantage of the United States on trade, intellectual property theft, and much more. Our country has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year to China, with no end in sight," Trump tweeted.

"Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of fair and balanced trade that it has become a great burden to the American taxpayer. As President, I can no longer allow this to happen," he argued.

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