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Georgia prepares for the end of COVID-19 emergency; comment period open for experimental nuclear tech in eastern ID; Mexican gray wolf population rebounds in Arizona.


Lawmakers grill the CEO of Tik Tok over national security concerns, the House Pro-Choice Caucus aims to repeal the Helms Act and allow U.S. foreign aid to support abortion care, and attempts to ban or restrict books hit a record high as groups take aim at LBGTQ+ titles.


Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Report: US Lags in Clean Energy; Illinois Keeping Pace


Wednesday, March 30, 2011   

CHICAGO - While the green industry continues to bloom around the world, a new report finds the United States as a whole is falling behind in the global clean-energy race.

A record $243 billion was invested around the world in clean energy last year, according to research by the Pew Charitable Trusts. While the United States saw a 51 percent increase in clean-energy investments last year,
Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew Clean Energy Programs, says it slipped down a notch in competitive position.

"The United States, which had dropped from first to second in 2009, has slipped even further down the ladder to No. 3 behind both China and Germany."

Cuttino says nations without clear energy policies lost investors, but the United States stayed in the game thanks in part to 30 states, including Illinois, which passed their own energy standards. Illinois law requires utilities to produce 25 percent of their electricity with renewables by 2025.

Cuttino says state laws can encourage investment but more needs to be done on the national level.

"What's keeping the United States in the game? This patchwork of state policies, 30 renewable electricity standards at the state level. That's what's keeping America in the game, but that's not enough over the long term."

The United States pioneered much of solar technology and once exported 40 percent of the world's solar panels, she says, but now it imports more than half of our solar panels from China.

Mark Burger, president of the Illinois Solar Energy Association, says Illinois is making some progress when it comes to clean-energy investment.

"Things get done on kind of a piecemeal basis, almost if not haphazard. It almost happens not because of, but in spite of."

Burger says new policies in Illinois have helped somewhat.

"Illinois is one of the top 10 states in large-scale wind power. They are not in the top 10 in solar or small-scale wind."

While the United States came in second in wind-energy capacity worldwide, the study says, it installed 50 percent fewer gigawatts of wind power last year than in 2009.

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