With the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil is undergoing a seismic political shift that promises to transform everything from public spending to workers’ rights in South America’s largest country. But the extent to which it will affect the nation’s climate diplomacy and domestic environmental agenda remains to be seen. Experts offer widely different views on everything from the quality of the Rousseff government’s environmental legacy to the likelihood of the new conservative government maintaining deforestation protections and international emissions commitments.
On the job just six months as the chief resilience officer in Florida’s largest county, Jim Murley has gotten pretty good at his climate change 101 speech. It’s out of necessity. As the Earth’s temperature rises, the oceans warm, he told a crowd at a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce event this spring. When water gets warmer, it expands, and the seas rise. And if glacial melt accelerates as predicted in Greenland and Antarctica, Florida is in even more trouble, he warned. “We’re on a peninsula surrounded by water,” Murley said. “That defines the very issue that we have to deal with as we think about sea-level rise and climate change.”
Poland has adopted a new law banning construction of wind farms close to dwellings and hiking project costs in a move which the industry says could hobble Poland’s move to renewables and away from coal. Wind farms must be built at a distance from housing of at least 10 times the height of the turbine, or about 1.5 to 2 km, under the law which was adopted by the lower house of parliament on Friday.
A pair of Republican state attorneys general are calling on U.S. EPA to halt all work related to the Clean Power Plan while the rule remains frozen by the Supreme Court. In February, the high court halted EPA’s program for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants pending the resolution of complex litigation.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) penned a letter to EPA, accusing the agency of not according the court’s decision “proper respect.”
US federal researchers estimate construction of floating offshore wind farms off California would inject up to $40bn into the state economy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory analysed the employment and economic impacts of two hypothetical scenarios: 16GW by 2050 and 10GW by 2050.
“The fish are happy, the frogs are happy, the ducks came back. It’s a very healthy pond.” In two years, if construction goes as planned, 50,904 panels will float atop the reservoir, generating enough electricity to power almost 5,000 homes, according to Kyocera, the company building the solar plant. The project, once completed, will be the largest installation of its kind in the world. But floating solar arrays are becoming more popular, with installations already operating in Australia and the United States, and more planned or under construction.
There’s a new world record for solar cell efficiency. Engineers at the University of New South Wales in Australia announced this week that they had turned 34.5 percent of unconcentrated sunlight into electricity, blowing away the old world record by 44 percent. Previously, scientists had achieved an electric conversion rate of more than 40 percent, but only by using mirrors that concentrate light. There’s never been such a high electricity conversion rate tapping regular sunlight without concentrators, according to the university.
China-based Goldwind, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, is buying into Texas for the first time with its largest wind farm in the U.S. Rapidly growing Goldwind just surpassed Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems as the world’s top wind turbine supplier, according to a new report Wednesday from Navigant Research. Other giants like Germany’s Siemens and General Electric ranked just behind.
State lawmakers and the developer of the largest onshore wind farm in America are increasingly at odds these days. The subject of their strife: a proposal to raise Wyoming’s wind-generation tax. Power Company of Wyoming officials say the measure puts in limbo their plans to build 1,000 turbines in Carbon County. The 3,000 megawatt project — enough to power nearly 1 million homes — will be left at a disadvantage relative to renewable producers in other states, they argue. Wyoming is already the only state in the country with a wind-generation tax.
The White House is likely to issue a veto threat over the bill’s rejection of the administration’s Mission Innovation initiative to double energy research and development funding over five years. The House spending bill would fund the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at $1.825 billion, about a billion below the White House request.