David Throgmorton was ready for an energy boom in 2008. He bought vocational training kits for high school and middle school students. He helped establish a festival to promote a new energy future. He even preached a new tomorrow to grade school students. But here in Carbon County, where fossil fuels once were king, Throgmorton wasn’t ecstatic about a new oil play, gas deposit or coal mine. He was excited about wind.
Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors, sat in a glass-walled conference room here last week in the company’s auto factory. Around him, workers and robots were building the $70,000 luxury vehicles that have redefined how people think about electric cars. But autos are just one of Mr. Musk’s many projects. A South African-born billionaire and entrepreneur, he is the top investor in the country’s largest provider of rooftop solar power, runs a private rocket company, and in a blog post last week pledged to create a ride-sharing car service and battery-powered trucks and buses. And then there is his plan for the world’s largest battery factory. The so-called Gigafactory, in Nevada, is to be unveiled this week.
The White House on Thursday announced an array of new initiatives aimed at clinching one key goal in a transition away from burning fossil fuels — switching the nation’s millions of drivers from gas guzzlers to electric vehicles. The key to this transition? Installing a widespread national network of electric vehicle charging stations that will allow potential drivers to get around a key psychological problem: “range anxiety.” At present, many people are justifiably afraid that they’ll run out of charge on their EV far from a station where they can repower its battery. We know it’s easy in most places to find a gas station, but we don’t know as much about charging stations. And without that assurance, EV sales will continue to be held back.
The White House on Thursday rolled out several initiatives to boost electric vehicles, including expanding a $4.5 billion loan guarantee program to include EV charging technology. The administration launched a plan to develop a national network of electric vehicle charging stations and identify “zero emission and alternative fuel” corridors. It plans to partner with local governments to procure electric vehicles at a discount and host an “electric vehicle hackathon” this fall to explore innovations in electric vehicle charging.
Sweden’s Vattenfall will invest 3 billion Swedish crowns ($349 million) in a Scottish offshore wind farm that U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tried to stop being built near his luxury golf course in Scotland. State-owned utility Vattenfall, which will take 100 percent ownership of the project from Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, described its investment as a vote of confidence in Britain after the nation’s decision to leave the European Union.
Tesla Motors Inc. CEO and co-founder Elon Musk envisions a future world where driverless Tesla electric vehicles zoom around towns, picking up passengers as needed. Individual car owners would allow the sharing, making money from their cars when not in use. It’s part of his “Master Plan, Part Deux,” unveiled last night. Musk also wants to sell more electric cars that are affordable for most people, make automated driving 10 times safer than manual, and “seamlessly” integrate solar panels and battery storage. He revealed that Tesla is developing electric trucks.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today voted to order up a new standard to tackle cyberthreats lurking in industrial parts and software used to support the U.S. electric grid, despite objections from Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. FERC Chairman Norman Bay and Commissioners Tony Clark and Colette Honorable approved an order that gives the federally appointed grid monitor, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), one year to develop a new standard to better protect industrial control system hardware, software, and computing and networking services tied to the power grid.
Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen unveiled legislation yesterday that would set aside up to $50 billion for a national green bank, buffing his environmental credentials in the race for Maryland’s open Senate seat. Van Hollen’s H.R. 5802, the “United States Green Bank Act of 2016,” would provide loans, loan guarantees and risk management to developers of clean energy and energy efficiency projects and leave discretion for project selection and management with local green banks.
A Texas delegate tilted his hat back when asked about climate change and said, “Ew.” A delegate from Florida lamented his party’s inaction on warming. And one from Wyoming claims it’s a conspiracy to hide the government’s involvement in the spread of a damaging beetle.
Reactions here to the issue of rising temperatures swing sharply between rejection and acceptance, with many falling somewhere in the middle. ClimateWire asked 51 delegates and alternate delegates attending the Republican convention if they agree with scientists that climate change is happening and whether people contribute to it.
It’s almost unheard-of in Washington: Renewable energy legislation with support from both parties. Yet this week, both Democrats and Republicans spoke in favor of important renewable energy reforms that will help create clean, renewable energy and local jobs in the West. The Public Land Renewable Development Act (PLREDA) has been bouncing around Congress for several years, and it may finally have the momentum it needs to pass. PLREDA will provide significant renewable energy development opportunities for communities, primarily in the West, that have an abundance of public lands and resources.