Snowpack levels in California’s Sierra Nevada are the lowest in at least five centuries, according to a sobering new academic report that warns that the ongoing drought could continue for the foreseeable future. At issue is a report, led by researchers at the University of Arizona, that used tree-ring data to estimate that low 2015 snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada are “unprecedented in the context of the past 500 years,” according to the two-page report, published online today in the journal Nature Climate Change.
At 12:45 on a muggy Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C., guitar notes rang out in the crowded cafeteria of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Stern-looking suit-clad men and women huddled over lunch or papers, or deep in conversation, were startled out of their activities by a flash mob of elderly citizens. “We’re on a planet that has a problem,” they chanted, gesturing and swaying in the front seating area, “We’ve got to solve it, get involved, and do it now, now, NOW!” An impassioned guitarist stood atop a chair and strummed on.
Buoyed by the success of his nuclear deal with Iran, President Barack Obama is preparing to move aggressively on other long-delayed priorities, including a major climate change summit this winter and his elusive quest to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The National Security Council’s directorate of strategic planning has been quietly building an agenda of action items for the closing year of Obama’s presidency, in a White House that sees its work as far from complete, administration officials say.
California lawmakers passed a bill last week that moves the state further along its low-carbon path, although not as far as Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and legislative leaders would have liked.
The state Assembly voted Friday night, on the last day of the legislative session, to approve S.B. 350, which mandates a 50 percent renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) and a doubling of efficiency in existing buildings by 2030.
leading manufacturer of advanced grid-scale energy storage batteries has encountered a technical glitch, causing a delay in shipments and staff cuts in a further setback for the industry, which has seen many startups fail. Ambri Inc. is one of the leaders in the race to make affordable energy storage for the grid to shore up intermittent renewables and help smooth out load. The company’s technology is a “liquid” metal battery that relies on a molten salt electrolyte — and costs about one-third of the current cost of lithium-ion batteries.
Two of Colorado’s biggest players in the energy sector are teaming up to build a wind farm — in North Dakota. Vestas Wind Systems, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer with four factories in Colorado, on Friday said it had landed a “firm and unconditional order” for 100 of the company’s V100-2.0 megawatt turbines. Collectively, the turbines are capable of generating up to 200 megawatts of power.
Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems said late on Friday it had received a 200 megawatt turbine order from Xcel Energy Inc. for a wind project in the United States.
The order was for 100 units of the V100-2.0 MW turbine for the Courtenay Wind Farm project in North Dakota, Vestas said in a stock exchange announcement. The contract includes delivery, installation and commissioning of the wind turbines, as well as a three year service agreement.
Montana’s clean energy developers will also benefit from the certainty of a state-developed compliance plan. Montana has one of the best wind energy resources in the nation. We have already developed about 670 megawatts of wind energy in the state, creating hundreds of jobs, and millions of dollars in rural county tax revenues and landowner payments. But that development is a mere fraction of the wind energy potential that is economically viable in Montana. Unfortunately, our wind energy resource has been held back from greater development by an inability to precisely match energy demand with new energy transmission, a particularly tricky problem for expensive and time consuming transmission projects. In order to successfully develop our wind energy resource we will need greater cooperation, creativity and openness to Montana wind from the region’s largest transmission provider, the Bonneville Power Administration.
Hoping to woo a rested and reconvened Congress, the wind power industry yesterday opened a new front in its effort to extend the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind generation, crediting the subsidy for driving down the costs of clean energy while aiding in the U.S. economic recovery since 2010. “The PTC has been an effective, market-based policy that has enabled renewable energy development to meet the demands of American consumers,” the American Wind Energy Association said in a nine-page white paper. “While successful, however, the policy is still needed to encourage private sector investment in an industry that is still a relative newcomer when compared to traditional sources of energy.”
On Friday, the California Legislature passed SB 350 requiring utilities to procure at least 50 percent of their electricity from eligible renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by 2030. This legislation, which is expected to be signed into law later this month by Governor Jerry Brown, is a historic step in the state’s groundbreaking plan to cut climate-warming pollution, and ranks among the most significant environmental bills in California history.