Ambitious plans to build a twenty kilometer (12.4 miles) tall space elevator tower have been announced by a Canadian space technology firm. Although this distance is a mere fraction of that reached in space missions, Thoth Technology says its ThothX Tower will make a major cost reduction in space flights by helping navigate the difficult first 50 kilometers (31 miles) of travel that traditionally requires rockets. The latter are inefficient, particularly regarding fuel consumption. In addition to needing to carry sufficient fuel to get a payload into orbit, they need extra fuel in order to carry the required fuel to reach that point in the first place.
The wind energy industry announced a plan today aimed at reducing by a third the number of bats killed by turbines. The plan, developed by the American Wind Energy Association and backed strongly by bat advocates, would reduce the speed of turbines during bats’ fall migration, preventing up to 100,000 bat deaths annually with only minor losses in electricity generation. The new operating protocol has been adopted by 17 of AWEA’s member companies that last year owned about 60 percent of the nation’s installed wind capacity.
Hawaii ranked first among U.S. states in solar power per capita last year and has helped drive a recent boom in solar development across the nation, a new report shows. The Aloha State, Arizona and Nevada topped a list of the 10 states with the most installed solar capacity per resident in 2014, according to a study released today by the green group Environment America. California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Colorado rounded out the list of solar states, which combined to produce 86 percent of the nation’s solar capacity last year. Overall, solar power tripled between 2012 and 2014, the report found.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) formally came out against the Obama administration’s new rule to regulate carbon emissions from power plants yesterday, announcing that his state will seek an administrative stay on U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The governor, who is also pursuing the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, called EPA’s rule “yet another example of the Obama administration inappropriately reaching far beyond its legal authority to implement more onerous and more burdensome regulations on businesses and state governments alike.”
Finland’s government proposed setting a November 2017 deadline for granting subsidies to wind power plants as applications exceeded a previously set capacity limit. The decision, if approved by the parliament, would mean the end of the existing feed-in tariff system in Finland, and follows a decision by Britain to scrap all new subsidies for onshore wind from next April. “The present system can no longer be considered a sufficiently cost-effective and market-oriented incentive system,” Finland’s Ministry of Employment and Economy said in a statement.
Global warming is going to reshuffle ocean ecosystems on a scale not seen for millions of years. Marine biologists can’t yet say what these new habitats are going to be like. “If you put a bunch of species in a blender, you’re not entirely sure what’s going to come out,” said Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University. The most ambitious effort yet to map the future of ocean life was published Monday by the journal Nature Climate Change. An international team of scientists analyzed the current ranges of nearly 13,000 species of fish, invertebrates and other marine organisms.
The new waterfront terminal in New Bedford was supposed to be teeming with activity by now, a staging ground for a massive wind farm in Nantucket Sound. But with a cancellation of a lease by Cape Wind, the 28-acre site has instead remained largely idle this summer. Efforts by the quasi-public Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to hire a company to position the property for cargo shipping are also taking longer than anticipated.
The use of energy-storage systems is surging in the U.S. as power companies show increasing interest in the technology designed to backstop wind and solar farms and smooth out electricity flowing to the grid. Companies deployed 40.7 megawatts of storage capacity in the second quarter, the most in more than two-and-a-half years and a ninefold increase over the same period a year earlier, according to a study released Wednesday by Boston-based GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association.
Michigan’s Republican governor yesterday announced the state will craft its own plan to comply with U.S. EPA’s new requirements to curb power plant emissions, even though the state’s attorney general has joined a group petitioning for an emergency stay of the rule. “The best way to protect Michigan is to develop a state plan that reflects Michigan’s priorities of adaptability, affordability, reliability and protection of the environment,” Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said in a statement. “We need to seize the opportunity to make Michigan’s energy decisions in Lansing, not leave them in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.”
In this native village situated on a gravel spit above the Arctic Circle, life is changing more quickly than the Alaskans who have lived off the land and water here for thousands of years can keep pace with. “The ice is the biggest thing,” said Dominic Ivanoff, 28, a leader of Kotzebue’s tribal council. He used to need two foot-long auger extensions to cut holes through the thick ice when he went fishing in April. Now, he said, the ice is thin enough that he needs none.