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.
The study examines the potential for peaceful co-existence between large raptors and rotors across Wyoming, a state with large numbers of eagles and a vast potential for wind-generated electricity. In the article, researchers Brad Fedy and Jason Tack compile data for hundreds of known eagle nesting sites and plots it against some of Wyoming’s most promising regions for wind farms. The exercise successfully identified “sweet spots,” places far removed from nesting grounds but directly in the path of prevailing winds that can keep turbines turning.
“We never anticipated a drop-off in the wind resource as we have witnessed over the past six months,” David Crane, chief executive of power producer NRG Energy, told analysts last month. The situation is likely to intensify into the first quarter of 2016 as the El Niño weather phenomenon holds back wind speeds around much of the US, according to Vaisala, a Helsinki-based weather measurement company.
Power producers who invested billions in turbines are finding that making money off the wind can be as unpredictable as the energy source itself. NextEra Energy Inc., NRG Yield Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. all said a lack of sufficiently windy days cut into second-quarter sales. And neither power generators nor forecasters seem to know exactly why.
President Obama on Wednesday will pledge to step up government aid for Arctic communities whose shorelines and infrastructure are crumbling as warming seas melt their foundations, intensifying his administration’s effort to cope with the effects of climate change where they are being felt most acutely. Venturing north of the Arctic Circle to Kotzebue, where he will become the first sitting president to visit Arctic Alaska, Mr. Obama will announce federal grant programs to help villages there cope with coastal erosion and high energy costs, and, in some extreme cases, relocate altogether, the White House said.
All this leads me to believe that the transition to renewables is well underway and offers not only investment opportunities for those with insight and patience, but also a response to the challenge presented by global climate change. With care being paid to where the investments are made, the financial returns should be quite impressive in the decades ahead. If only I were younger.