News

A Big Test for Big Batteries

Source: By DIANE CALDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Utilities have been studying batteries nationwide. But none have moved ahead with the gusto of those in Southern California. This idea has far-reaching potential. But the challenge of storing electricity has vexed engineers, researchers, policy makers and entrepreneurs for centuries. Even as countless technologies have raced ahead, batteries haven’t yet fulfilled their promise.

China cementing global dominance of renewable energy and technology

Source: By Michael Slezak, The Guardian • Posted: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

“At the moment China is leaving everyone behind and has a real first-mover and scale advantage, which will be exacerbated if countries such as the US, UK and Australia continue to apply the brakes to clean energy,” he said. “The US is already slipping well behind China in the race to secure a larger share of the booming clean energy market. With the incoming administration talking up coal and gas, prospective domestic policy changes don’t bode well,” Buckley said.

Obama puts offshore North Carolina on wind energy map

Source: By Daniel J. Grabber, UPI • Posted: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Thousands of acres offshore North Carolina are set aside for potential wind energy in one of the final moves under the Obama presidency, the government said. “This is a significant milestone for North Carolina and our country as we continue to make progress on diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio,” Walter Cruickshank, the acting director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said in a statement. Acting under a climate action plan adopted by President Barack Obama, the BOEM said it was setting aside 122,405 acres offshore North Carolina for a March 16 lease for wind energy developers. The lease area in question begins about 24 nautical miles off the coast of Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Climate Won’t Be the Only Priority for Democrats in Pruitt Hearing

Source: By Jack Fitzpatrick, Morning Consult • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator nominee Scott Pruitt will face more scrutiny over air toxicity and possible conflicts of interest than over the polarizing topic of climate change during his confirmation hearing next week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told reporters Thursday. Questions about Pruitt’s opposition to the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards could come from embers of both parties more than the topic of climate change, Whitehouse said after a press conference on Pruitt’s nomination.

Not even Trump can easily reverse our progress on climate change

Source: By David Ignatius, Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

“There’s no question that we are moving to a lower-carbon economy,” Moniz said in an interview in his Washington office. “What’s happening is largely a market-driven phenomenon. . . . There is no status quo ante.” Moniz is an example of the brainpower and expertise that will walk out the door when the Obama administration leaves office Friday. He’s a nuclear physicist for MIT who has been involved in government energy projects for two decades.

Trump’s Tax Reform Will Threaten Wind-Financing Deals, Spur M&A

Source: By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Lower taxes would drive down businesses liabilities. The aggregate U.S. corporate tax liability would plunge as much as 57 percent, if the rate falls to 15 percent, or by 28 percent if the rate is reduced to 25 percent rate, according to the Marathon report. That could significantly curb businesses’ need for tax credits. It would also drag down wind developers’ after-tax internal rates of returns, by 80 basis point to 240 basis points, Marathon determined.

Scientists have a new way to calculate what global warming costs. Trump’s team isn’t going to like it.

Source: By Chelsea Harvey, Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

How we view the costs of future climate change, and more importantly how we quantify them, may soon be changing. A much-anticipated new report, just released by the National Academy of Sciences, recommends major updates to a federal metric known as the “social cost of carbon” — and its suggestions could help address a growing scientific concern that we’re underestimating the damages global warming will cause.

Wyoming Bill Would All But Outlaw Clean Energy by Preventing Utilities From Using It

Source: BY ZAHRA HIRJI, Inside Climate News • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

While many U.S. states have mandates and incentives to get more of their electricity from renewable energy, Republican legislators in Wyoming are proposing to cut the state off from its most abundant, clean resource—wind—and ensuring its continued dependence on coal. A new measure submitted to the Wyoming legislature last week would forbid utilities from providing any electricity to the state that comes from large-scale wind or solar energy projects by 2019. It’s an unprecedented attack on clean energy in Wyoming, and possibly the nation. And it comes at a time when such resources are becoming cheaper and increasingly in demand as the world seeks to transition to clean energy to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

American wind jobs crack 100,000 according to DOE

Source: By AWEA • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Wind power employs just over 100,000 Americans according to new data released today by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), more than work at nuclear, natural gas, coal, or hydroelectric power plants. These wind jobs can be found across the nation. According to DOE, Texas is home to nearly 25 percent of American wind workers. Substantially more growth is possible. According to DOE’s earlier Wind Vision report, 380,000 American wind jobs could be created by 2030.

It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle.

Source: By JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

More than 92,000 wind turbines have been built across the country, capable of generating 145 gigawatts of electricity, nearly double the capacity of wind farms in the United States. One out of every three turbines in the world is now in China, and the government is adding them at a rate of more than one per hour. But some of its most ambitious wind projects are underused. Many are grappling with a nationwide economic slowdown that has dampened demand for electricity. Others are stymied by persistent favoritism toward the coal industry by local officials and a dearth of transmission lines to carry electricity from rural areas in the north and west to China’s fastest-growing cities.