In a historic document addressed to “every person living on this planet,” Pope Francis warns that climate change and other forms of environmental degradation have reached a crisis point. Francis frames “Laudato Si’,” the first papal encyclical devoted solely to ecological issues, as an “urgent appeal … for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.” Encyclicals are among the highest forms of Catholic teaching a pontiff can publish.
The new papal encyclical on the environment is a ringing call to action, a critique of consumerism and a prophetic warning about the dangers of ignoring what Pope Francis calls “the ecological crisis.” But amid all his soaring rhetoric, did the pope get the science right? The short answer from climate and environmental scientists is that he did, at least to the degree possible in a religious document meant for a broad audience. If anything, they say, he may have bent over backward to offer a cautious interpretation of the scientific facts.
A leading federal electricity regulator yesterday warned market participants of the “unforeseen consequences” of having U.S. EPA and state air regulators essentially take on a job they’ve never done before — plan what the nation’s electric grid will look like in the future. Philip Moeller, who is stepping down from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission when his terms expires at the end of the month, also said he is “very impressed” with new FERC Chairman Norman Bay, commending him for “trying to open up the process and include other commissioners in decisionmaking earlier.”
They’ve been given the green light by the state, and if construction goes accordingly, nine to ten new wind turbines will dot the hillsides above Kahuku by the summer of 2016. The Na Pua Makani Wind Energy Project is a subsidiary of Champlin/GEI Wind Holdings LLC, a southern California based company. The project will be split into two sites. One will be adjacent the current wind farm, and the other will be opposite Malaekahana.
The winds of change are blowing in Iowa. Within two decades, wind energy here could power the equivalent of more than 6.3 million homes. That’s from a new report released by the Department of Energy. According to this report, the American wind industry can rapidly expand over the next two decades, comprising one-fifth of the domestic electricity market by 2030. Unfortunately, federal policymakers are putting this future in jeopardy. Congress has failed to renew the federal Production Tax Credit, which provides a key incentive for wind energy production. Lawmakers must correct course immediately — by restoring the credit to keep the American wind energy industry humming.
Spanish company plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Amarillo to make towers and components for the wind energy industry. Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that GRI Renewable Industries, a division of Madrid’s Gonvarri Steel Industries, will invest $41 million in the plant and create more than 300 new jobs. In return, the state is offering $1.85 million in economic incentives from its Texas Enterprise Fund. “GRI’s decision to locate (its) latest manufacturing plant in the Lone Star State continues Texas’ streak of attracting job creators,” Abbott said in a statement. “I am proud of our effort to close this deal.”
Some costly high-tech solar power projects aren’t living up to promises their backers made about how much electricity they could generate.Solar-thermal technology, which uses mirrors to capture the sun’s rays, was once heralded as the advance that would overtake old fashioned solar panel farms. But a series of missteps and technical difficulties threatens to make newfangled solar-thermal technology obsolete. The $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar power project in California’s Mojave Desert is supposed to be generating more than a million megawatt-hours of electricity each year. But 15 months after starting up, the plant is producing just 40% of that, according to data from the U.S. Energy Department.
The last thing New York needs is a new multibillion-dollar power line that crisscrosses the state, according to a policy paper by the Washington, D.C.-based National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy. The paper, authored by research fellow Timothy Schoechle, argues that the momentum that led to proposals like the Champlain Hudson Power Express, which would connect hydropower in Quebec to New York City, is outdated and no longer supported by evidence of need for such a project.
California has become the first state in the nation to top 10,000 megawatts of solar capacity, a quantity able to power nearly 2.6 million homes, the latest “U.S. Solar Market Insight Report” said today. The Golden State’s total solar power tops that of most nations, including the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia and Belgium, according to the analysis from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Facing the loss of some tax incentives at the end of 2016, Oklahoma’s wind industry might accelerate the already rapid pace of wind development over the next 18 months as projects try to beat the deadline. The question is what happens after Jan. 1, 2017, when some of the incentives disappear. Responding to complaints that wind subsidies were creating a burden on the state budget, the Legislature voted earlier this year to let two types of tax credits expire. Senate Bill 498 will do away with a five-year property tax exemption for wind developments, while SB 502 will prevent wind developments from using a “new jobs” tax credit.