To understand what makes Burlington unlike almost any other city in America when it comes to the power it consumes, it helps to look inside the train that rolls into town every day. The 24 freight cars that pull up to the city’s power plant aren’t packed with Appalachian coal or Canadian fuel oil but wood. Each day 1,800 tons of pine and timber slash, sustainably harvested within a 60-mile radius and ground into wood chips, is fed into the roaring furnaces of the McNeil Generating Station, pumping out nearly half of the city’s electricity needs.
“Climate change has played almost no role in any presidential election. Period,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. “It really has been deafening silence.” Paul Bledsoe, a former climate aide in the Clinton White House, said climate change and the environment were drowned out by the more spectacular developments in the race — from video of Trump discussing sexual assault to the steady drip of WikiLeaks’ internal Clinton emails and FBI Director James Comey’s surprise decision to reopen the investigation into the Democrat’s personal email server.
Distributed wind power could increase 300 percent by 2030 in the United States under “business as usual” economics, according to a report released today by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The assessment, the first of its kind from NREL, doesn’t project what is likely to happen with distributed wind but what is technically and economically possible.
Beginning with a simple message calling for English taxpayers to “stop subsidizing the destruction of Scotland by paying massive subsidies for ugly wind turbines,” Trump launched a full-on Twitter tirade against local politicians and the company that dare to finance the proposed off-shore wind farm — at one point, even then Prime Minister David Cameron became a target. Offline, Trump took his opposition to the project all the way to the highest court in the U.K. But in a unanimous decision, the U.K. Supreme Court rejected his case in 2015.
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team continues to roll out members of its so-called landing teams, staffers charged with orchestrating agency handoffs to the incoming administration. For top energy and environmental posts, the list includes staunch critics of the Obama administration’s environmental policies, energy industry advocates and Republican aides from Capitol Hill.
Environmental groups yesterday projected images and messages onto a U.S. EPA building to protest President-elect Donald Trump’s pick of Myron Ebell, a climate denier, to lead the agency’s transition. Images of a green planet, icebergs and flames swirled across the face of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, an office building near the Federal Triangle in downtown Washington, during the evening rush hour.
President-elect Donald Trump seemed to soften his stance on the Paris climate agreement today, saying he has “an open mind” after previously pledging to withdraw from the accord. Trump met with New York Times reporters and editors in the newspaper’s headquarters today for an on-the-record lunch. Columnist Thomas Friedman asked Trump whether he would withdraw from the accord.
Wind and solar have been the two biggest sources of electricity added to U.S. grids since 2014 as utilities closed a record number of aging coal-fired generators. Trump has derided clean energy and assailed environmental regulations that hinder jobs, while pledging to revive the mining industry. And it’s not just cost that makes clean energy attractive to utilities — it’s time. A solar farm can go up in months to meet incremental increases in utility demand; it takes years to permit, finance and build the giant boilers and exhaust systems that make up a coal plant, and they can last for a generation. A four-year presidential term is hardly a tick in that energy clock, and companies are already planning projects that will commence after Trump leaves office, even if he serves two terms.
The transition team announced yesterday that Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, will be taking over as head of the Energy Department transition operation. Doug Domenech, former Virginia secretary of natural resources and a George W. Bush administration Interior Department staffer, will lead Interior’s transition operation. The Trump team said Myron Ebell, a well-known climate skeptic and the head of the U.S. EPA transition operation, continues to lead that agency’s team.
President-elect Donald Trump’s meetings yesterday with possible Interior and Energy secretary picks have already sparked a backlash from the left. Trump was scheduled to meet with Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin and former Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who are rumored contenders to become Interior and Energy secretaries, respectively. Environmentalists were quick to paint the potential nominees as industry cronies who would seek to dismantle environmental regulations and push energy extraction on public lands.