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NewEnergyNews More

Every day is Earthday.

Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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Your intrepid reporter

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    A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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  • Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    Attribution Science Affirms Climate Change Impacts

    Climate change is real. Welcome to the new normal.

    Eugene Robinson, September 17, 2018 (Washington Post)

    “…Tropical cyclones are nothing new, of course. But climate scientists say that global warming should make such storms wetter, slower and more intense — which is exactly what seems to be happening…Climate change is a global phenomenon…Every human being on the planet has a stake in what governments do to limit and adapt to climate change…[S]cientists are now cautiously making the first serious attempts to gauge the impact of climate change on specific weather events such as storms, monsoons, droughts and heat waves…The most ambitious attempt to quantify the link between climate and weather — a blue-chip international consortium called World Weather Attribution — has not yet made an attempt to estimate any possible effect that global warming may have had [this year’s storms…[But] the Climate Extremes Modeling Group at the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, estimated Sept. 12 that Florence would produce 50 percent more rainfall than if human-induced global warming had not occurred…[W]armer water is more easily evaporated, which means there is more moisture available to fuel a storm…and to be released by such storms as rainfall…

    If humankind suddenly stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow, we would still have to adapt to the climatic changes we have already set in motion. The excess carbon dioxide we have pumped into the atmosphere will remain there for thousands of years. We will be coping with massive tropical storms, tragic coastal and riverine flooding, deadly heat waves and unprecedented wildfires for the rest of our lives…[W]e should be trying to reduce carbon emissions and keep global warming to a manageable level. With the landmark Paris agreement, the nations of the world agreed to try. But [the current] administration has already proposed weakening restrictions on carbon emissions from automobiles and coal-fired power plants. And last week, there were reports that the administration also wants to loosen rules governing the release of methane, which traps even more heat than carbon dioxide…Climate change is no longer theoretical. It is real…” click here for more

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    Solar Bouncing Back

    Utility Solar Procurement Booms as Residential Market Stabilizes in Q2 2018

    September 13, 2018 (GTM Research)

    The U.S. solar market has experienced a tumultuous few quarters since the government last year began considering tariffs on imported solar modules and cells, but data for the second quarter of 2018 show signs of a turnaround in the market…Utility solar project procurement soared in Q2 2018 as component prices declined and home solar installations steadied after a 15 percent contraction last year, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report…This is the first quarter where the data clearly show that tariffs took a bite out of the solar market. Some previously-announced projects were canceled or delayed due to the tariffs.

    In Q2 2018, the U.S. market installed 2.3 GWdc of solar PV, a 9% year-over-year decrease and a 7% quarter-over-quarter decrease, despite the fact that module prices fell sharply in Q2 due to lower demand in China…[An acceleration of solar deployment is forecast for] the second half of 2018 driven by utility-scale projects… 8.5 gigawatts of utility PV projects were procured in the first six months of the year, the most ever procured in that timeframe…[and that is expected to continue] as developers look to secure projects they can bring online before the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) steps down to 10 percent in 2022…Module prices are at their second lowest mark in history even with the addition of a 30 percent tariff…[The 5-year forecast for utility-scale solar has been upped] by 1.9 gigawatts. That is still 8 percent lower than was projected before the tariffs were announced…Community solar continues to see rapid growth…” click here for more

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    Monday, September 17, 2018

    Changing Climate Would Hit World’s Farmers Hard

    UN report identifies where global harvests will rise and fall by 2050; A UN study has identified which farmers will win or lose as the planet warms.

    David Reid, September 17, 2018 (CNBC)

    “…[F]armers in different parts of the world can expect yields to either rise or fall over the next three decades…[D]eclines are forecast to be most obvious in West Africa and India where farming yield could fall by as much as 2.9 and 2.6 percent respectively…[Higher temperatures in higher latitude regions will increase harvest for] Canada (2.5 percent) and Russia (0.9 percent) and…even parts of Finland could soon be warm enough to produce cereal…[according to The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets 2018 from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization]…South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are identified as at highest risk economically as much of the present employment and national income in those areas are derived from small-scale agriculture…[U]neven climate change effects risks reversing decades of progress in reducing the divide between developed and developing countries and could lead to significant falls in the gross domestic product (GDP) of areas worst affected…” click here for more

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    People Want Utilities To Make 100% New Energy Work

    Utilities have a problem: the public wants 100% renewable energy, and quick; The industry is groping for ways to talk the public down.

    David Roberts. September 16, 2018 (VOX)

    “…[M]ore than 80 cities, five counties, and two states have committed to 100 percent renewables. Six cities have already hit the target…[and] 144 private companies across the globe] have committed to 100 percent renewables, including Google, Ikea, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Nike, GM, and, uh, Lego…[W]hile there are some visionary utilities in the country, as an industry, they tend to be extremely small-c conservative…They do not like the idea of being forced to transition entirely to renewable energy, certainly not in the next 10 to 15 years. For one thing, most of them don’t believe the technology exists to make 100 percent work reliably; they believe that even with lots of storage, variable renewables will need to be balanced out by “dispatchable” power plants like natural gas…

    For another thing, getting to 100 percent quickly would mean lots of “stranded assets,” i.e., shutting down profitable fossil fuel power plants…The industry’s dilemma is brought home by a recent bit of [utility industry] market research and polling…[The takeaway it that] 100 percent renewables is a wildly popular goal…[A] majority of those surveyed (51 percent) believe that 100 percent renewables is a good idea even if it raises their energy bills by 30 percent…Americans don’t generally like people raising their bills, much less by a third. A majority that still favors it…is political dynamite…[If] utilities were in a public relations war over renewables, they’ve lost…

    Customers do not want to hear excuses…An anti-renewables message, even a message that implies anti-renewables, is simply untenable…[That leaves three New Energy approaches, starting with most activists and advocates supporting] 100 percent renewables as a clear, intuitive, and inspiring target…The second camp believes that the cheaper, safer way to get to carbon-free electricity is not to rely entirely on renewables but to supplement them with “firm” zero-carbon alternatives like hydro, nuclear, geothermal, biomass, or fossil fuels with carbon capture and sequestration…The third camp, containing many utilities and conservatives, flatly doesn’t believe 100 percent carbon-free electricity is possible anytime soon…[The coming fight between advocates and utilities will be over how fast the transition can happen and whether it will be about renewables or] decarbonization…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, September 11, 2018

    It’s Official. California Says Yes To 100% New Energy.

    Gov. Brown’s new climate goal: less than zero global warming emissions

    David R. Baker, September 10. 2018 (San Francisco Chronicle)

    Gov. Jerry Brown has repeatedly ratcheted up California’s global warming goals, setting ever-higher targets for the use of renewable power and demanding deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions…[But now he has] announced a climate goal so ambitious that many experts don’t know how to reach it…[An Executive Order calls for removing emissions from the atmosphere after 2045 and SB 100] calls for 100 percent of the state’s electricity to come from carbon-free sources by 2045…[Brown said] California’s new goals show its commitment to the landmark 2015 international Paris Agreement on climate change, despite the Trump administration’s opposition…[But] experts warn that reaching 100 percent clean energy at a cost consumers can afford will require better and cheaper ways to store large amounts of electricity. “…[R]emoving carbon from the atmosphere en masse is a far more daunting task. While several technologies have been explored — incorporating carbon dioxide into concrete, using ocean algae blooms to absorb the gas — none has been deployed at scale.

    The California Air Resources Board, which runs most of the state’s global warming programs, calls for sequestering 5 million metric tons of carbon per year through protecting, managing and expanding forests…[In 2016,] the state’s economy emitted 429.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gases…And wildfires can pump so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that a single large blaze can wipe out the state’s success in trimming emissions for that entire year…Although the technology exists to trap and store emissions, an idea called carbon capture and storage, it is considered far too expensive for widespread deployment…” click here for more

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    The Solution For California’s 100% New Energy Goal

    Why 100 Percent Clean Energy in California is Gonna Be Tricky

    Lauren Sommer, September 10, 2018 (KQED)

    “…[For the fifth largest economy in the world, getting to 100% New Energy means] a wholesale transformation…If the past is any precedent, it's going to be difficult…[To now,] renewable energy has created new challenges for running the state’s electric grid. And grid operators have turned to California’s primary fossil fuel resource, large natural-gas power plants, to solve them…That’s created an uncomfortable marriage between renewable energy and fossil fuels. And it’s one that California policymakers will have to figure out how to dissolve, if the state wants to reach its clean energy targets…Today, solar and wind are [cost] competitive with natural gas power…[and] about a third of California’s electricity comes from renewables, including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and small hydropower dams…But electricity from natural gas has also held steady. In 2017, it represented more than 40 percent of California’s in-state generation…

    [S]olar energy has fundamentally shifted the way the state’s electric grid is run…[R]unning solar and natural gas together during the day can create more electricity than is needed…[Most natural gas plants cannot turn on and off quickly or easily, so] grid operators have to tell solar farms to shut off. And it’s happening more and more often…[The extra solar energy could be stored and used as part of a large portfolio of New Energies] or it could be shared with neighboring states…[California does not have a regional grid to export the solar and energy storage capacity is just beginning to be] developed…But the rise in solar power has upended the economic model for many natural gas plants in California…[To keep the necessary natural gas generation in place until solutions are ready,] there needs to be a careful exit strategy for natural gas…[The good news] is that the state has met every one of its renewable energy goals.” click here for more

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    Monday, September 10, 2018

    The Dollar Cost Of Climate Change

    Most economic forecasts have a big blind spot: Climate change

    Lydia DePillis, August 17, 2018 (CNN)

    “…[A growing body of research by economists and climate scientists shows that extreme weather worsened by climate change will increasingly] weigh on economic growth…The most recent study to quantify the economic impact of the carbon emissions that spur climate change…found that every one degree increase in average summer temperatures decreases annual state-level output growth by between 0.15 and 0.25 percentage points…That snowballs over time. If meaningful action isn't taken to curb emissions, [cumulative US economic growth across a range of industries] will be a third lower than it would otherwise have been by the end of this century — or sooner, if warming accelerates even faster [than expected, according to Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond economists. Wall Street analysts] don't obsess about climate change like they do about the impact of tax cuts or tariffs…[But climate impacts on growth could be significant on some closely watched forecasts, like the Congressional Budget Office’s ten-year outlook]…” click here for more

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    Unlimited New Energy By Recreating Photosynthesis

    Scientists invent way to create 'unlimited renewable energy'

    Lauren Tousignant, September 8, 2018 (New York Post via Fox News)

    “…[Scientists have not been able to develop artificial photosynthesis, the process by which plants turn light into energy], on a scale large enough to support an industrial level, or that could operate without the use of expensive or polluting devices…Semi-artificial photosynthesis, a relatively new field of study, aims to address those concerns by combining manmade technologies with biological processes in order to mimic nature’s method of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen…[University of Cambridge researchers used a new process to increase the work of] an enzyme found in algae called Hydrogenase, which improves the amount of energy that’s produced and stored. It] will enable new innovations in the world of renewable energy…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, September 4, 2018

    How Social Media Can Also Settle Disputes

    Can social media networks reduce political polarization on climate change? A study from the Annenberg School for Communication shows that exposure to anonymous, bipartisan social networks can lead liberals and conservatives to improve their forecasting of global-climate trends

    Michele Berger, 3 September 2018 (EurekAlert)

    “Social media networks, which often foster partisan antagonism, may also offer a solution to reducing political polarization…The Penn researchers asked 2,400 Republicans and Democrats to interpret recent climate-change data on Arctic sea-ice levels. Initially, nearly 40 percent of Republicans incorrectly interpreted the data, saying that Arctic sea-ice levels were increasing; 26 percent of Democrats made the same mistake. However, after participants interacted in anonymous social media networks--sharing opinions about the data and its meaning for future levels of Artic sea ice--88 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Democrats correctly analyzed it, agreeing that sea-ice levels were dropping…[Republicans and Democrats who did not have social media interactions but] had several additional minutes to reflect on the climate data before updating their responses remained highly polarized and offered significantly less accurate forecasts…[When a picture of an elephant and a donkey were put at the bottom of a screen, and all the social learning effects disappeared…” click here for more

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    Huge Economic Benefits From Ocean Wind

    Offshore Wind: Generating Economic Benefits On The East Coast; Harnessing offshore wind energy could triple the amount of wind energy jobs in five Atlantic coast states and add $3.6 billion to the economy according to a new economic analysis from E2

    August 30, 2018 (Environmental Entrepreneurs)

    “…[If South and North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, and New York each] added an average-sized offshore wind energy farm (352 MW) nearly 25,000 construction and operational jobs would be created up and down the eastern seaboard [and $3.6 billion would be added to the states’ economies, according to a new report]. The Department of Interior is developing lease sales for a strong pipeline of projects in this region—28 in total—which could equal 23,735 MW of new generating capacity, which if all developed would result in tens of thousands of more jobs…[The report also found a] one-month beach and fishing closure due to an oil spill off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina would cost over $2.7 billion in GDP and $1.3 billion in lost wages…” click here for more

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    Monday, September 3, 2018

    Wildfires, The Bigger Picture

    AP Explains: Driven by climate change, fire reshapes US West

    Matthew Brown, September 2, 2018 (AP via Fox News)

    Wildfires in the U.S. have charred more than 10,000 square miles so far this year, an area larger than the state of Maryland, with large fires still burning in every Western state including many that are not fully contained…Hot, dry winds can whip flames into firestorms that leave behind charred wastelands prone to erosion and mudslides. Other fires clear out underbrush, open the forest floor to sunlight and stimulate growth…[Forest management policies have allowed fuels to build up as] development creeps ever deeper into forests and climate change brings hotter temperatures…Most immediately fire brings destruction…Temperatures from extreme fires can top 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to kill all plant life, incinerate seeds hidden beneath the surface and bake the soil until it becomes impervious to rain…Scientists broadly agree wildfires are getting bigger in North America and other parts of the world as the climate warms. But still emerging is how that change will alter the natural progression of fire and regrowth…” click here for more

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    Decarbonizing Everything

    The Economics of Electrifying Buildings

    Sherri Billimoria, Leia Guccione, Mike Henchin, Leah Louis-Prescott, August 2018 (Rocky Mountain Institute)

    “Seventy million American homes and businesses burn natural gas, oil, or propane on-site to heat their space and water, generating 560 million tons of carbon dioxide each year—one-tenth of total US emissions. But [a new report shows that in most cases] electrification of space and water heating and air conditioning reduces the homeowner’s costs over the lifetime of the appliances when compared with performing the same functions with fossil fuels. Costs are also reduced for customers…switching away from propane or heating oil, for gas customers who would otherwise need to replace both a furnace and air conditioner simultaneously, and for customers who bundle rooftop solar with electrification. New homes and homes currently lacking natural gas service also avoid the cost of gas mains, services, and meters not needed in all-electric neighborhoods…

    Reaching ‘deep decarbonization’ goals of 75 percent or greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will require eliminating most of the CO2 produced by furnaces and water heaters across the country, alongside other measures across the economy. Further, electric space and water heating can be intelligently managed to shift energy consumption in time, aiding the cost-effective integration of large amounts of renewable energy onto the grid.” click here for more

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    Tuesday, August 28, 2018

    One Less Cup Of Coffee In A Changing Climate

    Opinion: Here’s how climate change is affecting your cup of coffee; Colombia’s coffee region is increasingly vulnerable to climate-change-induced disasters like flooding, drought and invasive pests

    Jessica Eise and Natalie White, August 27, 2018 (MarketWatch)

    “…[The 300,000 coffee-producers in the fertile mountains of Colombia’s coffee-producing region are] increasingly vulnerable to climate-change-induced disasters like flooding, drought,] unpredictable seasons, crop disease and invasive insects associated with climate change…[Over 90% of farmers surveyed by the MarketWatch research team] reported changes in average temperature. Some 74% said droughts had gotten longer and worse, and 61% reported an increase in mountainside erosion and landslides because of more rain…The farmers also perceived impacts of these environmental changes on their crops. Some 91% reported changes in the flowering and fruiting cycles of the coffee plants, 75% had noticed an increase in pests, and 59% reported an increase in crop disease…

    …[M]any farmers cannot rely on traditional seasonal indicators to guide them about the right time to plant, harvest or tend to their coffee crops…Organizing labor to pick the coffee beans has also become a struggle because the trees often do not flower at the same time due to unstable seasonal conditions…From 2008 to 2013, Colombia’s coffee production dropped approximately 33%...The country has worked to increase its production since then…But they’re still short of the national production goals…Other developing countries where the coffee industry is being hit hard by climate change, such as Brazil and Tanzania, have tried some successful adaptation strategies…[Farming in this] new and unpredictable environment requires a detailed understanding of…complicated economic, informational, labor and business problems… Colombian coffee farmers want to succeed, but they’ll need help in all of these areas just to survive.” click here for more

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    Fact Check – 100% New Energy Saves Land

    How 100% renewable energy will use much less of California's land than fossil fuels

    Mark Z. Jacobson, et. al., August 24,2018 (LA Times)

    Senate Bill 100 would transition California to 100% zero-carbon, effectively renewable electricity by 2045. Our studies provide a way to do this for all energy, including electricity…[Claims by Robert Bryce, from the Koch family- and Exxon Mobil-funded Manhattan Institute, are completely wrong that such efforts] would ‘require wrecking vast onshore and offshore territories with forests of wind turbines and sprawling solar project’…

    The fossil fuel footprint in California is 1.6% of the state’s land area…Our solar plan footprint is only 39% of the land taken up by fossil fuels. Bryce claims our onshore wind needs 16,000 square miles based on his use of three megawatts generated per square kilometer of land. However, wind land is not “footprint.” It is mostly open space that also can be used for agriculture, rangeland, wildlife or solar; thus, the same land can be used for two energy sources…Using a conservative estimate of average energy density yields 3,000 square miles of space for wind power, not 16,000…” click here for more

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