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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



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  • Monday, July 16, 2018

    Baseball, Moneyball, and Climate Change

    What Baseball Can Teach Us About the Climate Change Debate

    Jacob Weindling, June 23, 2018 (Paste)

    “Roughly half of Americans don’t believe that climate change is man-made, and the reasons surrounding this mass rejection of experts have been fiercely debated…[Baseball reveals] an aversion to new statistics and metrics that help us better understand…[A]ll pitching philosophies are concentrated around producing three results: 1. Limiting walks 2. Maximizing strikeouts 3. Avoiding home runs…[Because] those three outcomes are the only events on a baseball field that the pitcher has 100% control over…[O]nce the ball is in play, there are a multitude of variables…[But when this philosophy is translated into] statistics,] old school baseball folks tend to check out of the conversation…

    Many in U.S. expect negative effects and life changes due to climate change

    [There is a new wave of statistics that old school baseball folks tend to decry, though they] are based in old school thinking…Which gets to a fundamental flaw in human nature…[P]roviding people with evidence which contradicts their beliefs will not change their mind. Stories are superior to facts and figures…Those of us that accept climate change as fact must do a better job of convincing the 52% of Americans who do not believe that climate change is caused by humans. Hurling facts and figures at them does not work—as I have learned in my time evangelizing advanced baseball statistics…Don’t tell climate change deniers that ‘studies say’ things—show them those things…[There is no shortage of evidence] and we should use it to try to rally people to the cause before it becomes catastrophically undeniable.” click here for more

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    How Long Will New Energy Need NatGas?

    Clean energy is catching up to natural gas; The natural gas “bridge” to sustainability may be shorter than expected.

    David Roberts, July 13, 2018 (VOX)

    …[Conventional wisdom in the energy sector for a decade has been that natural gas is the necessary bridge] from the fossil fuel present to the renewable future…Around 2015, though, just five years into gas’s rise to power, complications for this narrative began to appear. First, wind and solar costs fell so far, so fast that they are now undercutting the cost of new gas in a growing number of regions. And then batteries — which can “firm up” variable renewables, diminishing the need for natural gas’s flexibility — also started getting cheap faster than anyone expected. It happened so fast that, in certain limited circumstances, solar+storage or wind+storage is already cheaper than new natural gas plants and able to play all the same roles (and more)…

    The cost of natural gas power is tethered to the commodity price of natural gas, which is inherently volatile. The price of controllable, storable renewable energy is tethered only to technology costs, which are going down, down, down. Recent forecasts suggest that it may be cheaper to build new renewables+storage than to continue operating existing natural gas plants by 2035…That means natural gas plants built today could be rendered uncompetitive well before their rated lifespan. They could become ‘stranded assets,’ saddling utility ratepayers and investors with the costs of premature decommissioning...Meanwhile, gas’s environmental reputation has suffered from a series of reports…showing that gas’s lifecycle methane emissions are much higher than previously estimated and could virtually erase any climate advantage gas has over coal, rendering it a bridge to nowhere…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, July 10, 2018

    Can High Tech Beat Climate Change?

    Big Tech Should Take the Lead on Climate Change—Here’s Why

    Owen Gaffney, July 9, 2018 (Singularity Hub)

    “…The climate conversation with tech entrepreneurs and leaders needs to change for three reasons…First, the technology sector gets it…Apple has committed to adopting a 100 percent circular economy… Alphabet claims it is now the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. And Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are investing a billion dollars in clean energy solutions…Second, the technology sector gets how to harness the power of exponentials better than any other economic sector…Third, and most significantly, the biggest influence the tech sector can have is not on its own emissions or even those of its suppliers—it is, after all, just 2-2.5 percent of global emissions…On a daily basis, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft influence the behavior of billions of people—the world’s middle classes and the world’s businesses…This conversation about consumer emissions has only just begun…

    As a simple rule of thumb, the world needs to halve emissions every decade globally until 2050…[This exponential decay curve can be called] the Carbon Law, after Moore’s Law. The first halving is relatively easy and [is being] done with existing technology…Now we need an exponential roadmap—combining technology, behavioral change and policy—to guide the world to reach a carbon positive global economy by 2050…What if the default settings for mobile phones promoted exercise, healthy eating, and sustainable transport? What if Facebook, Google, and others priced advertising for healthy and low-emitting products more favorably than other products? What if they displayed healthy and low-carbon products more prominently than others? What if apps that drive down emissions were favored over those that drive emissions up? The next decade is critical for the planet…” click here for more

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    Solar V. Solar

    Report: Solar Farms Vital To Bolstering Renewable Energy

    Amy Sisk, July 9, 2018 (WESA Pittsburgh/National Public Radio)

    “…[New Energy] advocates and environmental officials say bringing solar farms to Pennsylvania needs to happen if the state wants to significantly boost how much energy it gets from the sun…[A draft plan from the Department of Environmental Protection] identifies ways the state could get 10 percent of its electricity from solar energy by 2030. Under current law, the state requires that 0.5 percent of its electricity come from solar energy by 2021…[and most of it is distributed generation for individual] homes and businesses…[New Energy advocates say large solar farms that send the power they generate into the grid for Pennsylvania to significantly and cost-effectively] boost its solar generation…The report looks at two scenarios — one with 65 percent of the state’s solar power coming from solar farms, and the other with 90 percent. While solar farms are a big focus, it also examines what it will take to boost rooftop solar projects…[and] acknowledges the need to find land to install the solar farms…” click here for more

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    Monday, July 9, 2018

    Climate Change And The Effort Against It Go On

    Climate Change Scorecard

    Lulu Garcia-Navarro, July 8, 2018 (National Public Radio)

    “Record heat all over the planet, fires, rising sea levels, flooding neighborhoods and cities - manmade climate change is being felt in all sorts of ways…[After the U.S.announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, there were predictions that the other countries would follow, but it is] a pretty mixed picture…[India is making] rapid progress…[and] will be achieving their goals on renewable energy well ahead of schedule. China's emissions had been more or less stabilizing…[ Even the U.S.has had] reductions in emissions, despite the Trump rollbacks, thanks to stronger efforts by cities and states and many companies…[But] in each of those cases there are warning signs. India continues to build coal-burning plants. China's emissions spiked in the first quarter of this year…[And the U.S. is] not nearly on track to set the goal that the Obama administration set…No other countries have followed the U.S. in terms of withdrawing from the agreement - quite the opposite. Countries have rallied around the agreement…[It is] too early actually to measure the tangible effect…[The goals] are for 2025 and 2030…” click here for more

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    Boomers Versus Millennials On Green

    Hippies vs. Hipsters: Who’s winning at sustainability?

    Susannah Enkeman, July 5, 2018 (Shelton Group)

    “…Millennials were long celebrated for being so green. And then they started getting older …Boomers are sometimes congratulated for valuing efficiency, or credited for environmental conscientiousness attributed to guilt … [Millennials] are winning when it comes to sustainability attitudes. Hipsters (72%) are more likely than Hippies (60%) to agree/strongly agree that “Global warming, or climate change, is occurring, and it is primarily caused by human activity”…If you’re measuring by action, [Boomers] win…[They] are doing more energy conservation in their homes. Fewer Hippies (15%) than Hipsters (27%) say they have NOT purchased any energy-conserving home products, and 13% of Hipsters have NOT taken any water conservation steps at home, compared to only 7% of Hippies…Hippies are more likely to wear their green on their sleeves…[But there] is one sustainable-minded behavior that Hipsters are more likely to say they do than Hippies: purchasing…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, July 3, 2018

    Following The Money In The Climate Fight

    Investor-led moves to tackle climate change grow

    Jennifer Thompson, July 2, 2018 (Financial Times)

    “Big investors are stepping up their efforts to hold the companies they invest in to greater account over how they address climate change…[Climate Action 100+ is now calling for investors in 161 of the biggest greenhouse gases emitting companies to use their leverage to get those companies] to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve their disclosure and oversight of climate-related risks…Four new investors, including AllianceBernstein the $550bn fund manager and UniSuper, a $64bn Australian pension fund, have also joined the push taking the grouping to 289 members with almost $30tn in assets under management. Companies now being pushed to do more to tackle climate change include French car group Peugeot, Unilever, Coca Cola and airline Air France KLM…” click here for more

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    Another Big Step For Big Energy Storage

    Tesla strikes another mammoth energy storage deal in California; Lithium-ion battery projects are becoming economically viable.

    Megan Geuss, July 2, 2018 (Ars Technica)

    “…[Dominant] California utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) asked the state to approve four lithium-ion battery storage projects…[A 730MWh to 1.1 GWh project, built by Tesla, would be owned and operated by the utility. It] is expected to discharge 182.5MW for 4 hours (hence, the 730MWh number). But the contract could be bumped up to a discharge duration of 6 hours, which would result in just under 1.1 GWh of storage owned by PG&E…

    [Another project, to be developed by Vistra (which recently merged with Dynegy) and completed by 2020,] could become the world's first grid-scale, lithium-ion battery installation to store more than a gigawatt-hour of energy…[The 300MW battery installation] would be able to be discharged for four hours. At 1.2GWh, the battery would be among the largest in the world…The two other projects are smaller and include a 75MW / 300MWh battery installation from a company called Hummingbird Energy Storage LLC, as well as an aggregation project from Micronoc Inc, which will site 10MW / 40MWh of batteries at commercial locations…” click here for more

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    Monday, July 2, 2018

    Wyoming Coal Is No Longer In The Money

    Study suggests coal power in Wyoming is too expensive

    Heather Richards, July 2, 2018 (Gillette News Record)

    “…[In the nation’s largest coal-producing state, coal power from coal plants owned by Wyoming’s largest utility isn’t] always the cheapest power source for customers, particularly compared to renewables. That finding [from the PacifiCorp Coal Valuation Study] runs counter to assumptions that proximity to coal mines always drives down the cost of coal power, compared with other options…Wyoming coal-fired power plant Jim Bridger in Sweetwater County provides some of the most expensive power in the utility’s 22-coal unit fleet…

    [Natural gas generation prices] have been cheap and are expected to remain low, while many of the country’s coal plants are aging…Add to that picture the falling cost of developing wind and the coal industry has faced an unprecedented shift in demand…Coal continues to be part of the electricity mix, particularly for PacifiCorp. The question is, should it remain so…[The analysis] does not provide a full picture, sidelining costs like transmission and the price tag of replacing a significant amount of power now available from coal with new wind or solar…It is clear, nevertheless, that the ongoing costs of operating PacifiCorp’s coal units to supply electricity to customers are increasing while the cost of renewable energy is falling…” click here for more

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    Montana Is Wired For New Energy

    Montana's Transmission System Ready For New Wind Energy, Report Says

    Corin Cates-Carney, July 2, 2018 (Montana Public Radio)

    Montana could play a significant role in meeting the demand for renewable energy in the Pacific Northwest…[because it has an electricity transmission system capable of carrying new wind energy westward], according to a new study from the Bonneville Power Administration and the state of Montana…[A] significant amount of Montana wind energy can be cost-effectively delivered today, and that there are additional actions that can take place to ensure more energy in the future…[T]he cost of delivering renewable energy from Montana to the west coast could compete with other renewable resources in the Northwest, but several uncertainties remain about how that power would be transmitted that could limit that potential…[Two units at the Colstrip coal-fired power plant] are scheduled to go offline no later than 2022…[E]lectricity generated by the Colstrip power plant can be entirely replaced, megawatt for megawatt, with renewable electricity with minimal cost or technical modifications…[because the transmission system used by Colstrip can] support one-for-one replacement of Colstrip generation with new resources…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, June 26, 2018

    New Head Of Trump’s New Energy Office Backs Coal?!?!?!

    Trump’s Pick to Head the Renewable Energy Office Has a Soft Spot for Coal; Who is Daniel Simmons—and does he really believe the government should treat all energy sources equally? (His boss doesn’t.)

    Jeff Turrentine, June 22, 2018 (Natural Resources Defense Council)

    “…[Daniel Simmons, who heads the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, previously worked for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Institute for Energy Research (IER), which are pro-fossil-fuels organizations funded by Koch brothers money. He] has published opinion essays in major U.S. media extolling the virtues of coal…[He is on the record as opposing supports for] renewable energy through subsidies, tax incentives, or the state-level measures…He has argued that renewable energy mandates cost jobs, gouge consumers, and fleece taxpayers—even though there is a wealth of evidence to refute these arguments…[He also has argued no energy sources should get government support but has failed to speak out on White House proposals to support] coal and nuclear energy…[He goes before the Senate today] for his confirmation vote…” click here for more

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    Solar Tax Credit Gets Full Life

    IRS gives big solar two more years; The IRS, via Notice 2018-59, has modified the Investment Tax Credit to allow solar projects to begin construction by the end of the 2019, and still get the 30% – versus being in service by that date.

    John Weaver, June 25, 2018 (PV Magazine)

    “…[Medium- and large-scale solar power projects that expect to take a year to two (or more) for development and construction just got a two year extension on the Investment Tax Credit (ITC)…[A new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruling officially replaced the requirement to bring solar projects online by the tax credit’s deadline date with a requirement to begin construction by a deadline date. That means that instead of the solar project having to finish by December 31st, 2019, it must now begin construction, defined as 5% of the work or investment, on or by that date to qualify for 30% tax credit. The same time schedule] applies to the follow two years and their 26% and 22% tax credits…This two year window will give investors and utilities reasonable motivation to invest in more projects, even as end of year dates arrive. And this in turn can have repercussions for fossil generation, as Xcel noted that this would allow it to close two coal plants a decade early…[T]here could also be projects whose timelines are extended…under the expectation of continued declines in hardware pricing…” click here for more

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    Monday, June 25, 2018

    A Solution To Answer Climate Change Deniers’ Doubts

    Climate change disputers are actually innovation pessimists

    Bob Inglis, June 25, 2018 (The Hill)

    “…Scratch a climate skeptic, and you’ll find an innovation pessimist. They don’t believe it can be done. Overwhelmed by the scale of the problem, they assume that we can’t change our trajectory. Secretly, they’re depressed about it. They need hope…Climate change crawls and creeps; it doesn’t goose step. Addressing it requires a coordinated global response, and innovation pessimists are right to doubt the ability of the United Nations and the ability of the regulatory state to solve the problem…But the innovation pessimists are missing the dynamism that comes from [adding the health and climate damages to the price of fossil fuels]…

    …This accountability would shatter the illusion that energy from fossil fuels is cheap. In a transparent, accountable energy market, consumers — not regulators, not mandates, not fickle tax incentives — would drive demand for clean energy…[T]his could be accomplished through a carbon tax applied at the mine and at the pipeline. The revenue raised from the carbon tax should then be returned to taxpayers in cuts to existing taxes or in the form of dividend checks to ensure no growth of government…The strength of the American market would become evident…[and drive out innovation opponents who are] vested politically or financially in fossil fuels…” click here for more

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    50% New Energy Would Save AZ Billions

    New Study: 50% Renewables Would Save AZ More than $4 Billion

    Dylan Sullivan, June 14, 2018 (Natural Resources Defense Council)

    “Arizona families and businesses would get lower bills if utilities got 50 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources like solar and wind, compared to if these same utilities go forward with their fossil fuel-heavy plans for the future…[A new report] found that average electricity bills in 2030 would be three dollars a month lower if Arizona pursues a high-renewables future, and five dollars a month lower in 2040…[The] total electricity system cost savings in the high-renewables future between 2020 and 2040 total more than $4 billion…

    Arizona is the nation’s sunniest state, yet gets just six percent of its electricity from solar power…[A diverse coalition of environmental and public health advocates is] working to place a measure on the November 2018 general election ballot that would require utilities like APS and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to [change plans to build natural gas generation and] source 50 percent of their electricity from renewables, like wind and solar power, by 2030…” click here for more

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