NewEnergyNews More: May 2017

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, May 23, 2017

    How To Tell Kids About Climate Change

    Climate change predictions can be scary for kids. What can you say?

    Kirsten Clark, May 22, 2017 (Louisville Courier-Journal via USA Today)

    “…Climate change — as well as other environmental issues like deforestation and wildlife extinction — have the potential to be scary for children. The implications of climate change can contribute to stress, depression and anxiety for everyone, but especially for kids…[Experts say parents should approach these topics in several ways. First, encourage actions like a recycling and help] them brainstorm ways to have a larger-scale impact…Talk about animals to get them] talking more and learning more about environmental issues…Be in nature to allow them to see they’re also a part of the natural cycle and what they] do affects the environment…[Examine daily habits and learn from the] kids...[They often care more] than adults do…” click here for more

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    California Takes A New Look At Wind

    California is falling behind in producing wind power

    Danielle Osborne Mills, May 22, 2017 (Sacramento Bee)

    “American renewable energy was born in California…[But] California is at risk of falling behind…[It has fallen to fourth in installed wind capacity behind] Texas, Iowa and Oklahoma…[T]his is a bad time to fall behind…California’s leadership has been clear in its direction to the state’s energy agencies and utilities. In 2015, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León led the passage of a law requiring [50% renewables by 2030 and a 40% cut in] greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030…Agencies are devoting significant resources to the development of an all-encompassing planning process…[New renewable energy investment is needed] and a diverse set of technologies from a larger geographic footprint will reduce ratepayer costs…[A] new bill also authored by de León, Senate Bill 100, proposes moving the 50 percent target up to 2026 and eventually hitting 100 percent clean energy by 2045…” click here for more

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    Mercedes Benz Goes Solar – With BatteriesTuesday May 23

    Mercedes-Benz and Vivint Solar partner to compete with Tesla in home energy

    Robert Ferris, 18 May 2017 (CNBC)

    “Mercedes-Benz is partnering with U.S.-based Vivint Solar to compete with Tesla and similar companies in residential solar energy and storage…[Beginning in Q2, Mercedes-Benz Energy will offer] its 2.5 kilowatt-hour energy storage batteries with Vivint's rooftop solar to make a combined product for [California] homeowners…[A] similar program has already been successful in Europe…Costs will vary depending on the system, but a fully installed 2.5 kWh battery system, when paired with a solar energy system will cost about $5,000…A 20 kWh home energy storage system — made of several connected batteries —will cost about $13,000 fully installed…The offering includes the complete package: batteries, inverter, all required technical components, professional installation, permitting, system design and consultation with Vivint Solar. The installation of the entire system, including the solar panels and the battery, typically takes one to two days, once permits are secured…[Tesla] has touted the benefits of selling energy storage batteries with solar panels…” click here for more

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    Monday, May 22, 2017

    The Plan To Beat Climate Change

    A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising. A chat with Paul Hawken about his ambitious new effort to “map, measure, and model” global warming solutions.

    David Roberts, May 10, 2017 (VOX)

    “…[The looming dangers of climate change are clear but] what about solutions?...[Paul Hawken, whose Natural Capitalism was called by President Clinton one of the five most important books in the world, has laid out] the 100 most substantive solutions to climate change, using only peer-reviewed research…[Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed Reverse Global Warming] is basically a reference book: a list of solutions, ranked by potential carbon impact, each with cost estimates and a short description. A set of scenarios show the cumulative potential…It is fascinating, a powerful reminder of how narrow a set of solutions dominates the public’s attention…” click here for more

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    Ready For The Offshore Wind Boom

    Massachusetts prepares for wind energy; The state aims to harness the strong, steady winds off its coast.

    Jan Ellen Spiegel, May 22, 2017 (Yale Climate Connections)

    “Off-shore wind energy is common in Europe. It’s never taken off in the U.S…[But Massachusetts] will soon request competitive bids for off-shore wind development – at sites 14 miles or more from Martha’s Vineyard…To encourage development, the state built a marine terminal to receive, construct, and repair wind turbines, which are too big for most ports…To make sure the state also uses the clean wind energy, Massachusetts passed new legislation that requires the purchase of 1,600 megawatts of wind-powered electricity per year within the next decade…Bidding for the first projects will start this year…[The first commercial-scale off-shore wind projects should be up and running] within four or five years.” click here for more

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    Solar Research Faces Trump Cuts

    Trump’s budget expected to massively slash research on renewable energy — and ‘clean coal’

    Chris Mooney, May 18, 2017 (Washington Post)

    “The Trump administration is expected to propose massive cuts to federal government research on wind and solar energy next week…The department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which funds research on advanced vehicles as well as other aspects of clean energy, would face a roughly 70 percent [proposed] cut in 2018, carving about $1.45 billion from its $2.09 billion 2017 budget…The consequences of the proposed cuts could be wide ranging, potentially undermining the office’s SunShot Initiative, which has worked to drive down the costs of large-scale solar energy, which now runs about 7 cents per kilowatt hour. A goal of reaching 3 cents per kilowatt hour for large-scale solar electricity had been set for 2030…The cuts are far from becoming a reality. In recent budget negotiations, Congress funded Energy Department programs roughly on par with 2016 levels, rather than follow a Trump administration proposal to slash them deeply …” click here for more

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    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Why New Energy Won’t Be Stopped

    6 Reasons Trump Can’t (Totally) Derail Progress on Climate; Falling prices for renewables and a growing sustainability movement from the bottom up have changed the global picture.

    Laura Parker and Craig Welch, May 16, 2017 (National Geographic)

    “…[The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum announced is converting to solar. To save money…Eighty solar panels on the museum’s roof saves almost $10,000 on the yearly electric bill…[As the world watches to see if or how far the U.S. steps back from its leadership role in the climate fight, there are reasons to believe it doesn’t matter]…1. Solar and wind are cheaper than coal…2. Corporate America is on board [and driving New Energy growth]…3. States and cities are stepping up [with spending to back their 100% New Energy commitments]...4. It’s not just blue states and tree-huggers [that benefit economically from New Energy] …5. The influence center [is shifting] from Washington to Sacramento…6. [There is a] brighter global picture…[but even] if Trump kept all of Obama’s plans, the U.S. would fall short of its own target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Obama’s strategy always relied on the U.S. ratcheting emissions down more in coming years…” click here for more

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    Silicon Valley Takes On Laptop Wind

    Small Turbines From Silicon Valley Firm May Shift Wind Energy Market

    Betty Yu, May 12, 2017 (CBS TV News)

    “While wind energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the world, wind farms provide less than five percent of the energy in the U.S…[A] Silicon Valley startup is aiming to change the market’s direction…[Semtive] opened its U.S. headquarters at NASA Research Park..[to perfect smaller, distributed wind turbines] made for low wind speeds…[Instead of the 30 miles per hour wind speeds needed for utility-scale turbines, Semtive’s] blades are designed to allow the turbines to keep spinning at low [10 miles per hour] wind speeds…Semtive says the turbines are ideal for urban and rural areas. They are made of aircraft-grade aluminum…Installation on a rooftop or balcony takes less than an hour…[Semtive says the] smallest model starts at $4,600, [the turbines] qualify for green tax rebates and incentives from the state and federal government…[and] one medium-sized turbine can generate 100 percent of [an average residential customer’s] energy usage…” click here for more

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    Floating Solar To Cut Costs

    Floating solar panels possible wave of future

    Jamie Chambers, May 15, 2017 (Fox TV News)

    “…[The] floating solar panels at the Olivenhain Reservoir…[will be the first solar array of its kind and] has been billed as a triple technology threat by producing energy and water saving and cutting costs all at the same time…The plan is to cover 10 percent of the Olivenhain Reservoir with solar panels that would generate roughly 6 megawatts of power annually, which translates to powering 1,500 houses a year…According to officials, no tax dollars are needed, so rate payers would not be burdened by the floating solar panels…[And covering the reservoir will reduce] evaporation…The idea still has hurdles to jump through, like an environmental report and getting the neighbors to climb on board. So far most locals seem to be supporting the idea…[It] might come on line as soon as 2018.” click here for more

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    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Why Doubters Deny Climate Change

    The Science Of Climate Change Skepticism

    Melissa Pandika, March 17, 2017 (OZY)

    “…Recent research suggests one possible explanation [for climate change denial despite overwhelming scientific evidence]: Your beliefs about climate change depend partly on the weather where you live…Climate describes weather patterns over time…[The metaphor says weather is mood and climate is personality. Though global climate change is conclusively documented, the weather outside people’s front doors has more to do with whether] they believe in the phenomenon…[A recent study] found that people in parts of the country that have experienced more record-low temperatures than record highs since 2005 were less likely to believe in climate change…[L]ocal temperatures seemed to have a modest effect on beliefs…[but are, apparently,] a distraction from the very serious problem and challenge of climate change.” click here for more

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    U.S. Cities Are Getting Greener

    32 Cities Improve Energy Score Per New Ranking

    Josh Cohen, May 11, 2017 (Next City)

    “…[A scorecard ranking the 51 largest U.S. cities on five criteria – local government operations, community-wide initiatives, building policies, energy and water utilities, and transportation policies – found 32] cities improved this year compared to 2015’s scorecard…Boston slotted into first with a score of 84.5 out of a possible 100 points…New York and Seattle rounded out the top three with Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, tied for fourth…The scorecard weights the five categories by potential energy savings. For example, transportation gets the most points because it often accounts for a city’s greatest energy consumption. In a sample of 20 large cities, the ACEEE found that transportation-related energy use accounted for 36 percent of citywide energy consumption…On the other end of the scorecard, Detroit, Oklahoma City and Birmingham, Alabama, were least energy efficient…” click here for more

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    Electricity Choice Movement Faces Pushback From Utilities

    Sonoma Clean Power, utilities face battle over energy costs

    Robert Digitale, May 14, 2017 (The Press Democrat)

    “…[A new type of public energy program in California] appears poised to change who buys electricity for homes and businesses across large swaths of the state…[Growth of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)] is leading experts to examine how well the programs are boosting the use of renewable electricity compared to the private utilities that formerly served the same communities…The growth is also prompting a face-off between the public programs and California’s three biggest private utilities…In the dispute, both sides have suggested their ratepayers are getting a bum deal in how the state has set the rules for this new era. For the public programs, the outcome has high-stakes implications because their customers could end up paying considerably more to offset the growing costs for excess power that the utilities contracted for but no longer need…[CCA is now about 5 percent of the state’s electricity market and] both utilities and other experts say that number will increase markedly…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, May 9, 2017

    Mississippi Delta Flooding Is Climate Changing

    Flooding in the Mississippi Delta is climate change in action; “Anyone who doesn’t believe in climate change should stroll through my hallway.”

    Marlene Cimons, May 8, 2017 (ThinkProgress)

    “…[After six inches of water swept through Cherri Foytlin’s home in Rayne, Louisiana, wrecking walls, insulation, floors, furniture, clothes, and toys, she said] ‘Anyone who doesn’t believe in climate change should stroll through my hallway.’…[T]he latest round of storms delivered heavy rainfall, dangerous winds, and persistent flooding across Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and elsewhere…

    ...[According to Brent Walker, mayor of Alton, Illinois, the more intense and frequent the Mississippi River Valley storms and flooding are one of the many consequences of climate change and this ‘‘the Mississippi River is a good example’ of a new] ‘world of extremes’…Climate change has made the air warmer. Warmer air holds more moisture. This leads to heavier rainfall, which can produce severe flooding…” click here for more

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    Rhode Island’s Ocean Wind Replaces Diesel Plant

    The first U.S. offshore wind farm just shut down a diesel plant

    Bobby Magill, May 4, 2017 (Grist)

    “…[When America’s first offshore wind farm on Block Island, Rhode Island, went online, officials shut down] the island’s only electricity source — a small diesel-fueled power plant…The island’s 2,000 residents burned about 1 million gallons of diesel fuel annually…Diesel releases more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other common petroleum-based fuel except for residential fuel oil…Until now, Block Island’s power grid was completely isolated from the mainland…[The wind farm and its connection to the mainland allowed the island to connect to the New England power grid for the first time…[It demonstrates] how renewables are helping to displace fossil fuels on the power grid…[The 5-turbine, 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm is the first ever offshore wind project built in the U.S.and is proving] the viability of offshore wind…If fully developed, offshore turbines could supply four times today’s total U.S. electricity generating capacity…” click here for more

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    Harvest The Sun In Massachusetts

    Cranberry farmer grows new 'crop': solar energy; Massachusetts farmer Michael Paduch installed a solar array on four acres of cranberry bogs. It’s a 'win, win, win,' he says.

    Jan Ellen Spiegel, May 8, 2017 (Yale Climate Connections)

    "Michael Paduch, a farmer in Carver, Massachusetts, has more than 20 acres of cranberry bogs. But with prices low in recent years, he’s started harvesting a new crop on his land: energy…[Several years ago he realized the land was ripe of solar development because it was open, got plenty of sun, and, as a wetland, had few other good uses. Now,] a solar array covers four acres of his cranberry bogs. It produces a megawatt of energy – enough to power more than 100 homes…And best of all, the cranberry vines thrive in the shade created by the panels. They don’t produce quite as many berries, but Paduch can grow and sell the plants to other farmers…Paduch said he is ‘farming the sun” and ‘producing something good’ so it is] ‘a win, win, win’…” click here for more

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    Monday, May 8, 2017

    "It Was Beauty That Killed The Beast"

    What caused coal’s decline? It wasn’t Obama’s rules, study says

    Bill Estep, May 4, 2017 (Lexington Herald Leader)

    “Competition from cheap natural gas accounts for nearly half the decline in domestic U.S. coal consumption in recent years… Lower demand for electricity and growing use of renewable energy such as solar power also took a bite out of coal’s market share… Tougher federal environmental regulations also played a role in coal’s decline, but those rules were a significantly smaller factor than reductions in the cost of natural gas and renewable energy, [according to Can Coal Make A Comeback?] from Columbia University researchers…The researchers said that [President Trump’s promised ‘renaissance in U.S. coal production and employment’ is unlikely. They also concluded that an aggressive effort to roll back the coal-related environmental regulations from the Obama Administration] could help turn around the decline in domestic coal consumption. But that would rely on an increase in natural gas prices, and coal still wouldn’t fully recover…” click here for more

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    Windows To The Sun

    Turning Windows Into Solar Panels

    Nell London, May 8, 2017 (Colorado Public Radio)

    And Generating Electricity with a Flexible Glass Thinner than a Business Card

    Colin Payne, February 1, 2017 (Engineering.com)

    “If windows were solar panels, then giant glass office towers could soak up the sun's energy and use it to keep the lights on and the copy machines humming. That's the vision of a partnership between…[SolarWindow Technologies and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. SolarWindow says that solar windows installed on a 50-story building could offset 30 to 50 percent of its energy usage. The impact could be especially meaningful because commercial buildings account for about one-third of the nation's electricity consumption…SolarWindow’s scientists developed the new flexible glass product by applying layers of liquid coatings to Corning’s Willow Glass and then laminating them under conditions that simulated the high pressure and temperatures of the manufacturing processes used by commercial glass and window producers…SolarWindow sees them as particularly well-suited for installation over existing skyscraper windows…[They could also] be applied to cars, trucks, buses, planes and boats to turn them into mobile power generators…” click here for more

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    Wind Obstructions On Dakota Pipeline Lands

    What's Keeping Tribes From Harnessing Their Wind Energy?

    Chris Clarke, May 2, 2017 (KCET)

    “The Dakota Access Pipeline goes through some of the windiest parts of the Great Plains, and wind power generation in the Plains States has grown rapidly over the last decade…But in the rush to develop wind power, the Native peoples of the Plains are being left behind…While private landowners have enjoyed nearly a decade of Obama-era incentives to develop wind energy, Plains tribes seeking to harness the wind blowing past their lands must contend with several unique obstacles to development that don’t face their neighbors…Oglala Sioux tribal leaders of the the Rosebud Sioux reservation have been eager to build wind turbines on their lands for more than 20 years…[But plans for the] Owl Feather War Bonnet wind power facility on the Rosebud Reservation were delayed [by mismanagement and bureaucratic complications] for so long that the would-be buyers of the plant’s electricity backed out in 2008…[Despite reforms, proposed] projects remain in limbo…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    How Climate Change Is Growing The New Slavery

    Climate change has created a new generation of sex-trafficking victims

    Justine Calma, May 2, 2017 (Quartz)

    Editor’s note: This is a profound piece that adds a chilling dimension to the global warming debate. Click thru and read it and see the images.

    “…[When Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, it] displaced more than 4 million people…After the skies cleared, a second humanitarian disaster unfolded…An underground economy took root as women and girls were sold for food and scarce aid supplies, or trafficked into forced labor and sex work…[One girl, Kristine, told Quartz she] was sold to men every night…The men raped her, and took graphic pictures and videos. Kristine was 13…The Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, which scientists have linked to an increased frequency and severity of extreme-weather events…When families lose their livelihoods and can’t recover between severe weather events, pressure increases on women and children to provide for the family—sometimes at any cost…The Global Slavery Index, an internationally recognized estimate of the prevalence of modern slavery, calculates there to have been about 400,000 trafficked persons in the Philippines in 2016. But the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare & Development, which provides assistance to trafficking victims in the country, identified only 1,465 victims…” click here for more

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    Wind Is Increasingly Inevitable

    Opinion: Wind power will keep growing rapidly — and bring economic opportunity to rural America; Wind power is now the fourth-largest capacity source behind natural gas, coal, and nuclear

    Michael Goggin, April 29, 2017 (American Wind Energy Association)

    “…[Even with] uncertainty on carbon policy, other factors will continue to drive wind energy’s astronomical growth — benefiting in particular the rural and Rust Belt areas that are starved of economic opportunity…[Economists from all political perspectives agree carbon policy] results in more efficient market outcomes but even without it, cost declines and technology advances led to wind becoming] the county’s largest source of renewable generating capacity, and the fourth-largest capacity source behind natural gas, coal, and nuclear…The cost of wind energy has fallen 66% in seven years as wind turbines became 50% more productive…In many parts of the country, wind is already the lowest-cost source of new electricity…Since the [November] election, the nation’s largest electric utilities have continued to invest in renewable energy, with many noting that policies to limit carbon pollution are inevitable…[M]ore than 100,000 Americans work in the wind industry, with employees in all 50 states. Over 25,000 of these workers manufacture wind power components at more than 500 U.S. factories…[T]hese numbers will continue to grow…[T]otal wind-driven employment could near a quarter of a million by 2020, with $85 billion in economic activity over the next four years…” click here for more

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    Name The Five Leading Solar States

    5 States With the Highest Solar Capacity per Capita

    Travis Hoium, May 2, 2017 (Motley Fool via Madsion.Com)

    “Solar energy was the single biggest source of new electricity capacity in the United States in 2016 and now makes up over 1% of all electricity generated in the country…[W]ith solar energy now cost-competitive with coal, natural gas, and nuclear in most of the country, the industry is primed for growth…[and] when you look at the top five solar states per capita, there are some surprisingly solar-friendly states…Nevada takes the top solar spot…[California is by far the biggest solar state but] it's not the top solar state per capita…Second on the list is Utah…[Hawaii is third, with rooftop solar now commonplace and] islands such as Kauai are pushing toward 100% renewables…California is fourth in the country, with 466 watts of solar per capita…[and even though Arizona has been home of some of the biggest fights in residential solar, it] is the fifth-highest solar state per capita…[T]here are some surprising states to keep an eye on…[including North Carolina, Georgia, and] Texas…[W]ith solar energy now competitive with fossil fuels for utilities, commercial users, and homeowners across the country, the amount of solar energy per capita will only grow…” click here for more

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    Monday, May 1, 2017

    Designing A Fight Against Climate Change

    How architects can take action on climate change

    Victor Olgyay, May 1, 2017 (GreenBiz)

    “…[O]ur homes, offices, schools or shopping centers — and the architects who design them — either can exacerbate our climate problem or be a foundational part of the solution…While many leading architects have gained a competitive advantage in the market by practicing environmentally responsible design, the profession as a whole traditionally has not been seen as a leader in addressing climate change. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) wants to change that…[It called on members to] engage in energy modeling and engage in policy-making…be on top of incentives and financing options and understand the technology…[and design] beautiful buildings with enviable energy and financial performance…” click here for more

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    New Energy Leaders Call For Real Grid Study

    Industry Groups Ask Secretary Perry for Study of Electricity Markets and Reliability to be ‘Open and Transparent’ Process; AEE, AWEA, SEIA note that low natural gas prices and slow demand growth are responsible for coal and nuclear plant retirements, not renewable energy growth

    May 1, 2017 (American Wind Energy Association, Solar Energy Industries Association, Advanced Energy Economy)

    “…[Leaders of] the wind, solar, and broad advanced energy industries have called on U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to ‘initiate a public process’ to gather input to inform the 60-day study he has ordered on electricity markets and reliability…In a letter to Secretary Perry, [they] welcomed the Department of Energy’s examination of today’s electric power system, but stressed that the growth of wind and solar power neither accounts for the challenges now facing coal-fired and nuclear power plants in the nation’s electricity markets nor represents any threat to reliable electric power…[They insisted that numerous] studies have conclusively demonstrated that low natural gas prices and stagnant load growth are the principal factors behind the retirements in coal and nuclear plants…The industry groups also asked that the DOE study ‘follow standard practice and be conducted in an open and transparent manner,’ noting that it is ‘customary’ for agencies developing reports that provide policy recommendations to allow public comment on a draft, prior to the report being finalized…” click here for more

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    How To Grow Cars With Plugs

    Electric Vehicles Are on the Rise: Here’s How to Sustain Their Growth

    Peter Rejcek, April 30, 2017 (SingularityHub)

    “The struggle for electric vehicles to gain legitimacy in a world dominated by supersized SUVs and overbearing big rigs is something of a David and Goliath story…[but Tesla just] became the most valuable automaker in the US, passing General Motors in total market value…It would seem to be no coincidence that at a time when electric vehicles appear poised for widespread adoption, solar and renewable energy have become cheaper than coal…There are only about 540,000 EVs on US roads today…[but] the Model 3 alone promises to nearly double the number of electric vehicles (including hybrids)…[However, there were more than 260 million vehicles in the US as of 2014…[so] EVs will still account for less than one percent of all vehicles…[For EVs to reach a market share of 30 percent or greater by 2030, there needs to be ] radical shifts in environmental and regulatory policy…There are very few places where such policies exist…” click here for more

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