NewEnergyNews More: July 2017

NewEnergyNews More

Every day is Earthday.

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  • Monday, July 31, 2017

    Climate Change Out At EPA Museum

    At EPA museum, climate-change displays are out and coal may be on the way in

    Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, July 30, 2017 (Chicago Tribune)

    “…In an obscure corner of the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building, a debate is underway about how to tell the story of the EPA's history and mission…A miniature museum that began as a pet project of former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy has come under scrutiny. It features the agency's work over four and a half decades, with exhibits on topics such as regulating carbon dioxide emissions and the Paris climate accord…Now the museum, which opened just days before President Barack Obama left office, is being reworked to reflect the priorities of the Trump administration, an effort that probably will mean erasing part of the agency's history...[A] career official said that these climate displays are slated to be removed, adding that the agency may add a display of coal to the museum…” click here for more

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    Alabama Is Starting To Like Solar

    Solar energy growing in popularity

    Jennifer Edwards, July 30, 2017 (Times Daily)

    “...[The conversation about solar in Alabama is now more often about how consumers can use solar energy than about how it works, according to Energy Alabama CEO Daniel...He said the shift in consumer questions indicates solar energy has a stronger foothold than it did two years ago…The technology is familiar, and people are buying in, he said…TVA, the area's power supplier, has incorporated various forms of renewable energy into its power portfolio…Private installations tie into the TVA system through TVA's Green Power Providers program with municipal electricity departments…” click here for more

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    Oklahoma Building Nation's Biggest Wind

    Invenergy and GE Renewable Energy Announce America's Largest Wind Farm…The 2,000-megawatt Wind Catcher facility will be world's second-largest wind farm, once operational in 2020.

    July 26, 2017 (Invenergy via PRNewswire)

    “…[Invenergy and GE Renewable Energy will partner on] a 2,000-megawatt wind farm that will be the largest in the U.S. and second-largest in the world, once operational. The Wind Catcher facility is currently under construction in the Oklahoma panhandle and will generate wind electricity from 800 state-of-the-art GE 2.5 megawatt turbines…The wind facility is part of the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher Energy Connection…[The approximately 350-mile dedicated, extra-high voltage power line proposed by American Electric Power (AEP) utility subsidiaries Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) and Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO)…is expected to save SWEPCO and PSO customers more than $7 billion, net of cost, over 25 years. AEP estimates that the project will support approximately 4,000 direct and 4,400 indirect jobs annually during construction and 80 permanent jobs once operational. It also will contribute approximately $300 million in property taxes over the life of the project…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, July 25, 2017

    Climate Change In The Not-So-Funny Funnies

    A Comic Strip Mirrors the Ravages of Climate Change

    George Gene Gustines, July 23, 2017 (NY Times)

    "The newspaper comic strip 'Arctic Circle,' by the environmentally minded cartoonist Alex Hallatt, is about talking penguins and their fellow creatures living in the north…[Now], under a caption that says ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ the menagerie will find their world shrinking and their conversations will be about global warming. Readers will see the drawings diminish to nothing by Friday as a snow bunny muses, ‘Climate change will lead to habitat loss and the extinction of many species.’ Miss Hallatt created the strips to observe the arrival of the documentary ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,’ in theaters on Friday. The film is a follow-up to the 2006 Oscar-winning documentary featuring Al Gore. Miss Hallatt has no official connection to the film…” click here for more

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    The Truth About Wind, Birds, And Bats

    Bat, bird deaths focus of wind farm study

    Karl Puckett, July 21, 2017 (Great Falls Tribune)

    “Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is leading a study of how a NorthWestern Energy-owned wind farm called Spion Kop is affecting bats and birds…One of the initial findings is that the project has been harder on bats than a pre-construction study predicted, with bats possibly mistaking the turbines for trees…But no raptor carcasses have been discovered, with NorthWestern crediting upfront investigation into the location of raptor nests prior to the siting of giant turbines with blades that can spin up to 190 miles per hour…It’s the first time a state agency, as opposed to a private developer, has conducted a so-called post-construction study, and the data on the number of birds and bats killed, usually closely guarded, will be made public when it’s completed…Utility and FWP officials say the study will lead to better understanding of how wind farms affect wildlife that could lead to improve siting and layout of future wind projects…” click here for more

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    Hawaii Goes For 100% New Energy

    Hawaii's Push to 100% Renewable Energy Presents Opportunity for Solar Energy Hawaii continues to push the envelope in renewable energy, providing a path for the rest of the country.

    Travis Hoium, July 22, 2017 (Motley Fool)

    “Hawaii has long been the U.S. leader in solar energy deployment, despite the fact that the state's renewable energy efforts rarely get national attention. Solar energy, in particular, makes sense in Hawaii because of the state's abundant sunshine and high electricity prices (otherwise utilities burn imported fossil fuels). Even energy storage is an area where Hawaii is charging ahead of most other states…Hawaii will be the first state to take a real crack at being powered 100% renewable energy…The Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission wanted Hawaiian Electric to reach 100% renewable energy by 2045 and had twice rejected plans it didn't feel went far enough. This month, it approved the company's plan, which is actually to reach 100% renewables by 2040…The next five years will be a key transition…As more renewable energy is built in high penetration states like California and Iowa, utilities and regulators will be looking for solutions to build a stable grid with a lot of renewables. And if Hawaii can push past 50% in five years on its way to 100% renewables in 2040 it'll be a big proving point…” click here for more

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    Monday, July 24, 2017

    It’s A Plastic World

    The world has made more than 9 billion tons of plastic, says new study

    Robert Ferris, 19 July 2017 (CNBC)

    “More than 9 billion tons of plastic have been made since the 1950s, and the vast majority of it has been thrown in the trash…[A]lthough plastic materials such as Bakelite were in use in the early 20th century, the material's popularity began to rapidly rise after World War II, making it one of the most commonly used man-made materials…[T]he amount of plastic in use now is 30 percent of all the plastic ever produced…While that has brought its benefits, such as lower-cost materials or capabilities like water resistance, our love of plastic has also produced [about 7 billion tons of trash…And as of 2015, only 9 percent of the plastic waste produced ended up recycled, and another 12 percent was incinerated, [according to Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made…” click here for more

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    How This President Rewards Scientists Who Speak Truth To Power

    Climate Scientist Says He Was Demoted For Speaking Out On Climate Change

    Nathan Rott, July 19, 2017 (National Public Radio)

    “A former head policy adviser at the Interior Department is accusing the Trump Administration of reassigning him to a lesser position for speaking out about the dangers of climate change…Joel Clement, a scientist who was director of the Interior Department's Office of Policy Analysis for much of the Obama Administration, was recently reassigned…[and believes it was retaliation for speaking publicly about climate change dangers to Alaska Native communities.] He authorized a report to Obama in 2013 that warned the Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth and that the implications of the change would include ‘rapid coastal erosion threatening villages and facilities, loss of wildlife habitat, ecosystem instability... and unpredictable impacts on subsistence activities and critical social needs’…[Clement argued in a NY Times] op-ed that in the months preceding his reassignment, he had raised the issue with White House officials, senior Interior officials and the international community…” click here for more

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    Intro To Community Choice Electricity

    7 Things To Understand About Community Choice In San Diego

    Claire Trageser, July 21, 2017 (KPBS San Diego Public Radio)

    “…[An alternative energy program that would bypass San Diego Gas & Electric is possible and cost-effective, according to the draft City of San Diego Feasibility Study For A Community Choice Aggregate but the program, called community choice aggregation, requires some understanding. Community choice would take the purchasing power away from SDG&E and give it to the city to] decide what energy sources to buy…[The study looked at] 98 percent of community choice customers use 50 percent renewable energy…[Community choice will be cheaper than SDG&E by 2023 if] 2 percent of customers use 100 percent renewable energy and all community choice customers use 50 percent renewable energy…[Community choice will be cheaper than SDG&E by 2027 if all] community choice customers use 80 percent renewable energy…All community choice customers use 100 percent renewable energy…98 percent of community choice customers use 80 percent renewable energy; 2 percent of customers use 100 percent renewable energy…There is other terminology that is important to understand…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

    How Fear Drives Climate Change Denial

    Surrendering to fear brought us climate change denial and President Trump; I propose that people take indefensible positions like climate denial and Trump support simply out of fear

    John Abraham, 17 July 2017 (UK Guardian)

    “…What continually befuddles people who work on climate change is the vehement and indefensible denial of evidence by a small segment of the population…I find [denialist arguments] fall into a few broad categories. Some of them are just plain false…like: There was a halt to global warming starting 1998…Humans are only responsible for a tiny fraction of the greenhouse gases…Scientists are colluding to create this fraud…Others are not false but are completely irrelevant. For example: Climate is always changing…We didn’t have thermometers a million years ago to measure global temperatures…Cities are hotter than their surroundings…[I am convinced the vast majority of people] are not intentionally being incorrect…In a sane world, everyone would understand the threat of climate change and our ability to take meaningful action…[The reason they don’t isn’t religion, political ideology, lack of scientific knowledge, politics, or tribal identification. It] is fear…of what happens if they accept reality…” click here for more

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    How The President Misunderstands Wind

    Trump's Comments On Hillary And Putin: He Clearly Doesn't Understand The Value Of Wind Energy

    Peter Kelly-Detwiler, July 12, 2017 (Forbes)

    “…[The president recently talked about the energy sector, which he does not seem to] understand…Energy markets are often complicated and sometimes subtle, with many interactions…[The president said that under Democrat policies] energy would be much more expensive…[He said wind power would drive energy prices up but coal and fracking of natural gas would ‘get energy prices low’ and allow the U.S. to be an energy exporter…[But the fact is that wind energy is already cost-competitive and getting cheaper. Also, more] electricity from wind could free up natural gas for export while making America more energy independent…[The president] is simply wrong about wind…Excel CEO Ben Fowke recently said] the utility is investing in wind because it will] result in $7.9 billion of customer savings over 30 years…” click here for more

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    A Truly Doable Solar Vision

    Here's Elon Musk's Plan to Power the U.S. on Solar Energy; "The sun is a giant fusion reactor in the sky."

    Nick Lucchesi, July 16, 2017 (Inverse)

    “…[To power the entire United States with solar panels 24/7, it would take a roughly 100 mile by 100 mile corner] of Nevada or Texas or Utah…[and a one square-mile space for batteries, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told the National Governors Association]…Currently, about 10 percent of energy in the U.S. is renewable…[His plan has three steps. First, it includes both rooftop solar] and utility-scale solar that can make up needs in other areas…[Second, wind, geothermal, hydro, probably some nuclear will be needed] to transition…[And, third, the power needs to be as local as possible] because it reduces infrastructure, like big power lines…” click here for more

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    Monday, July 17, 2017

    4 Key Ways To Stand Up To Climate Change

    These Four Lifestyle Changes Will Do More To Combat Climate Change Than Anything Else

    Robin Andrews,, 13 July 2017 (IFL Science)

    “…We’ve argued in the past that the most valuable thing you can do for climate advocacy is to vote for politicians that are pro-science and pro-environment. There are plenty of other things you can do too…[T]hey tend to be things people are involved with in their everyday lives: living without a car, avoiding air travel, avoiding eating meat, and – most “controversially” – have fewer children…The logic behind these choices is simple. Everyone in industrialized nations can abide by these actions, and they would clearly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Farming animals is very energy-intensive; plants, less so. Air travel and cars use a lot of carbon-rich petrol, so walking or cycling or using public transport would cut this out dramatically…[H]aving less children means the next generation would require (and demand) fewer resources…” click here for more

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    New Energy Safe For U.S. Grid – DOE Study

    Renewable Energy Not a Threat to Grid, Draft of U.S. Study Finds

    Catherine Traywick, Ari Natter, Jennifer A. Dlouhy, July 14, 2017 (Bloomberg News)

    “…Wind and solar power don’t pose a significant threat to the reliability of the U.S. power grid, Energy Department staff members said in a draft report, contradicting statements by their leader Rick Perry…[They reported the grid is more reliable] due to better planning, market discipline, and better operating rules and standards…[The still-under-review conclusions confirm the independent findings of the Analyst Group’s Electricity Markets, Reliability and the Evolving U.S. Power System but] contrast with Perry’s arguments that ‘baseload’ sources such as coal and nuclear power that provide constant power are jeopardized by Obama-era incentives for renewable energy, making the grid unreliable…Two people familiar with the report, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations, confirmed the early conclusions though cautioned they were subject to change. It is customary for administration officials to put their own stamp on reports prepared by career staff at federal agencies…” click here for more

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    Solar Plus Storage Can Beat NatGas Price

    Report: Solar plus storage can beat natural gas

    Elizabeth Dunbar, July 14, 2017 (Minnesota Public Radio via PostBulletin)

    “…[Adding energy storage to Minnesota’s power system] is becoming a cost effective way to meet electricity demand…[On a hot summer day when electricity demand is much higher than usual because of air conditioning, it is likely to be more cost effective than] to build a conventional plant…[According to Modernizing Minnesota’s Grid; An Economic Analysis of Energy Storage Options, renewables plus storage is] cost effective right now…[but] the state's reliance on natural gas for electricity would jump dramatically without energy storage…[The rapidly falling cost of storage and federal and state incentives] help the math work out in favor of storage…” click here for more

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    Monday, July 10, 2017

    The Rump Alone Denies The Climate Deal

    US stands alone at G-20 summit with position on climate change

    Kevin Dolak, July 8, 2017 (ABC News)

    “…[The lone outlier on climate change at the G-20 Summit was the U.S. President] who pulled out of the Paris climate agreement earlier this year…A footnote to the Group of 20's official document summarizing the collective plan of action on climate issues states the U.S. continues to reserve its position…The document’s plan is built around the terms laid out in the Paris climate agreement…The Paris accord, agreed to in 2015, sets guidelines for each participating country to mitigate global warming. Sponsored by the United Nations, it aims to slow the rise in global temperatures…Under former President Barack Obama, the United States committed to cutting its carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels, by 2025…[The Rump decided the U.S. would negotiate the Paris Accord or renegotiate a new transaction though] world leaders and even Pope Francis had implored [the president] to remain a party to the Paris accord…” click here for more

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    Florida Solar Boom In Action

    Orlando's new solar plant takes shape as Florida's solar energy erupts

    Kevin Spear, July 5, 2017 (Orlando Sentinel)

    “…[Amid an unprecedented burst of solar power at sites across Florida, Gulf Power, the municipal utility of Tallahassee, and Florida Power & Light will have megawatts flowing from new and enormous solar plants by the end of the year…[Utilities are choosing big solar because the cost of solar is now competitive, residents want clean energy, and it increases utilities’] energy diversity…[But solar energy has provided utilities with only] a tiny fraction of their electricity…By the end of the year, Orlando Utilities Commission will have a combined 18.9 megawatts of solar capability…Among Florida’s utilities owned by investors, Duke Energy is limping behind…[with] 17.8 megawatts of solar…Gulf Power this year will fire up three solar plants on Panhandle military bases, producing 120 megawatts…[Florida Power & Light] expects to install another 300 megawatts next year and then that much annually through 2023…” click here for more

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    New, Huge Turbines Contracted For North Sea

    Siemens Gamesa to supply DONG Energy with 94 8-megawatt wind turbines

    Anmar Frangoul. 6 July 2017 (CNBC)

    “…[Siemens Gamesa] has signed an agreement with DONG Energy to supply 94 8-MW wind turbines – amounting to 752 megawatts – for the Borssele 1 and 2 offshore wind power plant…[To be commissioned in 2020 in Dutch North Sea waters, it will be able to power] one million homes…[At the end of 2016 almost 88 percent of all offshore wind installations were off the coasts of ten European countries…[The U.K. is] the world's largest offshore wind market, followed by Germany.” click here for more

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    The Rump’s Solar Attack

    Donald Trump’s big chance to cripple solar

    Mark Jaffe, July 7, 2017 (Denver Post)

    “…[Withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord didn’t hurt the U.S. carbon-reduction and renewable-energy efforts as much as what this administration could do about a petition from two bankrupt solar-panel manufacturers...[Now before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), it cites an obscure and rarely used section of trade law that would give the president power to impose sweeping tariffs on imported solar cells. Tariffs that could double the cost of a panel…[The Rump] has been spoiling to show how tough he is on trade…[The proposed worldwide tariff on solar panels would cut new solar installations in half between 2018 and 2022 and] result in the loss of 88,000 jobs nationally, about a third of all the jobs in the solar sector…[Even without the Paris accord, the reduction of the nation’s greenhouse gases — primarily carbon dioxide — linked to climate change will continue…[but The Rump might] see this as a way to help the coal-mining industry…If the 40-cent tariff was added to [solar’s] floor price, it would raise the cost of solar cells to $1.18 a watt, and new solar installation would crater [from a [projected 72.5 gigawatts] to 25 gigawatts between 2018 and 2022…” click here for more

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    Big Utility’s Big Wind Buy Approved

    Minnesota approves Xcel Energy's wind power plan

    July 7, 2017 (Electric Light And Power)

    "The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy’s plan for the largest expansion of wind energy in the Upper Midwest. The North Dakota Public Service Commission will review the plan later this year…The new wind power projects will save Xcel Energy customers billions of dollars in fuel and other costs, as compared to the costs of other energy sources…[Seven projects with 1150 MW of Xcel-owned new capacity and 400 MW of PPA capacity, slated to be built in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, will be operational by the end of 2020 and] will provide enough energy to power more than 800,000 homes…[All projects are expected to qualify for the] 100 percent Production Tax Credit.” click here for more

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    Plugs Taking Over The Streets

    When Will Electric Cars Go Mainstream? It May Be Sooner Than You Think

    Brad Plumer, July 8, 2017 (NY Times)

    “…[While the world’s automakers place larger bets on electric vehicle technology, the conventional view is] that electric cars will remain a niche product for many years, plagued by high sticker prices and heavily dependent on government subsidies. But a growing number of analysts now argue that this pessimism is becoming outdated...Bloomberg New Energy Finance [predicts] the price of plug-in cars is falling much faster than expected, spurred by cheaper batteries and aggressive policies promoting zero-emission vehicles in China and Europe. Between 2025 and 2030, the group predicts, plug-in vehicles will become cost competitive with traditional petroleum-powered cars, even without subsidies, and even before taking fuel savings into account. Once that happens, mass adoption should quickly follow…[Charging infrastructure is a] potential barrier…” click here for more

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    Monday, July 3, 2017

    Three Years To Win The Climate Fight

    We Only Have Three Years To Prevent Climate Catastrophe, But There Is Hope

    Josh Davis, 29 June 2017 (IFL Science)

    “If global carbon emissions don’t start to decline within the next three years, the planet will be on track for dangerous levels of climate change and the goals set for the Paris climate agreement will be unattainable…The current 1°C (1.8°F) increase in the global average temperature has produced sea ice melting and collapsing ecosystems. Carbon emissions have plateaued while atmospheric temperatures have continued to rise, and it is now crunch time [according to Three years to safeguard our climate, a statement from 60 world climate experts.] But it is not all doom and gloom…[They say there are procedures and policy that can be put into place to limit this warming if it is] done sooner rather than later…[R]enewables will need to account for at least 30 percent of the world’s electricity supply, an increase of just 6.4 percent on 2015 levels…[And the building and transport sectors need to be] decarbonized…” click here for more

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    Warren Buffett’s Utility Is Turning From Coal To Wind

    PacifiCorp Looks To Expand Wind Energy As Coal Plants Retire

    Cassandra Profita, June 29, 2017

    “…[Warren Buffett’s PacifiCorp six-state electric utility company] is moving forward with a 20-year plan that reduces its use of coal-fired power while expanding investments in wind energy…[It] has proposed spending $3.5 billion on a plan to add 1,100 megawatts of new wind energy — mostly in Wyoming — as well as a new transmission line…The plan will also re-power wind turbines in the Columbia River Gorge by adding bigger turbine blades and upgrading equipment inside the turbines to increase their energy output by an average of 20 percent…PacifiCorp currently gets nearly 60 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants…[But by 2036, according to the utility’s 2017 long term plan,] coal will make up 31 percent of the company’s energy mix…[and] wind and solar will grow from 15 percent today to 22 percent…Natural gas will make up a 30 percent of the utility’s energy mix by 2036, up from 14 percent today…” click here for more

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    Storage Becoming Cost-Competitive

    Energy storage already cost-competitive in commercial sector, finds study

    Ian Clover, 30 June 2017 (PV Magazine via ReNew Economy)

    “…[Commercial electricity customers are already feeling the economic benefits of cheaper batteries and recent price falls in lithium-ion technology…With battery-pack costs now down to less than $230/kWh – compared to around $1,000/kWh as recently as 2010 – storage uptake is on the rise across Europe, Asia and the U.S....[According to McKinsey’sBattery storage: The next disruptive technology in the power sector,] growth is being facilitated by a greater uptick in electric vehicle (EV) adoption, with major players now scaling-up their lithium-ion manufacturing capacity in order to meet demand…The immediate effect of this has been a downward pressure on prices, and storage has now begun to play a more central role in energy markets…[and] becoming a viable alternative to conventional power generators, and a stable support act for renewable energy…[T]he key driver behind this new trend is price…[In a matter of years households and business may] be able to pair solar+storage with a small electrical generator and defect fully from grids…” click here for more

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