2017-03-23 Energy Week

Visitors Please Note: This blog is maintained to assist in developing a TV show, Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell. The post is put up in incomplete form, and is updated with news until it is completed, usually on Wednesday. The source is geoharvey.wordpress.com.

Within a few days of the last update, the show may be seen, along with older shows, at this link on the BCTV website: Energy Week Series.

Thursday, March 16:

  • Opinion: “Now there are air-pollution deniers, too” • There are very few people who believe air pollution – specifically “fine particulate” pollution, or PM2.5 – doesn’t cause death. But those who do are getting louder and gaining influence in conservative political circles and inside President Donald Trump’s administration. [Grist]

Howsham Mill (Picture: David Harrison)

  • An 18th century watermill in North Yorkshire has generated 1,000,000 kilowatt-hours of green power through a combination of traditional and new technology. Howsham Mill, which is run by the charitable Renewable Heritage Trust, has been generating hydroelectric energy, and exporting it to the National Grid, since the mid-2000s. [Gazette & Herald]
  • The Trump administration’s budget proposal would cut spending at the DOE overall by $1.7 billion, or 5.6% from current levels, to $28 billion. But the money is redistributed. The National Nuclear Security Administration budget would grow 11.3% while the rest of the Energy Department’s programs would be cut by 17.9%. [Washington Post]

Friday, March 17:

Damage after Hurricane Katrina (Photo: LSUsoccerbum, Wikimedia Commons)

  • President Donald Trump released a $1.1 trillion budget outline that makes good on a series of campaign promises, including cutting EPA by about one-third. Asked about the cuts to climate change-related programs, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said those programs are “a waste of your money.” [CNN]
  • Under the president’s 2018 budget blueprint, the program that put recovery money into local hands after Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, Rita and Wilma would be zeroed-out, raising questions about how readily the cash would be available when the next disaster strikes and what oversight would be in place to ensure it is not misused. [CNN]
  • Thirty cities are responding to the dangerous Trump policies that ignore the potentials of climate change by announcing interest in a $10 billion electric vehicle purchase. Bringing joint bargaining power to the table, they have been in talks with automakers to jointly purchase approximately 114,000 electric vehicles. [CleanTechnica]

Saturday, March 18:

Firefighters near Protection, Kansas (Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle via AP)

  • Republican Senator James Inhofe is alarmed at what he accurately called the “unprecedented” wildfires which have burned more than 2 million acres in the grasslands of Oklahoma, Kansas, and the Texas panhandle. He and other climate change deniers remain eerily silent on the context: drought worsened by climate change. [Mother Jones]

Non-hydro renewable energy jobs

  • “Trump’s budget sabotages America’s best chance to add millions of high-wage jobs” • President Trump’s budget slashes investment in clean energy ,  the world’s biggest new source of sustainable high-wage jobs. Meanwhile, China’s five-year energy budget invests $360 billion in renewable generation by 2020, creating 13 million jobs. [ThinkProgress]
  • President Donald Trump promised in his election campaign to put American coal miners back to work. Now, he has proposed eliminating funding for economic development programs supporting laid-off coal miners and others in Appalachia, stirring fears in a region that supported him of another letdown, just as the coal industry collapses. [Reuters]

Sunday, March 19:

Power lines (indigoskies / flickr, CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Opinion: “The old, dirty, creaky US electric grid would cost $5 trillion to replace. Where should infrastructure spending go?” • By the author’s analysis, the current (depreciated) value of the US electric grid, comprising power plants, wires, transformers and poles, is roughly $1.5 to $2 trillion. To replace it would cost almost $5 trillion. [Salon]
  • The president’s proposed budget would eliminate funds for the Energy Star program, the Clean Power Plan, regional programs to clean up the Great Lakes, Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay, four NASA Earth science missions, the Global Climate Change Initiative, and the UN Green Climate Fund, along with funding reductions. [Arizona Daily Sun]

Monday, March 20:

River Bend solar farm (TVA photo)

  • The River Bend solar farm, the largest in Alabama history, is now online and contributing about 75 MW of clean renewable energy to the electrical grid maintained by the Tennessee Valley Authority. There are about 300,000 solar panels in the 640 acre site. The TVA service area includes 9 million customers in seven southern states. [CleanTechnica]
  • A report commissioned by the German government says that stopping global warming won’t just keep the planet habitable. It would also boost the global economy by $19 trillion, as the investment in renewable power and energy efficiency to keeping warming below 2° C (3.6° F) will increase the global economy around 0.8% by 2050. [Bloomberg]

Renewable power (Kenueone/pixabay.com)

  • With the Trump administration rolling back federal programs on climate change, leaders of labor six unions sent a letter to the governor of New York asking him to incorporate principles of the Climate and Community Protection Act in the 2017-2018 state budget. They want the state to have 100% renewable electric sources by 2050. [Public News Service]

Tuesday, March 21:

  • Chemists from the University of Glasgow report in a new paper in Science on a new form of hydrogen production that is 30 times faster than the current state-of-the-art method. The process also solves common problems associated with generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind or wave energy. [Laboratory Equipment]

Measuring the warming ocean (Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization)

  • The world’s oceans are a giant heat sink, and they work to modulate the world’s air temperatures to a large degree. With that in mind, the findings of a new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research are somewhat unsettling. The world’s oceans may be storing as much as 13% more heat than was previously estimated. [CleanTechnica]
  • Google’s “Project Sunroof” tool revealed a vast untapped potential for rooftop solar installations in the US. Since 2015, the project has analysed around 60 million buildings across the US concluding that 79% are technically viable for generating solar power. Percentages range from 60% in cloudier northern states to 90% in sunnier. [Climate Action Programme]

Wednesday, March 22:

  • A study says 2016 saw a “dramatic” decline in the number of coal-fired power stations in pre-construction, with a 48% fall in planned coal units, with a 62% drop in construction starts. The report, from several green campaign groups, says changing policies and economic conditions in China and India were behind the decline. [BBC News]

Wright One (Wright Electric image)

  • Start-up Wright Electric intends to offer an electric-powered commercial flight from London to Paris in 10 years. Its plane would carry 150 people on journeys of less than 300 miles. By removing the need for jet fuel, the price of travel could drop dramatically. British low-cost airline Easyjet has expressed its interest in the technology. [BBC News]
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