2017-05-25 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, May 18:

The Everglades National Park is in Carlos Curbelo’s district. (National Park Service photo, Wikimedia Commons)

  • “The first GOP member of Congress to say ‘impeachment’ after Trump’s latest scandal is a climate hawk.” • Representative Carlos Curbelo’s district in low-lying South Florida is especially vulnerable to rising seas and climate change. He has bucked his party to become one of the most vocal proponents for climate action in Congress. [Grist]
  • Among thousands of delegates meeting in Bonn to develop the rule book for the Paris deal, the Climate Vulnerable Forum, representing 48 countries, said the deal was crucial to their survival. In a swipe at President Donald Trump’s oft-used phrase, they said that “no country would be great again” without swift action. [BBC]

Desert wind farm (Photo: Steve Boland | flickr | cc)

  • The Trump administration is weighing huge cuts to the budget of the DOE’s renewable energy and energy efficiency program. It has a proposal to slash it by 70%, from $2,073 million in 2017 to a proposed $636 million for 2018. That’s according to a draft 2018 budget proposal obtained by the news and information company Axios. [Common Dreams]

Friday, May 19:

  • One of the world’s most beloved toy makers, the LEGO Group, announced that it had reached its 100% renewable energy goal three years ahead of schedule thanks to the completion and commissioning of the 258-MW Burbo Bank Extension Offshore Wind Farm. LEGO has not stopped, as it still has solar panels going up in China. [CleanTechnica]

Green Antarctica (Photo: Matt Amesbury)

  • Researchers in Antarctica have discovered rapidly growing banks of mosses on the ice continent’s northern peninsula, providing striking evidence of climate change in the coldest and most remote parts of the planet. Because of the warming of the last 50 years, they found two species of mosses growing at an accelerated pace. [ScienceAlert]
  • A planned coal-fired 4,000-MW ultra-mega power project plant in India has been scrapped because the government wants to focus on green energy. Gujarati state officials had planned it, but the government decided the state was already sufficiently supplied with energy and focusing on renewables was a better longer term strategy. [malaysiandigest.com]

Saturday, May 20:

Dutch offshore wind farm (Credit: AP | Peter Dejong, File)

  • “Offshore wind won a German power auction without needing any subsidies” • The price of offshore wind power has been dropping so quickly that it threatens to upend the electricity industry around the world. Choosing free zero-pollution power over costly dirty power isn’t a tough choice for utilities or most countries. [ThinkProgress]
  • The Global Seed Vault, which was built under a deep mountain in Arctic Svalbard to secure a million packets of the world’s most precious seeds from all natural and man-made calamities, has been flooded by melting permafrost. The seeds are safe, for the time being, but scientists are alarmed. No one envisioned that this would happen. [International Business Times UK]
  • President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request would slash EPA spending by almost a third, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by CNN. The budget blueprint, which the White House plans to submit to Congress next week, would cut the EPA’s total budget by more than 30% and its operational budget by 35% from current levels. [CNN]

Sunday, May 21:

Pen y Cymoedd wind project near Swansea (Photo: Vattenfall)

  • The Upper Afan Valley near Swansea is already home to the biggest windfarm in England and Wales, but in July work will begin there on one of the UK’s largest battery storage schemes. Co-locating the plant with the windfarm reduced needs for power lines, so it was about £5 million cheaper than building it on a standalone site. [The Guardian]
  • A study by scientists at the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, predicts the warming of the Gulf of Maine will cause a dramatic contraction of suitably cool habitat for a range of key commercial fish species there. The species negatively affected include cod, haddock, redfish, plaice and pollock. [Press Herald]

Sugar River and Mt Ascutney (Photo: TrunkJunk, Wikimedia Commons)

  • Sugar River Power, a small power producer, has restored a hydro dam in Claremont, New Hampshire. The company bought the dam in January. When the twin turbines of the hydroelectric plan operate at full capacity, they are capable of generating 1.35 MW of power, enough to power 1,300 homes, one of the company’s owners said. [Valley News]

Monday, May 22:

  • Swiss voters have backed the government’s plan to provide billions of dollars in subsidies for renewable energy, ban new nuclear plants and help bail out struggling utilities in a binding referendum. Provisional final figures showed support at 58.2% under the Swiss system of direct democracy, which gives voters final say on major policy issues. [Newshub]

The fastest growing renewable energy source (Thinkstock image)

  • Scottish Power won the right to build two offshore wind farms in the US, which it says could eventually power 400,000 homes. The two sites combined are more than double the size of the energy giant’s operations in the UK. One farm, off the coast of Massachusetts, is expected to be complete in 2022 and the other, off North Carolina, in 2025. [BBC]

Tuesday, May 23:

  • “Congress vs. Trump: Are the President’s Anti-Science Budget Priorities Headed for Another Defeat?” • The president is expected to release his full fiscal year 2018 budget this week, without any surprises. It will likely track the earlier “skinny budget” pretty closely, which means it’s going nowhere in Congress. [Union of Concerned Scientists]

Wind turbine above a corn field (Image: Pixabay)

  • DTE Energy plans to build an additional 6 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2050 in Michigan, on top of the 1 GW it has built since 2009. The company also plans to invest in grid modernization as part of plans to cut its carbon dioxide emissions 80% by 2050. DTE’s chairman said the utility’s transformation is already underway. [reNews]
  • “India-China climate hope” • India’s and China’s pledged actions to curb their greenhouse gas emissions are likely to overcompensate by 2030 the impacts of US President Donald Trump’s policies that appear set to flatten America’s emissions, according to European researchers at the Climate Action Tracker. [Calcutta Telegraph]
  • Global production of the four most important staple crops in the world – maize/corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans – will be reduced by around 23% by the 2050s as a result of worsening anthropogenic climate change, according to new research published in the journal Economics of Disasters and Climate Change. [CleanTechnica]

Wednesday, May 24:

Solar plus storage

  • Tucson Electric Power signed a power purchase agreement for a system with 100 MW of PVs and 30-MW, 120-MWh of storage. Exact prices are confidential, but a release pegged the PPA for the solar portion of the project at below $0.03/kWh. Both solar and storage are to be developed by an affiliate of NextEra Energy. [Utility Dive]
  • FPL is the nation’s third-largest electric utility. It boasts a typical household bill 25% below the national average and is closing coal plants to keep its rates going down. In a filing to the Florida Public Service Commission to close its St Johns River Power Park coal plant, the company detailed exactly why coal is not coming back. [CleanTechnica]

Screen shot (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment)

  • “Study: Sea level rising 3x as fast since 1990 as figured before. Meanwhile, feds censor climate info.” • A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says sea level is rising three times as fast as it was before 1990. Trillions of dollars are at risk. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is censoring references to climate change. [Daily Kos]
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