May 28 Energy News

May 28, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Large coal plant closures reveal industry vulnerability” • The locals say that the coal industry will survive at a new normal, and economists say Wyoming coal mining will be the last to go down, but the state doesn’t dictate the market; it just provides the material. Across the country, big coal plants are getting too expensive to run. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

Power plant control room (Alan Rogers | Star-Tribune)

¶ “The eco guide to renewable energy” • Within three years the renewable energy revolution will make such economic sense that many passive electric customers turn into to energy creators, defecting from the grid, using solar, wind power, smart-demand response systems, and electric vehicles. Embrace the jolt, it will be huge. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶ Faced with rising temperatures and a dearth of American leadership, scientists are investigating geoengineering ,  which would involve deliberate, large-scale interventions to cool the Earth’s climate. It can take many forms. Solar geoengineering is the most risky and controversial. One way to do it is to emulate the effects of volcanoes. [CleanTechnica]

Mount Pinatubo erupting (United States Geological Survey image)

¶ With climate change, increases in average annual temperatures that may seem small create conditions that dramatically elevate the risk and severity of forest fires, particularly in the American West. Long fire seasons, dry conditions, infestations killing vegetation, and lightning combine to produce dangerous conditions for fires. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Because the land is warming and a food supply is emerging earlier, some familiar bird species arrive from migrations too late to find enough food for their chicks. That’s the conclusion of a recent study of changes in spring “green-up” dates across North America and the arrival dates of spring migratory bird species in those areas. [The Columbus Dispatch]

Scarlet tanager (Jim McCormac, for the Dispatch)

World:

¶ Leaders of the G7 group of rich nations have failed to agree a statement on climate change. Six world leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris accord, the world’s first comprehensive deal aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions. However, the US has refused to recommit to the agreement, saying it will make a decision next week. [BBC]

¶ Global leaders have been urging President Trump to stay in the Paris climate accord during high level security and economic meetings in Italy. Pope Francis already made the case with a gift of his papal encyclical on the environment when Trump visited the Vatican earlier. Scientists explain what will happen if the US withdraws. [The Independent]

Bringing about climate change

¶ The United Arab Emirates received its first shipment of fuel to supply its first nuclear power plant that is under construction at Barakah, in Abu Dhabi. The Barakah nuclear power plant has received the requisite licences to transport, handle and store nuclear fuel from the United Arab Emirates’ Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation. [Gulf Digital News]

¶ India’s largest power generating utility, NTPC Ltd, is driving the energy transition from coal to solar. Apart from building its own portfolio of renewables, it is emerging as the key off-taker of solar power projects by private developers whose aggressive bids backed by overseas investments have made solar tariff cheaper than coal-fired generation. [Business Standard]

Solar power in India

US:

¶ The Natural Resources Defense Council says power generation through wind, solar, and geothermal is now up to 280,656 GWh nationwide and still growing quickly. That number is 7 times greater than it was just 10 years ago when the US produced 41,664 GWh of renewable energy. The biggest gains have come in just the last couple of years. [KMSP-TV]

¶ Hawaii Electric Light Company is putting a problem to the state’s Public Utilities Commission. If Hu Honua Bioenergy’s long-delayed biomass power plant went online by the end of 2018, the utility’s customers would see rate increases, according to an analysis of a proposed power purchase agreement it filed with the PUC. [Hawaii Tribune Herald]

The half-completed Hu Honua bioenergy power plant
(Hollyn Johnson | Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

¶ A “low point for the American environment,” a “dark and difficult time,” a period when the US EPA was in “chaos and despair.” Those could be contemporary descriptors, but they portray the Reagan presidency as captured by former Sen. George Mitchell in his book “World on Fire: Saving an Endangered Earth.” [Press Herald]

¶ Two fossil fuel industry groups dropped attempts to intervene in a federal court case over climate change this week after failing to reach an agreement on a unified legal position on climate science, court filings show. A group of teenagers is suing the US government for violating their constitutional rights by causing climate change. [The News International]

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