September 19 Energy News

September 19, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Renewable energy is coming fast. Australian planners are struggling to keep up” • Renewable energy is driving profound changes in cities. Responding to climate change, networks of decision-makers have begun adopting strategies to promote the uptake of renewable energy. Yet land use planning has seemingly begun to lag behind. [CityMetric]

Wind farm in South Australia (Image: Getty)

¶ “What Hurricane Harvey Taught Us About Risk, Climate & Resilience” • People know the climate is changing, but they don’t know how serious it is. Over 70% of Americans agree that the climate is changing, but less than half of us believe it will affect us personally. Why? Perhaps because the when we imagine it, it is always far off. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists have long speculated on the possibility of a planetary thermostat keeping climate change in check. A study published in the journal Geochemical Perspectives Letters provides the first-ever evidence of its existence. The authors refer to a mechanism they call the “weathering thermostat,” which regulates long-term levels of carbon dioxide. [CleanTechnica]

Geological carbon cycle (Source William Ruddiman)

¶ A new analysis found that the agreement’s most ambitious goal of limiting the increase in global average temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels isn’t just aspirational – it is still a scientific possibility the world can realize if we act right away. This means the most optimistic target envisaged by the Paris climate deal is still within our reach. [ScienceAlert]

World:

¶ Early this year, the Mail on Sunday ran a hyperbolic article on climate change, claiming that world leaders had been “duped” by manipulated climate data. But the Mail on Sunday belongs to the Independent Press Standards Organization, which ruled that the article violated its code of ethics. The paper has been ordered to display the article’s inaccuracies. [Ars Technica UK]

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ Globally, a majority of people are optimistic about our ability to address climate change, according to a survey. Of those polled, 64% believe we can address climate change if we take action now. Overall, 33% strongly agree this is the case, and 32% tend to agree. Only 11% disagree that we can address climate change if we take action now. [The Climate Group]

¶ Britain is phasing out its coal-burning power plants, with the last one set to close by 2025. It is a startling development for the nation that founded an industrial revolution powered by coal. The Drax coal-burning plant will live on, but only by burning biomass – mostly wood chips imported from the southern United States. [Yale Environment 360]

Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire (Shutterstock image)

¶ Last week, the biggest fatberg on record was discovered in a Whitechapel sewer. The 130-tonne mass of cooking fat, oil, and waste had set as hard as concrete and stretched for 250 meters beneath the streets of east London. Thames Water is currently blasting it with high-pressure hoses and pumping it out, with plans to turn it into biodiesel. [Time Out]

¶ Global nuclear power generation grew by 1.4% in 2016, the 2017 World Nuclear Industry Status Report said. By comparison, solar power output grew by 30% and wind by 16%. Of all capacity additions, 63% were renewable, as renewable energy auctions hit record low of prices of $30/MW in many places worldwide. [pv magazine International]

Solar installation (Tenaska)

¶ Five Japanese nuclear power plants that have passed safety clearances by the Nuclear Regulation Authority may be at risk of having their cooling systems crippled during huge eruptions of nearby volcanoes. The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan found volumes of volcanic ash could be 100 times previously estimated amounts. [Japan Today]

US:

¶ Despite Trump’s pro-coal rhetoric, the US DOE has been pitching renewables just as much as it did under the Obama Administration. In the latest development, the agency just offered a juicy $50 million in seed money for technologies that modernize the US grid – and renewables take front and center in that initiative. [CleanTechnica]

Grid infrastructure (DOE photo, cropped)

¶ The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration has announced a new $55 million grant program that will see funding provided to various regional transit organizations for the purchase of low- and no-emissions buses and associated infrastructure. US-based electric bus maker Proterra may benefit greatly from the program. [CleanTechnica]

¶ While politicians elsewhere waffle on climate change, officials in Los Angeles are tackling the problem head on with a radical plan to lower the temperature of the city. Mayor Eric Garcetti intends to cut the average temperature in LA by 3° F over the next two decades. As part of that effort, LA streets are getting a new coat of white paint. [CleanTechnica]

Painting LA’s streets white (Twitter | LA Street Services)

¶ A Canadian company, Capital Power Corporation, says it’s ready to pursue a big wind power plant in Oregon, not far from where the nation’s largest generator of renewable energy wants to build its own major wind farm. If it is built, the Nolin Hills Wind Power Project, will be capable of producing up to 350 MW of power. [Portland Business Journal]

¶ Idaho Power wants to retire two coal-fired power plants as part of a 20-year plan to provide electricity in Idaho and Oregon. The plants have a combined capacity of 700 MW. The decision to close them was based on economics, because they will be unable to operate at competitive prices, according to an Idaho Power spokesman. [Power Engineering Magazine]

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