October 8 Energy News

October 8, 2017

Opinion:

¶ “Attempts To Silence Climate Scientists Have Been Desperate But Effective” • Scientists overwhelmingly agree that humans are altering the climate in ways that have potentially catastrophic consequences. Climate deniers can’t dispute the data. They can’t win on facts. Instead, they employ tactics that have proven both ugly and effective. [CleanTechnica]

Port Arthur, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey (Photo: US Air
National Guard Staff Sgt Daniel J Martinez, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Electric Vehicles Will Drive A $5 Trillion Transition” • The excitement is palpable. Auto shows are rolling out new EV models; China says it’s planning on banning internal combustion engines; and Daimler is jockeying with Tesla in the budding electric truck segment. And anticipating growth, lithium prices have reached an all-time high. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “How green is Britain’s record on renewable energy supply?” • As one of the UK’s renewable energy chiefs has pointed out, electric cars will not tackle climate change if they run off fossil fuels. Put simply, the greener the electricity mix, the greener your electric car. About half of power generated in the UK comes from low-carbon sources. [The Guardian]

Dunlaw wind farm (Photo: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian)

¶ “Who wins when power companies make political contributions? The lawmakers who police utilities.” • Donations going to members of the Public Utilities Review Committee show how South Carolina’s regulatory system is broken, critics say, noting the $1.7 billion that a utility was allowed to charge its customers for a failed nuclear project. [The State]

World:

¶ The anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi saw about 40 Catholic institutions announcing their faith-centric divestment from the fossil fuel industry and its ancillaries. The value of the divestment was not disclosed, but thought to be in the tune of $5.5 trillion. This sum is four times more than any previous church records. [World Religion News]

Cooling towers (Photo: Gerry Machen, CC BY 2.0)

¶ Australia’s two biggest clean energy financiers are putting money into a new venture by Melbourne-based start-up, Relectrify. It proposes to re-use electric vehicle batteries for household storage, saying it has developed “advanced battery control technology” that reduces the cost of repurposing EV batteries while boosting performance. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Albany, Western Australia, will be the site of a new green energy project that will seek to harness the power of waves to light people’s homes. Carnegie Clean Energy, a Perth company, was announced to be the winner of a $15.75 million State Government grant to build a pilot plant using wave power technology in Albany. [The West Australian]

Albany windfarm (Michaeldolphin, Wikimedia Commons)

US:

¶ Puerto Rico’s Gov Ricardo Rosselló and Tesla chief Elon Musk had a 25-minute phone conversation in which the two discussed relief efforts as well as Tesla playing a leading role, Rosselló said in an interview with USA TODAY. Teams from Tesla and Puerto Rico’s energy sector will continue the talks early next week, Rosselló said. [USA TODAY]

¶ The Trump administration is moving to ease restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plants, repealing the Clean Power Plan without offering a replacement. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 43-page document, which underscored President Trump’s bid to revive the struggling coal industry. [CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News]

Coal-fired Plant Scherer (AP Photo | Branden Camp, File)

¶ Elizabeth Mine, whose excavations left a moonscape of waste rock and tailings that leached orange effluent into nearby streams, is a “brownfield” that has been transformed into a “greenfield” that will generate 5 MW of electricity. It will power annual needs of about 1,200 Vermont homes for decades to come, its promoters say. [Valley News]

¶ Scientists and utilities are reconsidering the grid in the age of renewables. A sudden windstorm near a nuclear plant could blow out a substation because the plant takes time to ramp down. Idaho Falls Power has collaborated with nearby Idaho National Laboratory to find ways to improve the electrical grid for several years. [Twin Falls Times-News]

Fly fishing at Idaho Falls (Photo: John Roark | Post Register)

¶ Sen Chuck Grassley of Iowa says he recently got a surprise phone call from President Trump reiterating his support for corn-based ethanol. But now, the EPA, citing the concerns of big oil, signaled it is considering lowering the amount of ethanol and other renewable fuels required in transportation fuels and heating oil. [Beckley Register-Herald]

¶ Approximately 50 of the Interior Department’s most experienced managers have been reassigned to jobs outside their areas of expertise. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke may have shed some light on why this happened when he told a petroleum industry group that he believes nearly a third of his workforce is disloyal to the Trump agenda. [La Crosse Tribune]

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